10 October 2019

Garden Gone

2019 wasn't my best gardening year, but there were successes along the way.

I waited until after Mother's Day this year to plant... that's what they say we should do in these here parts. A week later, snow and overnight hard freeze took out almost everything I planted. I had to start over.

I replanted a few things, but I basically let last year's seeds grow where they fell, hoping for the best. The weather then got hot, hot, hot pretty darned fast, fast, fast. We spied our first praying mantises on June 18. Quite a few were streaming out of one of the tomato pots, where a pod was located. We saw only two grown praying mantises the entire summer, and that was back in July. We haven't seen any since. I suspect our hungry birds had some tasty meals.

A mama bunny tunneled under my dahlias and peonies in the raised bed flower garden, toppling most everything. We now have three bunnies making periodic visits to the backyard, but no one else has taken up residence in the raised bed gardens. I think onions in one veggie garden and spicy oregano and pineapple sage kept visitors at bay. I think we will have a bunch of onions in the flower garden next year...

Then came nature's July 4 fireworks. We had the biggest hail either of us have ever seen in person. Most of the garden and much of the raised bed gardens were shredded. We've lived here for more than 10 years now, and I think we had hail three times in all those years... small hail that did no damage. This year, we had three Hail Marys in just over a week. We were lucky we didn't have to replace our roof (yet), as many of our neighbors did. We also had only three noticeable dents in the car. Many of my neighbors had significantly more auto damage than we did.

The hail also destroyed a good portion of the crocheted rock coverings, and it took me a while to decide whether I wanted to redo all that work. The snowflake rocks are gorgeous, especially when the garden is dead, and they help the garden during drought, so ultimately I decided it would be worth crocheting more rock coverings.

This was the year I decided to try to use up my store-bought crochet thread on rocks for the garden. I got the idea after making "dinosaur egg" rocks for my grands for Easter. (They LOVED them!) Everyone who saw the rocks wanted some, so I didn't get my own complete rainbow in my garden until just a couple of weeks ago. In the meantime, we'd visited my mother-in-law, who had (appropriately) claimed one of my rainbow rocks on Mother's Day. By September, that rainbow rock looked quite a bit different after basking in the summer desert sun! Even my own rocks faded a bit in just the short month I had them out.

I'm not so sure I'll be putting any more rainbow rocks in the garden. I may change my mind. But for now, I'm going back to ecru and eggshell for the garden.

Lizard's mom's rock in May

Lizard's mom's rock now

my rocks before they faded

my rocks now

There were not many, but I had some fabulous flowers this year.

I had my best pepper crop and my best tomato crop in Colorado ever. I cheated on both. The hail destroyed all the veggies in the raised bed gardens. I bought three more mature tomato plants and a mature pepper plant from the nursery, and I kept them on the porch, sheltered from future storms. The most productive tomato plant and all my potted peppers are in the living room now until next June. Not sure the tomato plant will go along with the plan, but I've grown peppers indoors all year 'round for about 12 years now.

I'm from New Mexico. I can't help it. And it brings us both joy. And good spicy food!

Typically, we get a snow in September, then an amazing Indian summer that sometimes lasts into November. This year, September was so hot, some of the birds that should have migrated still hadn't, as of last weekend. We had a ton of wild sunflowers this year, which must be the gourmet meal of gold finches (and other songbirds). I confess; I enjoyed watching those little guys every night after I got off work! I wish they could survive the winters and stay here all year.

We feared the warm weather and availability of sunflower seeds might be fooling the birds into staying too long. I hate to see them go, but we knew they needed to hit the sky before the first big storm this week.

Last Monday, we dug up the garden, including the sunflowers. Lizard said the goldfinches were hanging out on our porch on Tuesday, gazing over the garden in disbelief. As if to sing, "Where's the food?!?" (Remember the old, "Where's the beef?!?" commercials???)

I clipped the remaining flowers so I can enjoy them inside. Tuesday night the Young Men from church came over and raked up everything we cut down, bagged it up and hauled it to a mulching center. We supplied giant chocolate chip cookies and root beer. The cookies were gone in minutes. We still have some root beer...

Wednesday night, I caged and mulched the hydrangeas and hibiscus that have not bloomed since I transplanted them. I found out flowers will be on old wood, not new, so I'm trying to protect this year's wood in hopes of blossoms next year.

Last night, the mercury dropped down to 23, and freezing rain was coating the ground by midnight, and beloved snowflakes began accumulating about three hours later. Tonight it's supposed to get down to 8 degrees. We've had 50 mph wind gusts off and on throughout this "fast moving" storm. The garden is done until next year.

But I still have a few flowers in my kitchen!

1 comment :

  1. Sounds like this year was a wash indeed. At least the birds and the bunny were happy campers.


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