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Jungle Fever

July 13, 2008 - Janet DelTurco
The weather this summer has been so good for the garden that everything is looking at its best. The moderate heat and sunshine, together with the frequent rain have created conditions like the rain forest, with plants at their very best. I suppose it is the sun, but it seems that flowers are brighter and larger than ever before, and the vegetables in the garden are simply leaping out of the ground. The coreopsis is almost neon in its brilliance (although come to think, yellow neon is rather uncommon). But you know what I mean. The roses keep coming up with another flush of bloom in spite of the ever-present Japanese beetles, portulaca is doing its wonderful thing with every color imaginable, the pansies are hanging on longer than usual, hostas are starting to bloom, Japanese anemones in bud, Russian sage attracting hordes of bees, and so on. In the back garden the corn is growing high, and I have been eating potatoes, beans, beets, Swiss chard, broccoli and lettuce. I go out dialy looking for the first completely red tomato, although I have been picking the small cherry tomatoes from the pot on the back porch for some weeks now. And the peppers have flower buds and will not be too long. The beetles continue their evil ways. They are trying to see that the ever-bearing raspberries never bear, and knocking out the Knockout roses, but I keep picking them off. For some reason they have not attacked the Japanese weeping cherry tree yet, but as soon as they do I will have to break out the Sevin spray as I can't reach to collect them by hand. I hate to use insecticides with small children and animals around. I have given up on strawberries after a year's trial. The patch where they were planted is too small. The great-grand-boys knew where they were, and had permission to pick them as they appeared, and the birds also knew where they were although not having permission to pick them, so I ended up with no harvest at all. I dug up the plants with all their runners, and took them to my garndaughter who has plenty of room, and I am sure the boys will benefit from them right at home next summer. And in their place I have started some cucumbers. Rather late, but if this glorious weather keeps up I am sure they will grow. It is such a difficult decision each year to decide what to grow, and the first choice is not always the right one. But a garden is ever-forgiving, and changes are easy to make.


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