Friday, July 29, 2022

The Flowers Get into Gear

 Everything happens slowly, slowly here. This was our cottage garden a couple of weeks ago, gradually getting into shape.

The daisies always want to get in early. They almost seemed to to be floating.

And the other side of the door this morning.

Meanwhile on the garden shed at the back, Jack was getting into gear.

In my humble opinion definitely upping his game and looking exceptionally chipper this year.

And the lilies that survived the earlier deer invasion have been putting a brave face on things with some weird and wonderful colours.

I exchanged deer commiserations with my neighbour up the road. "Worst winter for deer I've ever known. They wiped me out. I had to start again from scratch," he sighed. We compared our respective weaponry. Deer repellent spray, Irish Spring soap - I added Cayenne pepper to the mix. The garden smells like a mixture of rotten eggs and the inside of a minicab and I can't stop sneezing.

My neighbour has got himself some "deer alerts" - they're motion-activated and make a loud noise. I'm not sure if I want to be kept awake all night. I did see one in the shape of a wolf that howled every time a deer approached. I would have bought it but hubby pointed out that the deer would soon get wise to it,  "Funny, Mildred, that wolf always seems to sound the same". "Ignore it Delia, it's just one of their lame tricks - now come over here, this lily bud is truly delicious....". 

They don't seem to eat hydrangeas though.

Well not so far.

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Jungle's Progress

 Dateline: Cattaraugus County, western New York state

  It's what I frequently call the triumph of hope over experience. A few weeks ago I was gripped by that feeling of joy and expectation, as I looked around the Jungle and saw festoons of baby blueberries and thought how the winter deer-proofing had paid off, along with my sloshing coffee grounds all over the bushes, as my wise elderly neighbour had suggested. I looked forward to a magnificent harvest.

And here, close by were wild blackberries, tiny but they'd soon be tasty. (Actually last year I thought they were raspberries but my clever identification app tells me they're a type of blackberry. Since the app is right about fifty per cent of the time, I can choose, so this year they're blackberries.)

The apple tree which split a couple of years ago had doubly recovered, complete with incipient crop. (In the Jungle, you never know which apple trees are going to produce in which year. It's always a surprise.) 

Not to mention some promising-looking cherry tomatoes which I bought from a man at the Garden Festival and suspended in a hanging basket, the best I could do to keep them away from the chipmunks. I have given up on trying to grow tomatoes anywhere near the ground. The chipmunks grab them when they're still green, pull them off the vine, take one bite and discard the rest.

Ok, so how do things look now? Well the blueberries are still green, with the exception of the small bush I bought last year which is totally stripped. Thank you again, chipmunks. The stripy scamps are fast becoming our Alpha Pest. When something is small enough to get through the fence mesh and in any case is adept at burrowing, trying to grow anything is well and truly hopeless. As a result, as soon as a berry turns vaguely blue I pick it off and eat it before something else does - it may be sour but it's a small victory. 

I can't pull the same stunt with the blackberries, which are still red - and noticeably fewer in number.

I do, however, still entertain some hope for the tomatoes.

There has definitely been some progress here. Just enough to keep up my misguided faith in the innate benevolence of Nature.

Progress report on the flowers coming shortly. Watch this space......

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Lookback to the Fourth

 A complicated couple of weeks - during which the Blog was laid low by a non-Covid bug (watch out - they're gleefully waiting to surprise us) but slowly getting back to business now.

I didn't get a chance to tell you about my take on the Transatlantic alliance - our 4th of July trifle, which, though I say it myself was delicious and managed to combine the Queen's Jubilee Dessert with American Independence  Day. I did get the number of stripes right, if not the stars.

How's that for a  Special Relationship? Hubby and junior family members were very chuffed.

Meanwhile a new turkey family have been visiting, descendants, presumably of the gang at the top of the page. They steered clear of the sunlounger but were seen nosing around the front garden.

You can just about see one in the distance. Best photo I could get without scaring them off.  Apparently they like to eat ticks - the more of those blighters (one of which recently sunk its jaws into hubby's leg, necessitating a visit to Urgent Care) they gobble the better.