My Garden has a Sense of Humour

A summer combating nasty little squash bugs did not prepare me for this:

late season pumpkin plant

Garden humour: Bug free, late season plant

apple sized pumpkin

A peak under ‘the hood’ reveals an apple-sized pumpkin

companion fruit

…and a companion fruit

Yes, folks, my garden has a sense of humour.

It’s September 10th, just a few weeks shy of the first day of autumn, and here we have a happy-go-lucky, bug free, healthy pumpkin plant. This particular variety is out-shining all efforts to date. Further, it’s growing in the planting bed I’ve been preparing for the winter. I removed the drip irrigation lines, so the beds are dry. I covered most of the exposed dirt with cardboard to keep the cats out. I ran out of boxes before I had enough to cover the whole bed. That was all the invitation this plant needed to get started.

one week ago

Just one week ago

Day time temps remain high, but once regular night-time lows hit the fifties, this plant will close up shop. Meanwhile, I’ll enjoy it while I can, marvel at my garden’s sense of humour, and be humbled yet again.  I’ve been promoted from gardener to garden supervisor, just like that.

pumpkin bloom and tendril

Safety net: a small tendril wrapped around the flower, catching it when it dropped from the plant

Is there something unexpected in your life this week putting a smile on your face?

Planter Box Fizzle: Failure to Thrive

I’ve been trying to swallow my disappointment at the sorry state of my flower bed. In my imagination (a rich and fertile place I might add), the bed is flourishing.  Instead, the mint, herbs, annuals and transplants are all stuck in idle.

My husband lovingly built the raised bed along the sidewalk strip this past spring. It’s quite large (4′ x 16′) so instead of buying bags from the nursery, I ordered planting mix from a local landscape supplier. I wasn’t home to accept the delivery, and ended up with a lot more than I needed.  My friend, Jazzy, helped me remove all the excess and a friend down the street took it by the wheelbarrow-full for her own budding garden.  At last it was ready to plant.

Doesn’t this look pretty and full of promise?

garden bed front garden newly planted

Here it is several weeks later.

Even the ‘volunteer’ pumpkin plant that jumped ship is doing better growing in the grass (lower left).

DSC_0017

Given the seasonal heat, sun and proper irrigation, along with a generous covering of mulch, the plants should be thriving.  Instead, a crop of black mushrooms sprout along the surface each morning, eventually wilting under the mid-day sun.

Today, I got to the bottom of things.  Or more accurately, the top.  Instead of delivering ‘potting mix’ they delivered topsoil!  It’s heavy, sandy and ill-suited for my needs.

The supplier offered a refund today, but they can’t remove the delivered soil.  They suggested a few bags of high quality premium mix, free of charge, but I’ll need to amend it by half, so I still need to figure out what to do with over a cubic yard of topsoil.

Right now, I’m just overwhelmed.  I’ll keep you posted.