Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Neighborly

I spend more time getting to and from my  garden plot than I do actually working in it.  It's a community shared 20 x 20 foot gridwork of relationships, personal problems and mysterious behavior.  This wonderful chair, for example....must be garden art, I guess because you wouldn't want to sit there between the cabbages and the squash in the blazing sunshine.  

 If you have a lot of woody bits and pieces, you have to do something with them.  Actually growing a crop doesn't seem to be the priority here.   There are garden plants beyond the fence, but this plot is really a study in lumber and dirt...a geometry of barriers.

This ramshackle length of wire tied with a strip of cloth says "keep out" quite clearly.  I pass by here often and wonder about the  gardener.  It's a symbolic barrier; there's not much to keep out and less to protect within, but that simple piece of cloth has a strong voodoo.  The deterrent is not in the engineering, but in the intent of the engineer.  

 Here are domesticated plants left to fend for themselves.  I once lived next to a small dairy farm; occasionally the cows escaped their pasture and wandered into my garden where they would stand looking perplexed until someone came to collect them.  (1200 pounds of befuddled dairy cow can stomp a lot of garden into compost before she's redirected.)  These lettuce plants are like those cows; they need someone to own them, to put them back in context.

The story on this neato shelter....there was a grant to pay an actual Irish thatcher-fellow to install actual Irish thatch, but before the money came through, he went back to Ireland leaving the structure thatchless.  Master gardener volunteers eventually used cattail foliage for thatching and hey presto!  (You may need to know this trick someday).

 There is a wonderful shed for shared tools and rain barrels on both sides.


Nice homey feel to this plot where the gardener is recycling furniture wood for planting beds.


This garden art actually says a lot about this gardener.


The memorial orchard is maintained by volunteers.  You can read the sad backstory here


The fruit trees have been sprayed with Surround, a kaolin clay product-OMRI approved-that acts as a barrier to Bad Guys.  Surround has been around for ten years and enough evidence has been accrued to note that the silver white surface also increases yields in the trees by protecting the foliage against intense sun and heat. (Yup.  Trees don't really like those sweltering July days either; photosynthesis shuts down around 85 degrees.)


One Japanese beetle dying of lonesomeness.  Unfortunately, Surround doesn't bother the deer at all.  Several of these trees have been deer pruned.

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