If you had stopped by for a quick visit in the last few weeks and after ringing the bell and getting no answer ,read this cute little sign that sits on my porch and went to look for me in the garden you would have been left wandering around for no reason , as I have not set foot out there for a long time.
This past month was full of all sorts of fun activities that included day trips, visits from out of state relatives, reading on the beach, a family wedding ,cookouts, fireworks, a trip away with Wil to Boston for a few days, and driving Erin back and forth to camp. Also, the kitchen reno is finally (mostly) done and I had the herculean task of putting the house back in order and reassigning all the kitchen stuff to the new space and, oh, and I forgot to mention I did the painting which took FOREVER! There was no time for the garden at all.
Here in the Burrow and our surrounding area we were also suffering through a very long heat wave ,and days with temps in the 90′s and approaching 100 are no fun to garden in at all. On the nights we were home a quick dip in the pool at sunset to cool off before bed was all I saw of the yard. During this time it was also very dry. Long hot days were accompanied by a dessicating wind that felt like it was originating in Hades, and promised thunderstorms never materialized.
Well, my fun is now over for a bit and the weather has cooled and there has been much needed rainfall, so I headed out to see what was going on out there.
There are some obvious signs of neglect starting right at back door . I always plant pansies in the early spring in the window box and containers there and replace them in early summer with plants that tolerate the heat better, but it appears I overlooked this chore (oops). The window box pansies had started to look leggy and brown, and when I would walk by I would occasionally yank out any particularly offending plant , and I guess I did this until they were empty. And empty they remain. The pansies under the roof of the small porch get a break from scorching sun so they are still alive, but barely.
The front walkway has been invaded by the digger wasps who show up annually and make it impassable and unweedable. They dig out those large holes and although they are not aggressive will sting if you threaten their nest. They feed their larvae grasshoppers so I try to leave them if I can, but there are about a dozen holes…YIKES!
A walk through the gardens revealed several places that were not getting water from the sprinkler system. I had an irrigation tech walk the system with me before I left on Friday and our inspection revealed an entire zone that spans the long backside of the gardens near our neighbors property line had the master valve off . That valve would have been turned off in the fall , so no irrigation had been getting here since. Another very big OOPS! That would explain why all the turf there is brown and the strawberry plants are crinkled and the blueberry bushed dry brown sticks. It would also explain why the cherry tomatoes ,beans and squash that should have engulfed the fence by now are either dead and gone or barely 12 inches tall. The valve was promptly turned on and fingers crossed I may get some tomatoes by summers end. One of the things I have concentrated on over the past few summers is getting our watering needs down to a minimum , and grouping the thirsty things ( like veggies) that will need the most water together. Now I have learned another valuable lesson, and that is to make sure the system we so carefully designed to water said thirsty plants is up and running properly before we have dead things. Gardening is ever the humbling experience.
The greatest truth that was revealed to me as I walked around though was that this garden is a success. I set out to take this large, empty, dry ,sandy piece of land and transform it into a beautiful garden space that after spring cleanup needs little , if any, of my attention to thrive.
TA-DA! I did it. I am always talking about choosing the right plants so the garden works for you and not vice-versa, and the state of mine right now shows that careful thought before planting is the way to ensure your time will be spent in the hammock with cold frosty drinks, not slaving away in heat pruning, primping, and perspiring.
Click on the photo below then scroll through the slide show below to see how lovely things look right now. And yeah, there certainly is some deadheading and weeding to do ,(don’t be a nit-picker lol) but overall the garden has just flourished , even if I wasn’t around to see it.