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?