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No Need to Water

May 16, 2011 – The weather in Loveland continues astonishingly cool and rainy. Generally I’d have to say my vegetable garden is loving it. My poor tomato seedlings are finally looking like they may yet be salvageable – between the cat eating the foliage, which led to a move to the laundry room, where they didn’t get enough light, which led to a move outdoors, where they’ve been pounded by rain, it’s been touch and go. The six survivors loved the fertilizer I gave them, so they’re leafing out. In the meantime I’ve stuck some store-bought’s in the ground. The homegrown’s will have to be put in containers, assuming they make it that far.
The clematis clearly has been longing for abundant rain, lo these many years, because it’s looking stunning these days – better than it ever has before. The weigela bushes are in full bloom, as are the iris. I’ve planted lots of colorful annuals to fill in bare spots, and sprayed the various hosta with pepper spray – in some cases rather belatedly – to keep the deer away. The impatiens are impatiently (!) awaiting transfer into the soil; there’s so much else that needs doing, they always wind up getting the short end of the stick. I’m gradually getting all the hollyhock starts pulled up, I’ve gotten my morning glories and vining nasturtium planted near the tree stump which they have decorated in sumptuous regalia in years past, and all my containers are filled.
The drought we endured for three months last year polished off two pine trees, so I’ve planted two paw paw trees in their place. Paw paw’s are subtropical, oddly enough, but grow well in Ohio! I think our dreadful soil must be to their liking; growing conditions in the tropics can sometimes be similarly destitute of nutrients. The fruit is supposed to resemble a cross between bananas and mangoes. The ones I planted are in shade most of the time, which is good; once the afternoon sun gets really hot – if it ever does this year – I’ll have to protect one of them somehow. They’re pretty little right now, so it shouldn’t be difficult.
The strawberry plants are doing quite well, though it appears a mole (moles?) has made off with several of them. Sunflowers have seeded themselves pretty liberally under trees this year, so I’ll be transferring them to the main flower bed, where they are already popping up in abundance. The catnip is doing well, and the Knockout rose looks gorgeous with only its new red leaves accenting the delicacy of its crooked canes. I miss my floribunda’s and hybrid teas up by the house, but bindweed had taken over. I dug it up, along with the roses, and have planted comfrey in that south-facing flower bed, which I gather is supposed to be the “anti-bindweed.” Time will tell. I’ve got a rosemary plant in that bed, and plan to add oregano and borage. At some point in the future, I’d like to put another “Distant Drums” rose back in that flower bed.
Finally, I’ve been seeding lots of grass this year, and it’s doing pretty well. I’ve seeded over my old vegetable garden, and a few bare spots up by the house. I need to attend to some denuded areas nearer the sidewalk (also attributable to last year’s drought). Once I’ve got that taken care of, along with pulling the rest of the hollyhock starts, getting zinnia seeds and sweet william seeds planted, and pulling the weeds growing in amongst the bee balm, and digging up the saplings that are growing in the holly bushes, and fertilizing everything, maybe I’ll have time to … See you next week.

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