Thursday, August 30

Cottage Garden 9


That's the only word to describe the gardening experience at present, as well as the weather. We are in an extreme drought, first of all. And secondly, we've had at least one month of weather straight with temperature highs well over 90 degrees (daily), plus a week in there somewhere where we topped 100 degrees daily. It's just been too, too hot to do anything outside. Thus, the garden has suffered greatly.

Yesterday, though, I decided it needed some major help. So, rather early, I was out there at work. But where to start?

First of all I noticed all the tell-tale droppings on the sidewalk: cutworms. After finding at least 20 cutworms of various sizes, and cutting off the stem that was stripped bare and throwing them (one by one) into the woods (I can't stand squashing them), I realized there wasn't much left of my tomatoe plants. I also realized that what was left of my plants was either not producing, or was producing rotten tomatoes. Plus, everything was covered with aphids.

In desparation, I decided it all needed to go. So, one by one, I tore out my ugly tomatoe plants. What's left are a few trampled-looking perennials that were striving to reach the sun through the tomatoes; some gangly basil that's about to go; and some very gangly zinnias that I just didn't have the heart to pull.

So now the flowerbed looks AWFUL.

I've already ordered some plants through Bluestone Perennials, so sometime in September I hope to be beefing things back up a bit. Till then, it's ugly, ugly, ugly.

That was the flowerbed on the left of the house. The one on the right? I was too discouraged to touch. But the tomatoes on that side are in the same state as the ones on the left. -- They've gotta go!

A few encouraging things I've noticed: through all this drought and heat, my clematis has flourished, and actually produced a few flowers. Also, my asters are starting to bloom. And so is my weigela! Just a few flowers on each, but I guess not everything has failed.

I have been noticing a spider making its web on our back porch. Following is a photo of it with its web and a meal. Anybody know what kind it is, if it's poisonous, and if you recommend I leave it or send him elsewhere?


Charles & Kiersten said...

Hey Kristen, Charles here.

OK, your spider is Argiope aurantia, commonly known as a Black and Yellow Garden Spider. At least that is what it seems to be. I remember there being a similar variety when I lived in Florida and it wove beautiful webs, if a spider web can be called beautiful. More like a web of death or a Satan trap, if you ask me.

Anyhow,here is a link: Mr. Argiope. Enjoy the monstrous devil creatures that populate that page!

I understand about all the heat and drought. The first part of our summer was 2 months of no rain and temps regularly in the 90's. That all changed for us on July 25. Since then, we have received about 15 or 16 inches of rain. Last week alone we received 6 inches. So we went from stuff dying of drought to dying of mold. LOL. And now we have so much standing water that we have MONSTER MOSQUITOES. Can't go outside for 30 seconds without hearing multiple legions of screeching vampires dive-bombing any available flesh.

Oh well, maybe next year! At least we don't have to water now. Hopefully you guys will get rain soon.

Kristen said...

Hey, Charles,

I actually looked up the link you sent. When I don't think about how fast they can move and how much they can freak me out when I see them in person, they're not so bad to look at in picture. Ha!

So the question remains: Live, or let not live?

Glad you all got rain. -- Sort of. Mold is not good, though. I keep wondering if I should plant anything, or let it all go to quack grass (which is the only kind of "grass" we seem to grow well). It's very frustrating trying to grow things in your's or our kind of weather!

Thanks for the response.

Charles & Kiersten said...

Well, personally, I think that the last thing it should see is the fat end of a bat rapidly approaching...

But being that I am an arachnophobe, and believe that spiders, or anything with 8 limbs, are birthed from the nether regions of hades, I might not be the right one to ask! :-)

Kristen said...

You mean you never had a spider collection when you were a kid?!

My son is the brave one in our house, going after all x-legged creatures and tormenting them with great delight (usually maiming them on impulse). I always hope I see it first, just to confirm if it is deadly or not, and then I let him have at it. That way, we're all happy.

Am I a bad parent?