Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What I Love About the Garden

It feels like SPRING! Today was almost 80 degrees and sunny and I repotted tomato plants and watered the garden and planted daffodils. The new garden bed that I planted about 10 days ago is alive with new seedlings in varying shades of green...everything coming up in nice, neat little rows...a first for me. It's true, I'm a haphazard gardener. I guess that's the way I conduct my life, too, come to think of it! Usually, when I plant something in the garden, I simply rough up the soil a bit, scatter seed around, cover it back up and water. Subsequently, my garden has a "freeform" look to it (that's putting it nicely). What I LOVE about the garden is that it is ALWAYS a work in progress. However, it's also the thing that bothers me most about the garden! It looks perfect for about 45 seconds one morning in early April and then it falls apart on me. This is the garden in April 2007.
It was wild! Of course, it has changed tremendously in the last 2 years. The paths are all thickly mulched, so hardly any weeds. The beds, which were all starting to fall apart in this pic, are now shored up and a few new beds are built. About a week ago, I spread a thick layer of compost over everything and it looks lush and rich right now. In this photo, you can see the gambions. They are cages with a post stuck in the middle and then filled with rock. Almost indestructible! Great for the Texas Hill Country where "rocks r us"! With the added advantage of not having to dig postholes!!
Our rock cages stand 5 feet tall and the landscape timber in the center stands 4 feet above that, so our fence is 9 feet overall. Deer jumping in are not a problem. Armadillos digging underneath can be, so I patrol the fence line occasionally and put down big rocks if I see the fencing pulled away at the bottom. I will post pics of this years garden soon. We'll see how the nice, tidy rows compare to the circus I usually have going. A pic from April of 2007 of one of my artichoke plants in all its' glory~
Things are hoppin' in the greenhouse where everything got a good dose of compost also. My tomato plants are huge, having been repotted twice already. The Texas rabbit eye blueberry bushes are full of buds ready to burst into bloom (they will be planted in the garden in late March). I have 3 papaya trees that started in the compost pile from a papaya we ate. One of them has a trunk as big around as my wrist! And then there is this plant. I cannot, for the life of me, remember what it is called. I'm pretty sure I got it from Lupe when she moved into town.
Most of the year it is a pretty unassuming plant, but come does a dramatic change almost overnight and some of the green fronds turn a shocking pink and then the flowers fall out as the pink fronds unfurl. It is an amazing miracle to me and I watch it almost daily this time of year. I love how the "petals" are outlined in deep purple-blue! It blooms for quite a long time and then eventually goes back to a very plain green plant.

In other news, our rooster Johnny passed away this week. He was so very old and had taken to following the girls out of the coop in the mornings and then finding a nice spot to sit in and staying there all day long. He was blind in one eye and rather raggedy looking, but treated the girls so sweetly and had a calm temperament towards us, too. We got Johnny from Tracy at the feed store and this week Scott stopped in and told her Johnny was gone. With a gleam in her eye she told Scott, "Have I got the rooster for you!" I am looking forward to a new rooster...I am not so sure the girls are though. I think they had become accustomed to not being hassled too much with Johnny. I'm sure they'll be annoyed with a virile new rooster. We got a strange egg last week. When I went to collect, there were 2 regular sized eggs and one teeny, tiny one. Not much bigger than the tip of my thumb. When I cracked it, it was all white, no yolk. Now, all of a sudden the girls are laying like crazy. We went from getting 1 or 2 eggs a day to 5 or 6. It is great to be egg rich!

No comments: