Sunday, July 19, 2009

15 minutes from door to bus stop

The lupine I planted two years ago from wild-gathered seed finally bloomed this year, all shades of blue and purple. The flowers are fading now, and some volunteer Evening Primrose is coming up, getting ready to bloom. I hope my landlord will continue to not mow this little patch of the yard even after I'm gone; the lupine, at least, look enough like garden plants that it should count as a "flower bed." My monarda is getting ready to bloom, too, with buds forming and some of the leaves near the top of the plants getting red, like they're in training to be flowers.

In other people's yards the peonies are fading and flopping over and giving way to lilies. Roses are in all stages, some brown and crunchy, other in peak bloom, and others still in bud. There's a rental property I walk by where last year somebody had planted tomatoes and basil in a tiny scrap of land next to the sidewalk. Somebody must've sweettalked thier landlord into allowing some more pernament gardening, because this year there is a trellis with a little grape vine. Already there are about half a dozen clusters of grapes, still tiny, green and hard.

In the grass beyond the woods behind my apartment, there were three or four flicker fledglings picking around for bugs; around the corner in my neighbor's yard there were two or three more. (They all scattered when I came on the scene, thus the inexact count.) I've heard from other reports that there seem to be more flickers nesting in town this year, but I must not be in the right places at the right times, because these were my first flickers in a long while.

Going up the hill I found a thumbnail-sized irridescent purple-brown Junebug looking thing (not so skilled in beetle ID, sorry). I stopped to admire him, then saw that he was moving a bit slow; I didn't see any obvious injury, but he could have been stunned from pesticides or a car impact. He clasped onto my fingertip when I held it out, so I moved him into the grass so that he at least wouldn't get stepped on. While I was at the bus stop, a little white moth fluttered into the gutter and twitched around there for a while. This one did have an obvious impairment, a slightly deformed wing, although I couldn't tell if it was the result of injury or birth defect. I ushered her into my palm and moved her to the grass, too, where she could masquarade as a fallen peony petal. Between the beetle and the moth, there was a fat, bouncy monarch. He nectared very briefly at a hop clover in the boulevard, then lit off down the hill in search of sweeter lands.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Been busy fishing for a house this summer, and finally caught one. I just got the inspection done, so I think I get to relax a little bit until I close on August 31, and then I get to panic about moving in and fixing stuff. But--house! And a big sunny 50x140 lot for a garden.

This year's container garden continues to chug along, although it needs some real fertilizer. (I needed more potting soil when I was planting stuff this spring, and could not easily carry the 30 pound bags of organic soil home on the bus and did not feel like mooching a ride, so instead I bought Miracle Gro soil, because it came in smaller bags. Stuff looked okay at first, but now some of the leaves are yellowing.) Still, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers all have either baby fruit or flowers on them, my fuchsia is blooming and my dahlias are just starting to. Dill got a case of the aphids, but has somewhat recovered, and parsley, basil and rosemary are all doing well. No swallowtails on the parsley this year... I think the seeds took too long to germinate and the butterflies passed me over.

I'm itching to get in my house, and it seems like a month and a half is an incredibly long time to wait (but I wanted to give the little old lady who lives there now time to pack up the 60+ years of stuff she has packed in there). I'm not in any huge rush to see how much it's going to cost to replace the boiler and put in insulation, but I really, really want to start working in the yard and prepping it for next year's garden--blot out some of the turfgrass, plant some perrenials, make friends with the neighbors who have apple and plum trees planted in their yard. Taking possession in September will still give me time to do all that before winter, but I want to do it now.