Archive for July, 2008

this summer

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Ack! Days and days go by with no word from me here.

Truth be told I’m barely holding on to all the threads of my life, it’s so abundant. I’m driving back and forth from city to country, welcoming visitors, weeding and mulching, cleaning, finding contractors, applying to craft shows, filling jewelry orders, and packing and getting ready to move again. I know everyone is busy and I’m tired of using that old complaint so I’ll just say that it’s unlikely I’m going to be “keeping up” here this summer. I’ll try to drop by with some words and pictures when I have a computer handy. Please bear with me through another transition.

finding treasures

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

The former owners left me some treasures they found while working on the house, and I’ve been discovering others, like this little wasp nest tumbled from the side door frame.

And when I set out to weed the old compost heap it led me to weeding in front of the barn door and then to picking up pieces of broken glass and plastic, which led back to the heap where I sorted and picked a whole lot of plastic and found a rich mix of treasures such as these:

Doesn’t everyone need a plastic three-headed monster? I know I do.


Friday, July 11th, 2008

These were the daylilies by the barn last Saturday.

Who knows how they’ll look this afternoon when I see them again. It’s a strange thing to be walking through muggy New York streets while in my head I’m walking the yard, thinking about the smell of the white clover taking over the lawn, wondering if I should do as Crockett says and break up the daylilies this fall since they are only sparsely in bloom.

Somehow I don’t think that when I’m at the house this weekend I’ll be thinking about the crowds of NYU students on Union Square, the bus driver swearing at the minivan that cut him off, or the general abundance of filthy concrete. Now why is that?

knotweed not weed?

Friday, July 4th, 2008

My gardening experience consists of house plants, a couple of years sharing a Midwestern community garden plot, containers on a deck, and the ivy-choked, slug-ridden shade “garden” that came with my first Brooklyn apartment. (Must find some pictures to post.)

The community garden plot was tilled under annually, meaning that everything had to be cleaned out at the end of the season, ergo no perennials. (Unlike my mother’s “allotment“, located in a park across from my old high school with an amazing view of the Edinburgh sky line and the annual fireworks display. It sports a greenhouse and she has planted raspberry canes, strawberries, and even small trees.)

All this to say that I have no experience with a year-round garden. Awareness of the extent of my ignorance dawned on closing day while walking around the yard and being shown examples of the dread poison ivy. I’m Scottish. We don’t have poison ivy. Why is it so innocuous-looking? With a name like that I expect something evil-looking, not something that might be something else, or might not, to which I might have a reaction, but might not, and which appears to be eating into three sides of the yard, but might not be. I get it now. The fear lies in its powers of sneakiness.

On to the giant bushy things. The leaves look a little like lilac, but I knew they weren’t lilacs (one point to me). What are they? Are they lovingly-planted bushes or are they agressive weeds? I tried finding them online and found this page showing foliage that looks similar. Ha ha! It’s Eastern Redbud, I thought. I’m very clever.

Just to confirm, I posted this picture for identification on the forum over at the newly minted, already fabulous A Way to Garden blog.

Within hours came an answer, complete with link. Japanese Knotweed is a “very aggressive species” listed in one book as “a noxious weed.” My gardening encyclopedia says that if planted in good soil it can take years to eradicate. Good lord. So much for the pretty Eastern Redbud.

I comforted myself with my ability to identify a peony, two small raspberry bushes:

and a whole buncha “weeds”.