I was all ready to write a scathing update about the garden. Not because the garden was misbehaving (well, a few plants are), but because I was crabby. For all my previous moments of nature-induced gratitude, I had run out of kumbaya. And I was fixing for a fight. A cowardly fight against plants that admittedly have way more stamina, energy, and charm than I do.
Plus, I reasoned, you don’t come here for kumbaya. OK, maybe sometimes. But let’s face it, crabby can be funnier. Or maybe it’s more fun to write, which is really the same thing for me.
But then I took a hike in the lovely quiet woods, which are also very bug free because it’s been so dry, I’m guessing. And I got a little kumbaya. Just a little. It takes more than a walk to get this perimenopausal woman calm. But I fell in love with most of my plants again, with a few exceptions. I gotta have a little fun, right?
So first, the plants bringing their A game:
- The little pepper plant that could continues to produce a dizzying amount of peppers — so many that I have had to prop up its branches.
- The sweet potatoes are vining all over the place. Way more than I have ever seen them do, so apparently they like 90+ degree heat. The leaves have been contributing to my lunch salads, and there still are plenty more.
- The jilo (aka Brazilian eggplant) that I started from seed are flowering and starting to produce. The one I overwintered has been a rock star, and has given me about 15 jilo already.
- The cucumbers are chugging along heroically, despite the fact that all the leaves are crispy around the edges because of all the heat and sun.
- Several weeks ago, I had a serious bout of garden envy when I saw that my neighbor’s winter squash were already huge. And they were in the front yard where I couldn’t miss them mocking me. At the time, all I had were flowers. So I may or may not have had a talk with mine. As my father used to say when we weren’t moving quite fast enough — “Get the lead out!” Soon after the little baby squashes appeared, and they are growing fast. I have about 3 and they have little nibbles, which I’m hoping doesn’t ruin them. I discovered my little gizmo that deters critters and is pointed at the squash was turned off. So, either I am so clumsy I turned it off by accident, running the hose against it, or the rodents figured out how to turn it off; both prospects seem weird considering the on/off button is a dial. It’s 50/50 me or the rats. Or maybe it was a handsy raccoon.
OK, that’s the end of the kumbaya. Now, I have to total bone to pick with the beans, if that metaphor is even allowed. Granted, the corn they were supposed to climb got mowed down by varmints early, but I promptly put in poles for them to climb. One got to the half way point, and the others are lollygagging about on the ground and refuse to climb. They all are just playing cards, smoking, drinking shots, and flipping me one bean every 3 weeks or so. They aren’t dying, and they aren’t getting bigger: they are just wholly uninterested in doing their job.
While I do kinda identify with that, I ain’t running no charity here, sweet cheeks. Get your beans moving! If I’m watering your ass every day because we haven’t had rain, you can make a few more damn beans. Or not. I have been watching a lot of videos about what plants do well in the fall, and you, my friends, are sitting in prime real estate in the raised bed. Just sayin’.
I was also going to lambaste some of the flowers. The cosmos were lackluster, and the salvia! What a showy grifter! I bought it in full bloom, and then all the blooms pooped out at once. To get another round of blooms, I had to spend 20 minutes carefully clipping along the stem at a specific juncture. No easy pinching. Um, yeah, I don’t clip. And then I had to wait a month for the next round, which is only a fraction of the first round. Seriously? Tick tock, salvia! Yes, it is spectacularly green, but it’s like staying friends with an ex. I got a lot of green in the garden already, and I got a lot a friends; I don’t need any more. So adios to you next year.
On my deck I have these tiny little purple daisies with a complicated name I can’t remember, and while they have bloomed steadily all summer, I realized even though there are like a 100 blooms, I need bigger, showier flowers. Sorry daisies, you’re out for next year too.
Now the impatiens have been gorgeous all summer with no broken promises and no need for clipping. And you know what I realized? I avoided buying more because I consider them too lowbrow. Same reason I have avoided geraniums. Anybody can grow geraniums, that’s why they put them in those baskets that commoners will inevitably forget to water. Now that I stepped up my gardening game, I want flowers that match my expertise and experience. I want flowers that attract hummingbirds. I want high end flowers that reflect my gardening upward mobility. Moving’ on up to that deluxe garden in the backyard, and all that jazz.
But I forgot one important thing.
Who am I kidding, I am lowbrow. I’m impatient, greedy, and want something for next to nothing, Me, the impatiens, and the geraniums were made for each other. The begonias are about as highbrow as I get, and the hummingbirds don’t need no stinkin’ fancy flowers to find my feeder. Once they mainline the sugar water, they ain’t sipping from the flowers, believe me.
So that’s the lot. Oh, and I was only able to plant 2 guerrilla sweet potatoes near the Ipswich River this year, and I’m sure they got fried in the heat. We haven’t been back there all summer. I will invoke the gardeners creed. There’s always next year — if I’m not too crabby.