Saturday, July 12, 2008

Real update: my cottage garden

So I met with the exterminator this a.m. It was a little bit depressing. I had to very clearly explain that I didn't want him anywhere near my garden, as I had NO problems with bees in particular or creepy-crawlies in general, but in fact would like to keep as much of the insect life as possible that we have outdoors (except aphids, but I can deal with them myself).

The problem is the insect life indoors. We have carpenter ants and they are eating our house. Specifically the wacky addition that Matt painted purple (we call it The Bar, as there is an actual bar that the prior owner built in there), and the roof over the concrete patio in the back. Apparently there is some dry rot in there that they like. But we have been finding piles of sawdust in The Bar and that is from them. Not cool. The exterminator is sending somebody out Wednesday. Hopefully my bees will survive.This is one of the little native desert mallows that I bought at the local plant society sale. I need to join the Society, as soon as I have time (add it to the To Do list). It got a little bit squashed by the hose but it is coming back and I am rooting for it!
These are my beans, they are just starting to twine their way up the teepee I made for them. To their left is a purple sage which is doing really great, as I started it from a tiny cheapo seedling, possibly purchased at the grocery store. In front of that is a Spanish lavender, which I am not sure what to do with but it is looking happy. The sun seems to have washed out my photos but I will take some earlier in the morning next time... Next to my Spanish lavender is a pineapple sage, which is supposed to have lovely red flowers and attract butterflies and hummingbirds (I'm keeping my fingers crossed), but now that I have been reading more about it, it is not cold-hardy so if I want to keep it over the winter I need to put it in a pot and bring it inside. We'll see if I like it enough to do that by the end of the summer. On the far right (cut off) is a clump of coral bells, the flowers are too tiny to see here but it has sent up this big wacky stalk that I am starting to wonder about, maybe it is actually another plant growing really close and not part of the coral bells but I don't have the heart to yank it and have the whole thing die on me. Another decision to put off until the end of summer...This is what my honeysuckle decided to do after I hacked it back. Right now it's in a spot where you can barely see it so another end-of-summer project will be to transplant it somewhere that I can stick a trellis behind it and convince it to go up the fence.This is my now twice-transplanted pepper, and as you can see THAT IS A FLOWER! There are about three right now as well as some buds so I am really hoping this will give me some peppers someday... this is my first year with any type of vegetable garden at all and so this is a major success. Next year's veggies will have proper raised beds and amended soil and will do much better, but for my first year with any veggies in this backyard (esp. with crappy raised beds in the spot where I can't dig more than 2" deep into the ground) this is still a triumph.
Central big green guy is my beloved dogwood. Fluffy purple stuff behind is catmint, and the tall maroon thing in the corner is a smoke bush (you can see the plumes of smoke that are its blossoms here), and on the left (cut off) is my one giant lavender bush. It needs a trim so I can have some fresh lavender in my kitchen... in front of the dogwood is a salvia that needs cutting back now that it is done blooming so maybe it will bloom again...

and behind all that, is my honeysuckle in bloom. You'd never know, but that's where I planted it, thinking you'd see it going up the fence. But it's not close enough to the fence (duh). SO moved is where it will be come cooler weather. But for now I just want the exterminator to not kill all my bees! Keep your fingers crossed, he said they'd be fine but I know they're sensitive.

And that is where I'm at. Working on a PowerPoint presentation because it is too hot to be in my yard :( although I did go hack back the gorgeous maple earlier after exterminator guy pointed out the branch that I didn't like in the first place that was lying on the roof was actually a carpenter ant highway and they were strolling right up the trunk and across to my roof. Not cool. So I figured I'd be in the shade there, and I took out that big branch and a couple of smaller ones that were just too low to the ground - now I can walk under it, and see the sky between it and my roof. And still have plenty of shade for that potential hammock...

4 comments:

drwende said...

Oh my -- your yard is doing so nicely.

If you're working on PPT, does that mean the excess chapter is done?

Alana in Canada said...

Oh it's so lovely--coming along splendidly. (I'm reading too many "English" gardening books, I expect.)

Thanks for venturing out in that heat to update us! It's all rather exciting. You cut off a branch, I cut off a branch...cool beans.

Good luck with your bees. Perhaps you could create some smoke on the day the exterminator comes so they'll just stay away?

zooza said...

It really is looking fantastic. I'm so jealous (although I have not right to be as you've done lots of hard work and I've done zilch). The photo of the catmint corner is especially lovely.

Anne (in Reno) said...

Thanks ladies, I figured I was due for a Garden Therapy update! Too hot to do much more out there right now, sadly, but I've got plans...