Wife, writer, tinkerer, grower of food. I'm happiest outside our rambling farmhouse with a basket looped on my arm, picking dinner from the garden. That's joy right there. Please follow along; I'm so glad you're here!
I took these last night, right after the first of what turned out to be three downpours. It's been a good spring, but the last few weeks were dry, dry, dry. We needed those downpours.
Some things always do better than others. This year, the tomatoes are charging along while the broccoli and, mysteriously, the potatoes grow kinda feebly. Feebly for potatoes, at least. This is the best potato bed, above (I planted them in my raised beds this year); the others are sprouting really unevenly, which is strange. Ah well, the year is still young.
In the "salad garden" the kale and chard are doing really well, and the beans, cucumbers, and melons (Sweet Granite, something I've never grown before) are germinating. I definitely stretched the definition of salad garden this year, but I'm going to have to, periodically, to keep on with crop rotation and all.
This little circular garden is really a joy for me. There's something about the geography of it-- the tall Syringa on the right, and the tall hickory on the left, and the currants just beyond, and the way all the flowers I planted last year have filled in around everything so obligingly (once I got the %$#* bishop's weed outta there). There's something about the way it leads to the garden-- to dinner-- every night, starting this time of year. It adds a level of joy to my walk to the garden-- almost, a level of occasion-- which is really lovely. It's an extra place to stop and wonder, a reminder of the glory of this place and this time and our work here.
Moving on. Ahem. This has definitely been the Year of the Shrub. Two weeks ago, I think I planted twelve things in one day. BIG things. First there were the tartarian dogwoods, then I noticed one of my orchard trees hadn't survived the winter (after three good years! BOO!) so I had to replace it. And while I was in the business of replacing a cherry tree, why not buy an apricot tree, too? On sale? Self-pollinating? For the far corner of the vegetable garden? Why not? And why not also buy two hydrangeas, a butterfly bush, three chokeberries?
The same day I was planning to plant the hydrangeas, apricot, cherry, and butterfly bush, my neighbor came over with two Sargent crabapples and two redbuds-- leftovers from his Arbor Day Foundation free trees. Thus I added to my agenda planting two redbuds, and moving two walnut trees to plant the crabs.
I think I slept well that night. Moving on...
The homestead. Chickens in pen on right. Del is the reddish smudge just in front of the garage. Orchard behind the garage. Garden in foreground.
"Cheddar" pinks, bought new last year. Why on earth do they call them cheddar pinks? I have no idea, but they are gorgeous.
Meanwhile, along the front side of the garden, the peonies I've planted at every post and the salvia I've been planting between them is doing splendidly. The peonies were mostly here; some came from neighbors. The salvia I started buying our first year, I think, inspired by the gallon-size plants I found on clearance, in July, at Lowe's, for $5 each. I cut each $5 plant into two or three pieces before I planted them, and now, three years later, the salvia is just taking over. Muscling its way out into the grass and dandelions, staking its claim. I had no idea salvia would do exactly what I was asking it to do-- thrive on neglect, do well without being weeded, bloom all summer long. Lucky one, that.
I'll end with this picture of the loveliest little chamomile cultivar-- not sure which one, exactly, but I know I bought two of them last year and they are the most obliging things.
It's a good season to be here. What did I ever do in Binghamton, before I had endless projects like all these to fill my time? That feels like many many years ago. A past life. This one's a lot richer.