Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot Out: Gardens (part 2)

Here we are. Not exactly the meticulous order of the Jardin du Coq. More the yard of somebody with precious little time to get out in it. Of course, Natalie here is out in it all the time, but she only ever takes care of the mice and birdlings. Won't catch her with a mower.

Yeah, it's up to my knees. In a month it'll be up to my hips in spots. My friends mock me heartily for the state of the garden, but I don't really mind. There's no way I'll ever have a neatly mowed lawn beneath the fruit trees and a neatly rowed vegetable patch off to the sunny side. That's not what I want in a garden anyway.
It's been nearly two years since I moved here, and the yard has not been mowed since. It is returning to a state of meadow. Still, in a nod to having a small patch all nice and neat, I've planted a series of bushes (rhododendrons, azaleas, a couple of others whose names escape me (I never was much for botany!)) near the house, and will do my best to keep up with mowing just this little part. Yes, I have a mower now. With some surprise, I discovered that my local home-improvement store does still sell hand-mowers. Not only will I not be polluting or plugging in, I'll be getting a workout. Tant mieux!

Here's what I've done of the mowed patch. You can't cut grass that's lying on its side, I discovered, so mostly I got down and ripped it up by hand, then let it recover a day before coming through with the mower. It's patchy from being let go so long, but now the sun can get all the way to the ground, it'll fill in the spaces.
The apricot tree that shades the lawn patch is fully laden with fruit this year. On Saturday I'm going to hurry out and buy a food dehydrator, because I love cooking with dried apricots (and just eating them). Last year there was enough to make just 4 pots of jam in addition to what I ate fresh. This year that would be way too much jam. Though I will be making extra apricot-red currant to hand around as gifts.

Stalk the mice, girls, not each other.

This is the vegetable patch. Really. And in fact there are already vegetables growing in it, aside from the edible dandelions. Up at the house-end, there's thyme and rosemary and marjoram and two spindly tomato plants.
In the middle under the plum tree that I would pull out if I owned the place, is a HUGE rhubarb. Three weeks ago it was barely putting out baby leaves and now look at it. Just imagine July!

Two hours with the pitchfork and I've turned over enough ground for a first planting. I seeded a row of sweet corn and lots of radishes. Depending on the rain this weekend, I hope to get this veg bed extended all the way to the rhubarb, then put in a central bed and one along the left side. That gives me three long aisles of tomatos, green beans, peas, corn, radishes, onions, etc. Farther down maybe some squash and cukes but last year they never came to anything.

This is the front garden. Doesn't look like much yet! But the roses have really taken off since I took the picture (just last weekend!) and this weekend I hope to get some purple alyssum in as a ground cover.

So that's the garden, Sciencegirl style. The first year I lived here I kept a gardening journal which I posted last year. For those of you who hadn't found me yet, it's here . Be warned - it's long.


Patty said...

Now that is my kind of garden. I love your yard. Photos are great, especially the girls romping around in the yard. Bet they have a lot of mice to chase in that tall grass.

The second part is just beautiful. Those ducks in the fountain are really cute. Beautiful gardens you have there in France.

Nice photos, all. Thanks for joining our little shoot gang. We seems to be growing.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Wow, a hand mower - that's cool. We used to have an electric mower and I was terrified of running over the cable.

Elaine Dale said...

You do what you can with what you've got - good on ya!

Chef E said...

I am envious of the land for gardening, the playful felines, and that Apricot tree, oh how the call to me!

Nice to have you join, and I am feeling pretty good about your transportation pick!

Doreen said...

interesting garden you have. letting it all go natural. great pics!!

Gordon said...

That is about how high my grass gets before my wife lays down the law about mowing. My feeling is that grass cleans the air. How can it do its job if wee keep mowing it? Great shots, my friend.

J9 said...

Wow! I love the meadow, and I'm envious of all the space you have to plant! A great post with all the details, and I hope we see some of the bounty of your garden later in the year!

Si's blog said...

A glorious and different garden and tale. We have thought about converting ours, at least a big part of it, into a wildflower meadow. Our almost-a-half-acre lot was all grass when we moved in ten years ago. A lot of the grass has gone to trees and flowers. Would like for it to have grass only in the pathways.

Envy you the vegetable garden. Used to do that.