This column is going to be about fun in the garden, but before I get to that, I have to succumb to full disclosure and tell anyone who read my column two weeks ago praising green beans to forget the whole thing! Or at least most of it.
Between the time of writing and publication, a veritable army of flea beetles descended on the garden and chewed holes not only in the leaves but also on most of my bush beans. It was too late for remedies when I found them. I had stayed inside during the very hot weather, and by the time I went out for a good picking session, it was too late.
All the Trofeo plants and some of the Jade beans had to be pulled. After sorting through the pitiful plants, I only had two bags for the freezer. Definitely not fun.
But I do want to go back to a lighter take on gardening. I take it seriously for the most part, but it is good to do a few things just for enjoyment.
I mentioned my bottle tree earlier in the year. I decked out one of the lilacs with bottles in all shades of blue upended on branches in early spring. It was a cheerful sight, glittering in the sun and providing extra color on a dull day.
I found the idea in a magazine, and recently friends Jim and Marcia brought back a photograph of a house in Westerville they spotted on one of their summer trips. In addition to bottles in the trees, these homeowners had put stakes in the flower beds for hundreds of blue bottles. Quite a sight!
So next year, I will do bigger and better. And thank you to all the people who consumed various beverages whether they felt like it or not, just to save the bottles for me.
Another part of my garden I really enjoy is the fairy garden.
It started on a small scale as a dish garden and has grown over the years. There are four tiny trees that will never grow any larger, some miniature hostas, and a number of tiny-leaved sedum and mosses.
It is fun to find buildings and people in scale, small tools and benches and, of course, fairies. The garden is built around the capstone of an old cistern, and is has now turned the corner and is spreading under the lilac bush.
Where the fairy garden is out of proportion with the rest of the borders by being too small, I also have several plants that are way larger than their surroundings.
In the middle of the vegetable garden I allowed two volunteer sunflowers to grow, and the taller one is now more than 10 feet high with a huge flower on top. Great-grandaughter Sophia (right) is fascinated with it.
My plume poppy is up to the garage roof, and the Maximilian perennial sunflower has grown from two stalks when I planted it three years ago to 6 feet wide with 31 stems and counting this year. It is just starting to peer into the kitchen window, and probably has several feet to grow before it blooms.
All these unusual things keep the garden interesting to me. I constantly move the furniture around in the house, and in the same way, I try to keep things new and different in the garden. That way people have something to look at besides the weeds.
Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener
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