Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Garden Oddities

It's been eons since I've posted here, but I'm hoping to make up for it by aiming for a couple of posts a month at least. I'm not sure why I ever thought it was a good idea to break the original Farm into three bits, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

My so-called holiday is almost over, and I've spent the entire morning updating the slide list for my first lecture on Monday. But before I head out to the garden for some R&R (despite the fact that workers are tearing down the back of one neighbor's garage immediately adjacent to the potager, and major repairs are being inflicted on the house across the alley), I thought I'd post the pictures I took last week. Later I'm going to saw off the legs of an old wooden dining table to make a perch for feet and food (not necessarily together) and place my grandmother's old metal lawn chairs around it--so this is part one of a two-part effort on the cranky things we're doing in our garden these days.

I had got the idea for the bottle fence pictured above from the traditional bottle trees that show up all over goofy back yards in the south. But it's also connected to a Sherri S. Tepper novel called The Visitor, in which bits of DNA were "bottled" and put into a wall for reasons I won't go into here. When I was looking for ways to keep the Terrifying Space Monkeys out of the kitchen garden, I put the following equation together: saved blue glass bottles + all the rebar we inherited from the previous owners = bottle fence. At last my packrattishness bears fruit.

Beloved Spouse kindly nipped bars of iron into more-or-less random lengths (some are a bit too uniform and will have to be modified later), and impaled them in the ground at intervals too small to let largish dogs in. We then upended the bottles on the bars, and voila!

We also dumped about five big bags of cedar mulch in amongst the herbs in an effort to cut down water loss and maybe keep the mozzie population down. Then we moved the copper/tree-trunk bird bath off the sidewalk and onto the dirt to help close up where the dogs get in. It's not 100% yet, but I've figured out a way to put a gate in that we can lift up easily, so now I just have to tie together some twigs (as artfully as possible, I suppose) to make that and we should have a dog free garden.
But not toad-free, I hope. There are now two places for toads to hide, although one is probably a bit too open for them. The one above is an up-ended broken clay pot that got smashed up a bit during the big storm I wrote about on the Farm. The ceramic pipe shown below doesn't work as well, but it has the advantage of being next to a shallow dish of water. So far the robins love the water dish and occasionally perch on top of the pipe. But no toads in either place yet.

The final shot is of the newly moved bird bath. There was just enough space between the concrete and the Salvia, and room next to it for a pot of basil (the grille behind it is from the Smith & Hawken copper firepit that got smashed when our neighbor's tree fell on it; we replaced the firepit, but then had an extra grille, which last year supported a pot of Stevia).

The weather has been so lovely the last couple of days that I've gotten spoiled. No air conditioning, a spot of rain, Sunday morning on the front porch with coffee, newspaper, and no bugs. Most of the baby birds are fully fledged (although there was a baby blue jay tragedy yesterday when the little Manx that occasionally hangs out under my car caught herself a nice little morsel, much to the very loud consternation of its parents), so the mums and dads are getting a rest and occasionally lounging in the bird baths. By tomorrow the temp will be back up in the high 90s and all this cool peacefulness will evaporate. Still, it's reasonably nice most mornings, so the summer isn't a complete bother yet.

Hope everyone hasn't given up on me--I really will try to post more frequently and get back to looking at all the blogs I get such a kick out of, including a couple of new additions.

1 comment:

Prairie Gothic said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog recently. I'm glad to see you are recovered from your surgery. Love your bottle fence. I have a small plum tree in my backyard that is dead and have thought about the old bottle trees. Was almost sure that my family would think, that I had finally and in every sense become my grandmother. It's not enough to look like her and feel ancient, but to be teased about it is just unfair.