Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Losing the garden battle

In my last post, I mentioned that the garden was a separate beast altogether. So, here's my post about that beast. Basically, I feel that I am fighting a losing battle to the plants that were once cute and green and are now insidious and looming.

My plants have fallen into five basic categories:

1. Plants that are being awesome. This category is smaller than I would like, but it includes the raspberries in a container (I'm very, very glad I put them in a container, they would've taken over the beds), my (now two) tomato plants - although one of them is teetering very close to being a category 3 (see below), the peas, and the peonies that were already in the bed. Yay for things growing and blooming!
Artistic shot of the peonies

Raspberries! They're looking great, but I'm still a wee suspicious, no berries yet.

Peas! My sad attempt at trellis won't be sufficient, I'm going to need to  make a much bigger one.

Tomato plant - I should've been pruning this, it's a bit large.

Second tomato plant - you can see a hint of my first ripe tomato, yay!
2. Plants that, despite my best effort, keep dying or getting eaten. Top of this list are my cilantro, which I've tried three times (in order: accidentally let go to seed, eaten, eaten within 2 days), and basil, which looks like whatever insects are eating it are learning how to make doilies. Also the rosemary goes in this category, although I suspect that is due to the fact that it prefers dry, poor-quality soil, which it doesn't have. My problem is that each time I buy replacement plants for this category, they seem to get eaten/die quicker.

Empty seed trays that never sprouted in the back, basil on the front left, cilantro on the front right.

Rosemary on the front left, cilantro attempt #3 in the blue bucket. 
3. Plants that are nowhere near under control. This category includes most of the plants and shrubs that I inherited. A prime example are the strawberry plants, which I was all excited to see when they started growing leaves, but now I've realized that they are everywhere, but well past their prime and produce only microscopic berries that mock me with their bright redness. Other plants include ones that I don't know the name of, but they are stringy and widespread and produce only piddling little pink star-shaped flowers. I've started ripping these out. Also, an enormous bed of something that is related to lilies of the valley, judging by the leaves, but have yet to produce any flowers - your clock is ticking down, mister.

Barely even worthy of the term "flowers." You are not long for this world.

This was much smaller when it first showed up in the spring.

Three of the five bushes that are perhaps supposed to be some sort of border, but have started to bear a striking resemblance to the trees in Snow White.
4. Plants that seem to have hit a wall. Specifically, my pepper plant in a container. I have no idea what its deal is. I got it, replanted it, it was all happy and growing, and then about 3 weeks, it ceased all activity. No bugs, no eaten leaves that I can find, no dying. It just completely stopped. Also in this category, my container strawberry plants. Wtf, I'm counting on you, sad plants!

Bell pepper plant. You can glimpse the strawberries on the left.
5. Plants that have straight up died. Unfortunately, this category includes all of my attempts to add something to the flower beds. My blackberry plant barely made it back from the store, so perhaps it was doomed from the beginning. And the loss that hurt most, two irises that were growing leaves when I purchased them, and which wilted and died within a week of me putting them in the ground.

So, what lessons can we learn from this? Apparently, I only know how to grow things in contained spaces, but even that's no guarantee (also, I'm bad at judging what size container to choose). Also, inheriting someone else's flower beds is WAY HARDER than tilling and setting up your own, where at least you start with nothing and don't have to play guess-the-flora. Thirdly, I should've been much harsher on weeding and ripping crap out of those flower beds (I still haven't ruled out doing such an action). Fourthly, I blame some of my troubles on the fact that the ground floor has things like slugs and nasty critters and birds and deer (and probably rabbits) that will stop by for a snack. And lastly, the answer to the question of whether I inherited my mother's green thumb is a resounding no (and my apologies to her, because I definitely took the beautiful flower beds that surrounded our house growing up for granted).

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