Thursday, August 22, 2013

winding up another growing season

One of the best parts of keeping a blog is the ability to look back and make comparisons.  I started out about 8 years ago, before even moving to this house, and back then, the plantings around the house were small, tidy, and completely under control.  It can be a little shocking to look at those pictures, really.  The first additions were a row of small lavenders and a few tiny elderberry bushes.  Those plantings are now enormous.  Outside there are treasures from the previous occupants (most notably my mother) and that carries through inside, where the furnishings are a mish-mash of the belongings of several generations.

Mom's "Little Wine Cup" daylilies.  They've bloomed non-stop all year.  Not typical.
This has been a very interesting year to observe.  Some of my friends have been watching closely to see if the monarch butterflies arrive (a few so far) while being astounded by the near invasion of swallowtails.  The sound of cicadas in the darkening evenings is near maddening.  And the plants.  The plants have offered some mysteries too.  For instance, many mimosa trees can still be found in bloom in spite of the long, ripening seed pods drooping from the branches.  Typically they bloom for about 2 weeks in early July when the cherries are ripe.
Last year the elderberries never matured.  The stems dried up just after the berries started to form.  From 3 large bushes, I was able to gather only enough for about a quart of juice and a quart of tincture.  This year they are making up for lost time.  The bushes are so loaded with fruit that the branches are bending nearly to the ground, some snapping from the sheer weight of the berries. 
A brilliant fellow on the TEH Facebook page suggested splinting them with bamboo canes (something else that grows like crazy here), so I will attempt that today.
On our soap deliveries yesterday, we happened upon a brewing shop.  We've been wanting to pick up some air-locks and some champagne yeast.  It's been several years since we've made wine or mead, and decided it's time to give it another go.  We were surprised to see how many herbs they carried, including 1/2 pounds of dried elderberries at just over $8.  Maryanne suggested that I mention that here, since last year they were so hard to find in the usual places.
The fig tree that was moved in the spring did revolt slightly, bearing only a few fruits early on, but the second round for the season is heavy. 
The chipmunks have discovered how tasty they are, so that is one reason to keep an eye out and pick the ripe ones.  Another reason is a bit more important.  If ripened figs are left on the tree, they draw all sorts of bees, flies, and small winged creatures, eventually forming truly disgusting balls of buzzing, stinging, bug-ness.  After we've taken what we need, we'll leave the rest for them, but once that starts there's no return.
The passionflower vine that was planted 2 years ago climbs along the fence and up through the 8 foot tall Jerusalem artichoke stems.  It is spreading.
I am vaguely afraid...  This year it is covered with tiny fruits.  This isn't the variety that is considered tasty, but they are edible.  We'll see how that goes.  Maybe we'll get to try them.

The jewelweed that sprouted between the porch and the house last year has now happily taken over that space, as well as spreading to the other side and poking out along the steps leading to the porch.
In fact, the entire entryway has transformed itself.  When I moved in, there was a well trained clematis to one side with small barberry bushes, hens and chicks, and some autumn flowers.  Since then the buddleia has volunteered to take over along with the once manageable hibiscus that my brother brought home from the beach.
There's a riot going on out there, and I like it.
On our rounds yesterday, there were Amish farmers and their families out in fields harvesting the leaf tobacco that will hang in the special slotted barns to dry.  The walls of corn that lead to my house will soon start to disappear (just as they were really starting to creep me out!), as I can hear the tractors working long into the night.  Although it is only late August, there's a real autumnal feel to the air and the light.  My friends are all getting busy with canning, freezing, saucing, and dehydrating, and the peach stand down the road is now making room for apples beside the peaches.  This has been a very busy summer.  It's gone by in a blink.

1 comment:

Thai Herb Spice said...

Nice article.I love the passions fruits we have loads growing in are Gazebo over here in Thailand