It’s garden tiiiiiiiiiiime! And unlike last month, I actually did (a few) things and have (a couple) things to report.
First of all: tomato update! The tomato plant that Peanut victimized is recovering nicely and is almost as tall as its planter-mate now. And both have started to sprout green tomatoes – about time, too, it’s only late August in Virginia, I mean, jeez.
(Side note: if you are looking at the picture above and thinking Nugget’s football jersey seems a little too small, it’s a 2T. And Watkins doesn’t even play for the Bills anymore. Any tips on how to get a little boy to agree to upgrade his favorite shirt?)
Look how cute, though!
Apparently this is what they look like immediately post-blossom phase. Tiniest! Tomato! Ever! I find this totally fascinating.
The herbs are doing pretty well, although this pot could stand to be tidied up a bit, and I should really harvest more often. (Why have this pot of herbs if I don’t cook with them?) Also, please note that my assistant gardener and I both chose Birkenstocks for this all-important garden surveying.
Also note, Zoya’s housewarming gift to me is still alive! Huzzah!
August Gardening Tasks
So, I teased above: I actually took care of a couple of gardening tasks, or at least got started on them, this month. This is a departure from last month, when I just reported to you which things thrived (or at least survived) under my “benign neglect” strategy and which things (apparently – read on) gave up the ghost. While I am still slammed beyond belief and don’t really have time, I didn’t want to just let the entire garden go off, so I pulled out my tools one afternoon and did a little work.
First things first, my assistant gardener and I gathered up a bunch of sticks and dragged them over to the woodpile, which is growing ever larger (I need to buy a fire pit; these sticks have to be good for something and I’m committed to the idea of backyard campfires).
To be perfectly clear, I did most of the stick-gathering. My assistant gardener was really only interested in the biggest, most ridiculous branches. Run-of-the-mill cleaning: less enticing.
We also did some pruning. I noticed recently that Jesus Mint lives! New sprouts and leaves seemed to be growing from the roots that were already in the pot, but weren’t doing all that well because they were being choked out by the old, leggy, dead sections. So I got out my pruners and cleaned up the pot.
Side note: aren’t my gardening tools pretty? Or, at least, the spade and rake and pruners? The weeder isn’t all that cute, but hot damn it is functional. Nugget was super into cleaning out the mint pot, so he worked on that while I took the weeder around and uprooted dandelion plants. So satisfying.
(Don’t worry, I supervised him.)
Much better! Jesus Mint looks like it actually has some room to breathe now. Hoping this means mojitos are in my future. Grow, Jesus Mint, grow!
In addition to “Mom’s garden,” the kids have been making their own fairy garden. (Or “fairy village,” as I was told by a voice dripping with scorn and derision at my ignorance.) The fairy village has grown from one pot to six, and there are bridges and roads. Several garden ornaments were stolen from me, including the gravy boat (which was part of Zoya’s gift) and the stone owl (which I bought to put near the pond and which has been moved around on a daily basis ever since, not by me).
A Baffling Anniversary Present
Finally! You may be wondering about the title of this post. Friends: I am delighted to report that I am now the proud owner of a squirrel baffle.
I mentioned in this post that Steve and I are planning to buy touring kayaks as our anniversary gift to each other. We’ve wanted them for a long time now and it seemed like the right kind of gift for a milestone anniversary. Unfortunately, because of the STUPID CORONAVIRUS (side note: it is a rule in our house that everyone is allowed to call the coronavirus stupid) there’s no stock at all to be had in the type of kayaks that we’re interested in. And we’re both interested in demoing a few different boats before we make a decision, which doesn’t seem wise in these times. So we’re waiting, probably until spring, to make that purchase. But in the meantime, Steve wanted me to have something to mark the day (isn’t he sweet?) so on our anniversary he led me to the window and pointed out the squirrel baffle that he had bought and installed.
Verdict? It’s a little early to tell, but so far the squirrels have not defeated it. They were all over the tube feeder before Steve installed the baffle, and so far since it’s been in use, they haven’t even tried. So that’s encouraging! And – the chickadees and tufted titmice have been coming to the feeder in huge numbers! Pre-baffle, they were around, but not nearly as frequently as the goldfinches (who are also still regular visitors). But now I’m seeing so many more, and they’re sticking around longer at the feeder perches, instead of just grabbing a seed and flying off to the tree. Maybe they were scared of the squirrels? Who knows. I love learning about my backyard critters, and I’m delighted with my new baffle.
In other bird-feeding news, I moved the nyjer feeder to the shepherd’s hook in the backyard. No takers yet, but I’m hoping some of the goldfinches find it, since I know they like nyjer seed. They’re always welcome at my front yard feeder, of course, but it would be nice to see their sunny yellow colors around the patio too!
And that’s about it for August! Kudos to those of you who have hung with me this far. Unfortunately, there’s no prize.
Looking ahead to September, I’d like to get things a bit more cleaned up, get a fire pit for the backyard (both because it’s fun and to burn some of that woodpile), figure out how to attack the patio jungle area, and maybe even eat one of my homegrown tomatoes, if I can get to a ripe one before the squirrels do.
How are your gardens looking in late summer?