September 09, 2006

Gratuitous Domestic Posting - Outdoor Division

From the Tasty Bits (TM) Mail Sack:

Dear Robbo -

I can't help but notice that you have not posted lately about your garden. I trust this isn't a sign of trouble. No ravenous herds of Sauron's wraith rabbits razing your plants to the ground? No caribou nibbling at the croquet hoops? I'm sure I speak on behalf of many other readers when I say that I'd love to have news of your latest green-thumbing adventures.

Warmest Regards,

Miss Ima Salk-Poppette

Well, thank you very much for your kind query, Miss S-P. To answer your first question, I am happy to report that, in fact, I've not had the slighted problem with rabbits this year. (Whether or not this has anything to do with the rayther large fox I've seen hanging about in the woods, I could not say.) As you may recall, the garden did suffer quite a bit of damage from the deer earlier in the summer, but the system of ropes and shiny blocks I put up seems to have deterred them from any more recent raids.

The fact of the matter is that there has not been much to report lately. Starting about mid-July, Northern Virginia suffered from something of a mini-drought which lasted right on up until the arrival of Ernesto two weeks ago. And while I specifically designed my garden to be drought-resistant and the lack of rain did not actually kill anything, it did have the effect of curtailing growth and extensive bloomage.

Now suddenly here we are in the middle of September. One of the things that separates my amateurish horticultural efforts from those of true gardeners is that most of my plants are spring or summer bloomers. It's true that the buddleia and the joe-pye will keep going strong until frost, but for the most part my garden has shot its bolt.

As a matter of fact, though, I enjoy this stage of the year as much as any other. There is something very soothing about strolling around the path, a sense of relaxation after the strenuous pace of the growing season. It's as if the garden has unbuttoned its waistcoat, put its feet up on the mantle and poured itself a quick one, having a bit of a breather before beginning the tasks of getting ready for the long sleep to come.

In a couple of weeks time, I'll have to begin the process of cutting back, digging up, separating and mulching, to say nothing of the advanced fretting about next year. But for now, it's nice just to rest.

By the bye, I noticed this morning about eight or ten of these little chaps hanging about on the butterfly weed:


Yes, Babs, they're Monarch caterpillars. In truth, I don't recall seeing this many (well, any really) in my garden before. As fond as I am of the Tiger Swallowtails that dominate this area, it'll be nice to have these Monarchs flittering about in another week or two as well.

Posted by Robert at September 9, 2006 11:53 AM | TrackBack