Dear Friends and Gardeners, Week 11

Dear friends and fellow crazed gardeners, Dee and Carol,

Since we’ve been writing back and forth, I’ve become much more attuned to the developments (and the occasional setbacks) in my garden. I think I’ve said before, our letter exchange is making me a much better gardener – once a week I take stock of where I’ve been and where I am going. Well, the “going” is all optimism. We shall see how well I do when the mercury rockets upwards through 95 and beyond.

You all know I failed miserably at starting my veggies from seeds in trays. One day, they fried, another day, what was left standing, froze. C’est la vie. I am not doing that again. Instead, I’ll go to the plant sales and nurseries and snag some decent looking healthy plants (I had 160+ tomato varieties to choose from). And it sounds to me like you two have resorted to buying plants as well, either because a late frost nipped your starts in the bud or a heatwave smoked ‘em. My tomatoes are going in the ground today. A quick look at 3 weather reports tells me I should be OK and safe from frost through the rest of the month of May.

The pathetic peas are up. All five of them. I can hear you rolling on the floor laughing. So, that’s enuff outta you. Still have a huge pot of baby bok choi and another of mixed spicy micro greens. Tonite I’ll sautee some of the baby boks to go with some grilled chicken.

One thing I am good at growing (and yes, there are a couple of things): herbs. My marjoram, oregano, tarragon and sage are looking g—-ooooo—d! I like to snip bits of the marjoram, oregano and mint into salad greens to add a refreshing little kick. Flyboy hates tarragon or I’d toss that in as well.

Pruned the daylights out of my apple espalier this week. I already noticed the beginnings of cottony mildew so I had to get the foliage all opened up to the air and sunlight. These apple trees grow like gangbusters. I saw a couple dozen applets. They need to be bare to the sun from the beginning. If they aren’t and I found this out the hard way, late pruning and sun exposure causes ugly sunburns and scalding on the fruits. My apricot has about 15 or more baby apricots. I think a good many went missing by way of late drop (fruit trees do this to my consternation) or because of critters pilfering. Little so-and-sos.

BTW, you will be happy to know I cleaned up my dirty little secret, the miniature nursery of perennial bargains that was hidden around the side of the house. I pulled out the good plants: two species liatrus, one service berry shrub, one Mojave sage, and one more unnamed penstemon. Into the garden they go. Then of course, I brought home a iris pallida, the gorgeous variegated one, and a dark dark sweet William. What can I say, but they caught my eye.

There you have it . I am keeping it short and sweet since the garden is calling me out to play. We are expecting fantastic temperatures, even a threat of 95 for Tuesday. The reflecting pool, a.k.a. Lily Pond is open (our lounging pool named after our late, great, springer Leaping Lily). If it gets too hot, you can find me floating around in there with a vodka tonic.

Yours in compost and sunshine,