White Monday

It has been a true November, if vember is Latin for reasonably decent weather. We have had no vember. Winter, after only a few days, can feel like it has always been here; will be with us always. Elsewhere, gardeners can talk about winter interest. When nothing changes for days and weeks, it’s tough to sustain interest in dead sunflowers. Winter can feel like time stopped. This will never end….

Let’s look at some pictures. The first is 2011’s tomato crop, the ripe and ready portion of it. It was a good year. The second is all of 2012’s tomatoes (not eaten or spoiled by the late-August hail) spilled over the dining-room table. Both years, unusually, we did not have frost until well into October, and the tomatoes had time to ripen on the plants. Oh, they were good.  We have had these past two years the best tomatoes of our lives. Still a few little wrinkly ones in the box, to throw on soup or pizza.

Next, below, is the vegetable garden last May, before planting. (May is not too far away. Six months. That’s not really long, right?) The lower-level greenery is purple-flowered chives, walking onions, self-seeded cress, fava beans, and violets, and a blue-flowered aquilegia. The wire mesh (left) was to support cucumbers. It worked well, except that the hot wire scorched the tendrils. We had a great crop of cucumbers until the hail shredded the plants. The short stakes (right) were for peas. We didn’t have good peas this year. Don’t know why. And the long poles (centre) were for tomatoes. They may look too tall for tomatoes, but before the hail knocked them back, the plants were better than two-thirds of the way up and some of the cherry types had reached the top. The poles were planted around a pit I had dug in early April and filled with the winter’s kitchen garbage and then covered with old corn stalks and pea vines. The tomatoes did really well. I planted them close together, around twenty plants, so they’d support each other, and when they needed more support, I tied them to the poles. This year, the slugs stayed off the tomatoes (and ate everything else).

Nothing in the summer garden grows and changes faster or more strikingly than poppies. There is a new show every morning in poppy season. The first picture is an Oriental, ‘Allegro.’ It grows right against the north side of the fence and leans out to feel the sunlight. I moved it to a sunnier spot but it came back. The rest are Papaver somniferum. Hardly any doubles, this year, as the seed I saved in the garage was discovered by a lucky mouse. But the singles hold light like nothing else. And those photogenic faces.

= = =

And this is now:

Forlorn lettuce in the winter garden. Interesting? Okay, maybe a little.

Iris wands make winter magic.

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