Common Ground

By Jill Williams


“…summer comes with flower and bee.”

Mrs Hemans The heavy rains in May have resulted in the best and easiest vegetable garden I have had in many years. I have done almost no watering and everything I planted seems to be not only growing but doing exceptionally well. How often can I say that?

Of course watering always helps in dry years but it’s never the same as good consistent rains.

I actually managed to mulch the garlic first thing in the spring. But this year it wouldn’t have mattered if I didn’t bother to do it.

Snow peas don’t do well in dry years even when mulched and watered. This year they are so bushy that I can hardly see the trellis.

A passing walker commended me for my “design” in the vegetable garden where the foxgloves are growing up through the asparagus. This, of course, isn’t a design at all but the foxgloves being opportunistic. They have seeded themselves where the soil is improved and it just happens to look good. I end up weeding some of them out because there are so many. But I leave some and they put on a good show particularly this year with the heavy rain.

Another flower that has done well this year is the sweet william. It is always beautiful but it looks especially good this year. It was here when I moved here and it had naturalized in the long grass. But it’s also opportunistic like the foxgloves and it has also moved into the vegetable garden and various beds.

In the wild garden the purple phlox are already tall and healthy looking. They struggle in dry years even when I water them. The species lilies are about a foot taller than normal this year. I have stopped questioning that these seem to mysteriously move around and new ones spring up in odd places.

I have heard the whippoorwill at dusk quite a few times this year. I hadn’t heard one for many years so it was good to hear it again.

And still in the world of birds, five baby phoebes flew away from their nest on the side porch at the end of May. I have seen three or four but five was quite the impressive family. They get to the point where they no longer fit in the nest and then usually they’re gone soon after that. Mrs Phoebe is back on the nest again and I’m assuming producing a second family. I wonder how many will fly away this time.

I wasn’t able to find the wood duck nest. But I’m assuming the pair I saw wandering around on the lawn did nest by the beaver pond. The male wood duck is one of our most dramatically coloured birds. I had to look twice when I saw them checking out the local real estate.

Here’s hoping that the regular rains continue and that July will find me watching the garden grow. And not having to water it.

Happy summer everyone.



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