Common Ground

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Gardeners are not normal people. They don’t give in easily because ever since they learned to grow things they’ve coped with the failures as well as the successes. They rise to a challenge.”                     

Mr. McGregor  by Alan Titchmarsh

 This wet season continues to produce surprises in the garden. An old shrub rose that I was given many years ago has finally flowered and it turns out to be a very fragrant single pink. Every year when it was about to flower, the buds would be consumed by masses of beetles. Said beetles haven’t appeared this year and I’m attributing this to the wet conditions. A lot of people might not be willing to wait twenty years for a rose to bloom but I can assure you that it was well worth it.

Also missing in action this season are the little green worms that normally reduce my columbines to skeletons. I never seemed to be able to keep up with picking them off so I’m glad they haven’t appeared this year.

I’m fortunate to have a couple of old varieties of phlox in my wild garden. I prefer the old varieties since they’re not susceptible to white mold as the newer varieties all seem to be. Phlox need a lot of water to look good so they should do well this year. They limped along last year in the drought and looked quite brown and straggly and unhappy.

In the vegetable garden, the zucchini are sulking with the cool, wet conditions. Some people would say that this is no loss but I hope we get some heat and they perk up.

I’m not missing the banished kale. The deer will have to find something else to eat this year.

The Golden Sweet snow peas are pretty enough to put in a flower bed with their purple flowers and yellow pods. I took a chance with this new variety and it’s paying off. I have found that novelty isn’t always a good idea. A few years ago I tried a purple podded variety from Johnny’s which turned out to be defective. It didn’t flower or produce any pods. I did end up getting my money back. And I wished that I had stuck with plain old green podded Oregon Giant.

I was horrified recently to see giant mushrooms growing beside of one of my composters in the vegetable garden. They appeared overnight and were big enough to shelter several leprechauns. Or possibly trolls. They were quite slimy and sinister looking. My very well drained Ganaraska sand doesn’t normally grow mushrooms of any sort.

I haven’t had to mulch the garlic at all this year.

Normally I would put several inches of leaves around it to keep moisture in the ground. I have had to take mulch away from some plants since it was starting to go moldy with all the rain. There has only been one other year in the last twenty five when it was so wet that I didn’t mulch anything.

The nearly continuous rain has kept my rain barrels full. I’m so glad that I can now get those donuts of BT (a safe natural larvicide) to put in them to eliminate the mosquito larvae. There are enough mosquitoes around without breeding more in the rain barrels.

In the bush it has unfortunately been a banner year for dog strangling vine, the invasive species that is taking over the township. It is increasing exponentially and I dread this time of year when removing it takes up so much time.

Close to the house the baby phoebes are cheeping away in their nest in the side porch. Their mother flies at my head every time I go out the door. It won’t be long before they’re ready to fly away, though, and I’m left in peace.

Finally, on a nearby road, I was able to help a  painted turtle get across the road. It was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. So please slow down and watch out for turtles, both snapping and painted.

By Jill Williams

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