Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Hornworm finishes the last datura leaf...
...after stripping the entire [huge] plant over the last two weeks. A triumph of nature, this guy fascinated me over this past weekend. I never saw one datura flower; I either missed them, earlier in the summer, and then he ate the buds of the next flush that was coming along. You can see the naked stems in the photo! I did get him to talk...he said, "Tht" when I poked him. I loved watching this guy, but I knew our time together was limited because he'd finished off his food supply in my deck container. Funny, in the same container was nicotiana, and a climbing petunia, both of which should have been on Mr. Hornworm's menu, as I've seen in the past. But he was not having any part of those other plants. I even moved him onto the nicotiana! Nothing doing. So late yesterday he crawled away. He's not going to find another datura anywhere near here, but maybe he's finished eating, and will get on with his life cycle. Good luck to him! I think I must have a streak of an 8-yr-old in me, I was so wrapped up in observing this guy destroy my prize plant...it was a welcome diversion in the face of a bit of an unrelated sadness.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
...over on "I Brake for Delphiniums." Forgive my inattentiveness, as I have been trying to adopt a dog! Last Sunday my husb and I picked up our friends' dog, Erin, a wheaten terrier, with the idea that she'd be better off at our house than theirs. She'd been abused as a baby, and our friends saved her from that, and had kept her many years. But their children didn't like the dog, and it had "nipping issues" with other children [and only with children]. As it turned out, Erin was cute as can be, quiet and very good, except she would not walk on leash down the street to relieve herself. In fact, we couldn't get her out the door, she was so stubborn. Our friend said, "Don't you have a spot in your backyard?" The poor dog was exploding, so I relented and let her pee in my flower bed. Oy oy oy! That was hard to watch, but we were both desperate. [Finally this essay gets around to gardening!] This peeing in our tiny city backyard was absolutely unacceptable with our last dog, so I began to wonder if Erin would ever get used to a city dogwalking life from her suburban one she was leaving behind. Hmmm. Then she confirmed my doubts and qualms by nipping at me more than several times. I guess I look like a kid to her! So, as it happened, my back garden is to be spared dog pee after all, as our friend picked Erin up and took her home, to go to a behaviorist-type trainer and possibly go on prozac! Since this happened, I've been trolling Petfinder to see if there are any golden retriever mixes available in the NYC area. The listings are for pit bull after pit bull. Discouraging. I think for a place to really be my home, it needs a garden...and a dog. So I will keep looking, with hope in my heart.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
I Heart My Garden Tarp
In fall, as in spring, summer and winter, but especially in fall, one of my favorite garden helpers is my beat up, ratty, but extremely useful garden tarp. Have you ever used one? It's amazingly handy. I rake leaves directly onto it, then haul them off to the compost heap. I can throw prunings onto it all afternoon, then just drag the stuff away. No lifting! No limited-capacity wheelbarrow nonsense! I also fold it up to sit on it as I deadhead and weed. [This theoretically keeps the ticks from crawling onto me as I'm sprawled on the ground.] I use the tarp to keep potting soil as tidy as possible when I'm transplanting plants into containers. Ditto when I'm screening compost with my other favorite garden item, the garden riddle. Tarpy keeps my tools, etc, dry in an unexpected summer downpour. There's nothing so helpful, not even a human assistant! [plus it doesn't talk back when you tell it to tidy up that spilled potting soil...] There's lots of other garden stuff that are essential, I know, but fall is the season when my tarp is just indispensible...What garden tool can't you live without?
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Monday, September 04, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
I've been having fun with caterpillars this weekend; I've got two [well, one crawled away] hornworms on the datura. They chomp away at a remarkable rate. The one that is still here startles when he hears the back door slam! But he's doing no talking that I can hear. I can't resist going out to look at the guy every couple of hours. I swear he's grown a lot since I noticed him Friday. Chomp away, buddy, and may you live on to become a hummingbird moth! As for the garden, I spent exactly 10 minutes in the lawn chair, then it was back to chores. It's not hot and humid, and I gathered some lovely fleurs for bouquets, so I'm not in as bad a mood as a couple of posts ago. I always put a bouquet on the bathroom vanity--being a middle-aged woman, I am in the john frequently, so I get to enjoy a few flowers every time I wash my hands...plus, there's a bouquet on the dining table, and one on the mantel. That should keep me fat and happy for many days to come. Nicotianas, coneflowers, blue perennial lobelia, coreopsis, campanula rotundifolia and some stella d'oros. What's in your house bouquets, gardener pals? I'd love to know...