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Another Day in the Country

Feast or famine

© Another Day in the Country

It’s always feast or famine in the garden. 

Last year, the California Wonder peppers were so pleantiful I couldn’t give them away fast enough. They languished on the vine.

This year, where are they?

I could have sworn that I bought at least one plant, but this year’s pepper crop has turned out hot and spicy.

“What was I thinking,” I ask myself, tasting another round, pudgy, pepper. “That’s hot.”

I should have asked where the tags on the plants went. It seems we are on our own when identifying garden plants.

“Oh, you wanted crisp and crunchy peppers, and your eyes are now watering? Sorry, wrong brand.”

Thanks to rabbits running around Ramona, I have room for a few more peppers in my garden if the garden shop has any plants left.

How the peas came to fruition is beyond me.

Sadly, they were just edible when I flew to California. They’ve long ago been sent to the compost pile.

There’s always a certain amount of starting over each time I return from a trip to the West Coast, whether it’s the potatoes I’m hunting for in the garden or the petunias I swore I planted in the pots.

Most of my greenery survives my absence thanks to my sister’s diligent watering, but not all of it does.

The magical and sometimes maddening result in my flower beds is that plants often come up at random, where they aren’t wanted.

For instance, I want last year’s morning glory seed to come up around the arched trellis, but my supplications do not work. Neither does burning last year’s plants. Morning glories pop up everywhere except under the trellis.

Four O’Clocks are among my favorite plants. They are sturdy, sweet-smelling, and stubborn once established.

However, planting them in a new spot is a long, laborious process, especially if they aren’t coddled. 

I want them to grow in the flower beds in front of the Ramona house. 

We had to take out an expensive fence but still need a barricade to let the neighborhood children know the space is someone’s yard, not their playground.

But will the Four O’Clocks come up? No.  

We’re trying hosta here, there, and everywhere. They do well in the shade and need little care — the perfect plant, in my estimation. But it seems that some little critter likes to nibble on hostas.

I blame the bunnies. Then again, I blame rabbits for a lot of my growing pains.

I have drafted a 10-year peace treaty with hollyhocks that’s obviously never been signed. I plead with them as I plant.

I love hollyhocks and want to grow them in profusion on the east side of my house, but do they cooperate? 

Grudgingly, it seems.

Jess tells me this year’s hollyhocks outside my bedroom door were lovely. She sent a picture to California to prove her point.

Hollyhocks have a mind of their own and choose where to spring forth.

This time of year I harvest plant seeds and I scatter hollyhocks everywhere, hoping for success.

“Surprise me,” I tell Mother Nature. And she does.

Evidently, I said the same thing last year, because in a frenzy of weeding, I discover a beautiful hollyhock plant in a crack in the sidewalk. It is under the trellis where the morning glories are coming up.

A red cardinal vine I planted in May is there, too, making its sweet presence known in between the purple morning glories twisting toward Heaven. I praise their persistence and promise them more water. 

I planted another vine beside the trellis this spring.

I’m trying to remember what it was. Planting it was a hopeful attempt to start something sturdy on a larger-than-life archway. 

All this time, I’ve been using a piece of stock fencing as an arch over the sidewalk.

“This will work fine,” Tooltime Tim said when he installed it. It has worked for years as it has became shrouded with morning glories.

But my archway needed a home, so I put it in my back yard. It’s taller and more demanding than the stock fencing. 

“It’s also harder to climb,” the morning glories lament, “Not so many spots to grab hold. What were you thinking?”

Another out-of-place plant sprang up near the house in my absence.

“It looks like a squash plant,” I told my sister, “But I think it’s a seed from that princess tree of Mom’s by the pond.”

It is! And, it can’t stay.

“Do you want to try a princess tree out in the country?” I ask Kristina. “I’ll see if I can transplant it into a pot first — to see if it lives.”

“Sure, I’ll take it,” said this plucky gal that I’ve loved watching grow up, on another day in the country.

Last modified Aug. 5, 2021

 

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