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Our Garden, 2001

This is the first year we've really had a chance to do some gardening. We had some dirt (our patio outside our apartment), we had some time (I was out of work and had time to work on it and also had time to watch Jack so Ann could work on it) and we had the desire to garden. Ann did almost all of the work but I did my fair share and also handled watering duties most days.

Things we learned:

  • Frost warnings are annoying. See below for what we had to do...
  • Squirrels are tree rats. I used to think they were cute. Now I hate them. They did horrible things to our garden including digging up freshly planted seeds, eating plants, and eating all the gourds that grew from our mystery bush. And it was the squirrels that planted that busy in the first place.
  • Dried blood can be purchased at farm stands and gardening shops and it repels squirrels. It also makes plants grow like crazy. If you've ever read The Wounded Land by Stephen R. Donaldson then you'll get this reference: Dried blood makes a garden grow as if under a fertile sun.
  • Dried blood, after it rains, turns a cement patio a dark color which is spooky looking.
  • Gardening is a great cure for bee phobias.
  • Spiders are wonderful
  • Mosquitoes like to live under leaves. The more plants you have, the more mosquitoes you have. Next time I'm only growing plants that repel them.
  • Forget to water sunflowers and they droop VERY far over.
  • We have the world's biggest stonecrop.
  • pansies look awful after a heat wave.

Anyway, here are some pictures. We took these with a digital camcorder so they aren't the highest quality. Ann took rolls and rolls of APS film, none of which has been developed at the time of this writing (September 1, 2001). So, at some later date we'll update this site if there's interest in some nicer looking pictures. Most of the pictures here were taken by Andy but Ann did some too.

Sometime in March, Ann got industrious and cleared out all of the crap left over from the winter that had just ended. This included the giant pile of leaves we never got around to clearning before the first snows fell and all of the accumulated mess (leaves, rocks, dead plants from the previous year, etc.) in the actual dirt portions of our patio. Once that was done, we located the sprouts from the bulbs we had planted, bought new plants to fill in around them, and laid down cedar mulch.

This first series of pictures if from May 8th.

In this picture, you can see our stonecrop (very small) which was planted the previous summer, some flowers, and our rose bush (back right) which did indeed bloom lovely deep red roses before it was consumed by aphids and chopped to the ground by Ann. It has since regrown and is as high as the stone wall behind it again.

More garden (panning right from the previous picture).

Continuing on to the right.

And on. At the rightmost edge by the bike tires we soon found a mystery plant. After Hallowe'en of 2000, I tossed the flattening pumpkin and all the gourds with which we had decorated our porch into an empty pot (the one which now holds our hydrangea, below) and left them there all winter long. In the early spring when the decaying vegetable mess thawed back out, the squirrels went to town on it and ate most of what was in there leaving me something very disgusting to deal with in March. Anyway, the result of this was a mystery plant which finally yielded dark green gourds in late August. They aren't visible yet in the picture above. Just thought you should know about it.

Ann is never one to do things half-way. It wasn't enough to have pots for all the herbs. No. She had to buy pots and paint them all too. We have two kinds of basil, two kinds of rosemary, sage, oregano, lavender, chives, and a hydrangea. Ok, that last one isn't a spice but it sure it pretty. That is until we forgot to water it during a heat wave and it all but died. Ann pruned it way down and it looks like it does in the picture above again. She's good.

A closeup of the spice pots. The chives have always looked like that. No clue why. Every other time I grew them they stood up nice and tall. Oh well, they still taste great in omelets.

Snapdragons, my favorite.

A tulip

Also a tulip.

The next few were taken the next morning (May 9) or close to it. The night before around 11PM I was surfing the net and decided to see what the weather was going to be like the next day. That's when I saw the frost warning. Ann was asleep and I didn't want to wake her. And she'd worked so hard on the garden that I knew I had to do something. I couldn't take the chance that everything would be ruined by a late frost. So, I did the only thing I could do...

Here are all the herb pots on the floor of the bathroom. Why the bathroom? Because Robin, the cat who eats plants, would, well, eat them. So I had to put them in a room I could close. Any other room and he'd spend all night meowing at the door.

Basil on the toiler

The rest on the sink

The garden itself got covered with anything I could find. This includes canvas bags, upside down pots, garbage bags, a bucket...

...a tarp (held down in case of wind by a grill) and more.

In the end, it never got below 41 degrees that night. Sigh.

Now, all pictures from the time between early May and mid-August exist only on the aforementioned rolls of APS film which are as-yet undeveloped. So, we skip to August 2001...

A tobacco plant. I'm told that this is actually a variant of real tobacco. So, if I did smoke, I now have something in the garden I could desperately dig up if I was having a bad jones...

Sunflower! Note the bumblebee...

Blue salvia against a backdrop of the newly re-growing rose bush.

Blue salvia

Jack face to face with a sunflower. Note that the flower is bigger than Jack's head. That's a big flower.

Sunflower (Ann took this one)

Sunflower (Ann took this one)

In August, our morning glories finally bloomed. We'd been watching the sickly looking vines all summer and thinking they were never going to amount to anything and that we should just put these plants out of their misery. Thankfully we didn't. The results are astounding:

(my favorite picture of these all)

And that is that, for now. Come back, I'm sure there will be more... and I'll try to split this up over a few pages so it's not so modem-unfriendly.