This summer, we have been able to enjoy - as much as the heat has allowed - gardening in the rich, black soil of Queens. It may not be the bread basket of the nation, but compared to the gravel masquerading as soil in Newfoundland, it feels like a miracle. It is quite an amazing thing to push a shovel into the earth and feel it slip right in without the bone shattering clunk of hitting a boulder 1cm under the surface. If you think there is a certain bitterness in my voice, I will just tell you that it took me three years to dig a usable bed the size of a full sized mattress in Gillams.
In any case, there are no such obstacles in Sunnyside. The only obstacles have been (1) leaving for the month of June, which as it turns out, is rather a critical month for plant development. And (2) not being around to tend the garden for about eight years previous. The weeds have had an opportunity to set up shop.
No worries, however, as my style of gardening is distinctly laissez faire. If a plant sees fit to put down roots, then I am not necessarily going to dissuade it. Crab grass, poke weed and trumpet vine excepted. This year my philosophy has yielded some interesting results.
These are some heritage tomatoes that re-seeded themselves from last year. Apparently my sloppy fall clean up techniques have paid off in that we now have about five of these tomato plants producing a lovely, regular crop of fruit.
Did I say laissez faire? Perhaps I should have said lazy faire.
Another example of neglect resulting in beauty. This bulb was a holiday gift from a friend last winter. I put it in one of the pots that I bring in each fall, it bloomed, we loved it, and I proceeded to forget about it. When we returned in late June, it had sprouted greenery and, lo, this bloom surprised me over the weekend. Maybe all the steamy heat has had a positive pay-off of some kind.
On a less positive note, my lazy faire technique isn't such a great response to morning glories. While I love their injection of colour to each morning and their beautiful example of impermanence, they have a tendency to take over and strangle everything within range. And if it isn't within range, they will grow and spread until it is. My friend Patti (who no longer blogs, mores the pity) and I received the seeds for these morning glories from a mutual acquaintance. Patti was first to plant hers and within a year she was describing them in metaphoric terms - how their beauty was at first exciting, their ability to survive in difficult circumstances admirable until one has the slowly dawning realization that what was, at first, a sign of strength and resilience was in fact a pathology, a strangling oppression that smothered everything and anything in their wake....much like the acquaintance who gave us the seeds. She wisely ripped them out immediately. And just like with our acquaintance, I have been much slower to commit the ruthless, if glaringly necessary, act of removing their presence from our lives.
The glory of morning glory metaphors!
This is a little sweet potato plant. I have no idea if it will yield anything but it seemed worth trying. When we left for our trans-Canadian adventure, I left an organic sweet potato on the kitchen counter. Without casting aspersions on Dan's housekeeping abilities, I will say that it was still there five weeks later when we returned. And it had sprouted. Being organic, I took a chance that it might do something in the ground. We'll see.
Other tomatoes of a less heritage nature.
Kale, which is growing beautifully.
Peppers - a bumper crop.
This is funky tropical seeming plant that our neighbor had in her yard. It is an unusual specimen. What is more unusual is that I transplanted a piece of it to this spot about three or four years ago and it has never shown any sign of having successfully made the transition until this year. What is it? Do you know?
A little yarn. BFL, chain plied, 175 yds.