Sunday, May 29, 2011

Garden Photos - part 1

I just found a file with a bunch of pictures from April when the garden was looking so fresh and happy so I thought I would share them.  I know I tend to complain about gardening a bit sometimes (also known as whining and moaning) so I thought I would show that sometimes it is all worth it.  This is a part one because I have heaps and gobs of photos that I will eventually subject you to, but for now this is the garden as it was in April.

The foreground in this view is one of our original garden beds, now devoted mostly to ornamental plants and flowers.  This is mostly due to it harboring a very determined number of snails and slugs who have shown a tremendous resilience to all organic solutions.  We have tried snail bait, copper strips, ceder granules and egg shells and it hasn't even slowed them down.  We tried a beer bait lure that is supposed to entice them into drowning themselves and I think they just threw a party.  So now we don't put vegetable plants here because somehow it is less aggravating to us for them to eat the ornamentals - that way at least they are not competing for our food supply.

The middle ground to the right is another one of our original garden beds and it is hosting the cucumber patch this year.  The middle ground to the left is one of our many water stations, this one in the form of a bird bath surrounded by shrimp plant.  In the background you can see the cedar fence and part of the seven garden beds we created this year.

Here is a closer view of the birdbath and behind that you can see the tomatoes plants when they were still a reasonable size and I was all enthused about staking and trellising them.

Here are the tomato bushes up close.  There are three of them and they used to have actual space between them.  I was valiantly trying to make them be good neighbors but even this early in the season they were proving very resistant to anything that controlled their exuberant growth.  At this point they are about 4 feet tall.  If you look to the lower left of the picture you can see a green tomato, one of the many these plants produced.

Here is a closeup of one of the tomato blossoms. 

This is a photo of one of the first new beds we created this year.  It has been growing since the winter and survived through two low twenties freezes.  In the background is Swiss Chard and in front are some onions.

Here is a ground level wildlife watering stations backed by purple canna and a blooming white crinum on the left.
Here is a wild Border Collie making use of the watering station.  We originally had the bird bath for the birds and this lower watering station for whatever creatures didn't want to use the birdbath.  So this could be considered a lizard bath or something - maybe a toad pool.  Trudy however considers herself the owner of all things that hold water.

So, we gave Trudy her own Border Collie bath.  She can't get enough of it.  One of her favorite things to do is stick her face into it and blow bubbles through her nose.  Sometimes I stock her bath with baby carrots so she has something to dive for.

This anole lizard probably wants to visit the watering station since at this point in the year it had been months since there was any appreciable rain.  He is however a wary lizard which will serve him well.
This lizard on the other hand is not as wary.
He is interested in perpetuating his species and is doing the equivalent of flashing his mighty biceps to any female lizards in the area.

If he is not careful, this female will be the last thing he sees.  I have rescued several lizards from Trudy so far this year.  She does not outright kill them, but carries them around in her mouth and puts them down to play with them.  When the lizard tries to run she puts her paw on top of it.  This 'play' allows me a little time to intercede on the lizards behalf and I put these stressed out little guys into the dog proof area of the garden.  I imagine in time the natural selection process will make two distinctly different subsets of lizards in our yard.  In the dog area will be the fast and wary lizards and in the dog proof area will be the slower but smarter lizards who have chosen to remain in the sanctuary.

Here is Trudy looking slightly guilty about catching lizards.  Or maybe she is off to catch one and is seeing if I am paying attention to her.
Here is Trudy pleading to have her lizard back again.  Or maybe she wants more baby carrots in her pool.
This is a close up of one of the many cucumber vines.  I always seem to go through some sort of gardening amnesia each year and think that in order for us to have enough cucumbers I need to plant a whole bunch of them.  I believe I put in about a dozen plants this year.

This is the female bloom of the cucumber and if it is fertilized... will look like this in about two days.  It has been a great year for cucumbers and practically all the female flowers got fertilized which resulted in a harvest of more than a dozen cucumbers per day when it was at its peak.  It is not possible for two grown humans and two dogs to eat a dozen cucumbers per day and live meaningful lives.  We therefore became the cucumber cornucopia to our friends and family.

Now lest you think we have only vegetable plants in the garden, here is a close up view of the ornamental snail and slug bed along with the only dog in our yard that does not make daily deposits.  I think you are required by law to have garden art of some sort and our beds are infested with it.  The yellow and orange cosmos in the background have been under assault by the snail/slug coalition as well as from the scented geraniums just visible along the right edge of the picture.  I know next to nothing about scented geraniums except that they are the bullies of this garden bed and are trampling all the other plants.  Every time I go to trim them back the scented geraniums entice me with their heavenly smells and I end up leaving them alone.  I told the cosmos they should work on smelling better if they want more room.

Here are some amaryllis that do not obey the laws of this type of bulb.  These are rogue plants - the masters of their fate.  They were forced into bloom last year and then given to me when the blooms died.  I planted them, knowing, according to amaryllis law, they would not bloom for at least another year.  They had other ideas and  bloomed that same year just months after I planted them.  I thought - okay - now they won't bloom again for at least a year.  But here they are, blooming in the spring.  They put all my other amaryllis to shame.  And don't think I don't mention it to the others - those slackers.  The other bulbs just grumble something about these blooming guys being law breakers.

Not everything in the garden is planted in the ground.  Here are a few of the pots of ornamental plants with an orange calibrachoa in the front and nasturtiums and viola in the back.

Here is a closer view of the nasturtiums.  Technically they are edible, but far too pretty to eat.

Here is a closeup of the viola, one of my favorite varieties.  I forget what they are really called - I call them the Monkey faced violas - they look like they belong in the Wizard of Oz.

Here is another of the ornamentals - a scaevola, which I first tried last year.  It is supposedly a perennial but right now just an annual for me until I figure out how to stop killing it.

Here is the best ornamental in our garden, the rare blooming Westhighland White Terrier.  Rare because he is actually rather white in this photo instead of his preferred dirt caked hue.  It isn't all his fault as Trudy is constantly slobbering all over him, but Lewey also likes to roll in 'things' - things being whatever loathsome substance he can find up to and including dead things, bird poop and the Holy Grail of loathsomeness: possum poop.  This is also a rare photo in that Lewey is looking at the camera.  Whenever you try to take a picture of him he usually turns away in disgust. 

That's enough about the garden for now...

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