Thursday, July 5

Cottage Garden 6

Well, the gardening has hit a low spot, in my estimation. It just looks UGLY. The tomatoes are now officially taller than me, and they've outgrown their cages or stakes, and are taking them down. This morning I found one plant twisted over and lying on its side, with the cage ripped right out of the ground and all twisted up as well. The cage is useless, but so are the stakes, as another plant is about two feet taller than the stake and is flopping over. Where it's tied to the stake, it looks like it's being strangulated.

And then there are the aphids. UGH. I found out about a "natural remedy" for them of dish soap and water, sprayed on. Well, it burned up the leaves. So today I "sheared" my plants of the dead leaves, and now they look utterly despicable! It's like a poodle on a bad hair day.--You wish it would crawl under the bed and quit embarrassing you. So with my tomatoes. And they're on the front of my house, in my front flowerbed. Ugh, ugh, UGH!

I found a very fat cutter worm on another plant. I just can't step on them to kill them. So I deposited him with his tomato stem on the other side of the driveway, along with the dead leaves I'd clipped off of the other tomatoes. Maybe HE'LL eat the dish soap and die! But then, probably not.

One fun part of the gardening that I did today was to buy a kiwi vine and a strawberry plant. The strawberry plant has long tendrils hanging off of it, so I put it in a hanging basket on the arbor where my clematis is growing. I bought the strawberry plant for my daughter, who adores strawberries. (I told her she could plant whatever she wants to plant in the raised bed garden that we're going to make for next summer, and she is choosing strawberries and ice cream. I'm happy to oblige her on both, but I don't think ice cream grows in hot gardens, sadly.)

Another good point is that I found two ferns at Kmart yesterday, $5.99 each. Mum bought me one of them. I've been looking for ferns all summer, but couldn't bear to pay ten dollars each. So when we found them at $5.99, I knew I was bringing them home. I have to get some hooks up on my porch, and hopefully tomorrow I'll see them hanging up. (The ferns are lush green and THICK. At that price, I would have expected half-dead plants. I've got a job to keep them looking so good!)

The zinnias are now blooming! And my dahlia has a bud! And the glad bulbs are sending up 6-inch shoots of green already. (But the cursed tomato plants still claim only green tomatoes!) Bare spots are starting to fill in, too, but I feel like I planted everything in the wrong spots this year. I've been slowly hacking away at the grass to enlarge the garden, and I bought some potting soil to "fix" the dirt with. I'm going to steal some sand from the kids' sandbox supply, and mix it all together. Hopefully this will make for some better drainage -- and happier plants -- in the garden. I'm looking forward to the day that I can pull out the tomato plants and move everything around so that it's a little more pleasing to the eye.

Ah, the woes of first-time flower gardening! With tomatoes, no less!

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