Saturday, June 9, 2007

Stamp of the Day: Gardening , and a garden update

These Swedish stamps celebrate the 'kolonilott', where people that live in apartments or small houses can have a separate little garden, often with small houses on them (friggebod). These small gardens are in special areas, so there can be 100 of them together, and some people tend to these for decades or even longer. I think these stamps reflect our idyllic, romanticized feelings about vegetable gardening - but this is not how my reality garden looks like. White fences, six perfect cabbage heads in a row without one leaf eaten? It is like a pretty dream!

Myself, I have just reinstalled our soaker hose system for automatic watering in the raised beds, and it works! Seems like we have effectively shut out the groundhog from the vegetable garden with improved (read giant plank) blocking under the entrance to the garden.

Instead we have three-lined potato beetles eating the tomatillos, Papilio (swallow tail) larvae on the dill (but I let them be, I love those butterflies), and slugs infesting the strawberry patch. But we have lots of strawberries - so good! Also harvestable now is some lettuce, lots of arugula (ruccola, perennial Italian is my favorite), chives, parsley, and cilantro.

Seems like the trick to germinate parsley is to give them a freeze - they germinated after the snow storm we had in April. My beans were eaten by the groundhog (aka 'hotdoggen'), so I had to reseed them, but they are coming up again, I just worry that it will get too hot for them to be happy. EH went home to Sweden but she helped with lots in the garden - replanting of geranium (pelargoner) that were not happy after not getting any attention for 6 months and barely any water either, weeding our messy perennial flower border, and planting ferns and other plants.

Right now there is not a lot flowering in fact, except for feverfew (mattram), Agrostemma (klatt), a pink clematis, Korean dogwood, and the lavender. We thought the lavender might be dead after the harsh winter, but the few shoots that survived looks happy and are flowering now. The rosemary also survived happily this year, in the workshop window. Enjoy the poppy and Smokey in inaction (photos by AREA)!


EH said...

I´m happy to see that you´re continuing the good life at 333 rd with cats and bugs and plants and all the other stuff that comes with a garden and a house. My encounter the other day with the house centipede convinced me that there are indeed "creeepy" bugs too.

AREA, good pictures, I love the one of S. on the bed! She must have missed the favorite room while I was there.

LS, pleaseput a photo of the pink rose on the blog, will you. Maybe AREA can go on photo expidition.


EH said...

You forgot to mention the penstemon now flowering and the pions and the roses, epecially the nice white you have everywhere...japanese invader, we have to work on that a bit LS. I have a few pictures to add to the subject!


LS said...

Oh, that is right! Penstemon, and today I found the first Echinacea in flower, while weeding. The soaker hose system works great for watering. We had arugula, escarole, and lettuce salad for dinner tonight, all self-grown.

I love the Penstemon! The lYLysimachia flowers too. Before having a garden of my own here, I never realized that some flower seasons are so short, like the Amelanchier and Dicentra - they come, flower, and are gone in 2 weeks. Every year. I kind of like it and don't like it at the same time - wish they last longer.