Common Ground

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Forsythia ©DCarew

“Slower, sweet June,

Each step more slow;

Linger and loiter as you go.”

Julia Harris May

It feels like we have skipped spring this year and gone straight to early summer. The poor daffodils didn’t last long in the heat. The tulips, too, were here for too brief a time.

I think I may have saved my few remaining species tulips from chipmunk excavation. I actually saw one of the many chipmunks bite off the flower of a tulipa tarda and munch on the bulb. I thought to myself I will fix you and give you something that smells bad enough to keep you from any further digging. I brushed my fluffiest cat and pushed little bunches of cat hair around the remaining species tulips. So far this has worked and the bulbs are undisturbed. Who would have ever thought that there would be a use for cat hair?

My usually very impressive Northern Gold forsythia went straight to green leaves with only a few straggly flowers. It was obviously protesting the three weeks of extreme cold in the winter.

It has been a good season so far for asparagus. I have enjoyed several pickings and at this point could not face another spear on my plate.

A good number of morels appeared in the lawn this year. There were none last year. I have no idea what makes these capricious mushrooms appear or not. I look for them every spring just in case they choose to put in an appearance.

Blackflies are right on schedule. They usually reach their peak right when I’m planting vegetables and slack off after that. But I did get in a few walks in the woods to admire the trilliums before the blackflies appeared.

I have mostly given up on growing greens since spring seems so short now. I used to put up a shadecloth and grow lots of spinach and other greens. I can’t really be bothered with the hassle of the shadecloth and other vegetables now seem more rewarding. This year’s late cold spring with snow in April when greens are normally planted sealed the deal for me.

The last kale that I grew here a few years ago was finished off by the deer. I have no intention of replanting something that will bring the deer out of the bush. And isn’t everyone sick of all things kale by now? I know I am.

But I will brave the blackflies and clouds of mosquitoes to plant old favourites like potatoes, pole beans, cucumbers and zucchini.

I am well aware that many people feel about zucchini the way I feel about kale. In defense of zucchini, I would say that young freshly picked zucchini sauteed in olive oil with garlic, sundried tomatoes and a few hot pepper flakes is a glorious thing. Sorry kale you are not capable of glory in any incarnation.

Happy summer everyone and happy planting.

By Jill Williams

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