The passion flower quickly turned the garden into a steamy tropical jungle. The leaves, when tender, and the flowers can be tinctured and can have medicinal properties.
As fall advanced and the nights became chillier, the leaves lost their youthful blush but remained vigorous and productive. Below – the first and third photos show indigo bush (Amorpha fruticosa) being overtaken by the vine. The middle photo is the sturdier redbud (Cercis canadensis), nonetheless appearing a bit smothered.
The vines were still surviving by late October. I finally pulled them all and fed them to the chickens in November.
As in summer of 2017, this was a good year for gojis. I’ve noticed that the plants can be trained into a hedge. They spread by roots just below the surface – baby plants seem to emerge a few feet from the mother plant. The plants had red berries until the December snow.
These fresh berries do not have the same taste as the ones at the store (not as sweet). I air dried them to extend their useful life, and they had a drier (as opposed to chewy, raisin-like) texture. I’ll need to do research and/or continue experimenting next year.
After a 6-month hiatus, this snow has allowed me to return to the blogosphere, if only briefly. Today and tomorrow, I’ll be working on creating entries for various projects and members of the garden family, and release them gradually.
Technically, winter solstice (Dec. 21) heralds the start of winter. But this feels like winter to me.
I snapped this photo yesterday (Dec. 9). I don’t believe the sun managed to break through the cloud cover all day. 2018 has been the year of water in the Piedmont of NC.
In this season, when late Spring begins to transition over to early Summer, color abounds. The eyes find delight in the recently-arrived goldfinches. The fledgling cardinals. The blue jays and bluebirds and red-winged blackbirds soaring above the reservoir. The muted dusky blue of the great blue heron. Irises in antique pastel yellows and purples, and bold violet and mustard. The whites, ecrus, and faded yellows of the daffodils, honeysuckles, and blackberry blooms give way to the purples and pinks of spiderwort and rosa multiflora. Even so, there are still the Queen Anne’s lace and plate-sized elderberry blooms to to tone down the living rainbow.
Color for the ear too, in the singing of the bullfrogs, tree frogs, and spring peepers. And in the joyful cacophony of dozens of songbirds, singing to call to their neighbor, or to mark their territory, or simply for the joy of living. The heifer as she lows to her adolescent calf.
Color, even, for the olfactory senses. Honeysuckle and rose in the morning, as intoxicating to people as they are to their pollinators. The sweet earth as the tomato beds are prepared. Even the pollen itself, wind-born from the privet, assaults the nostrils as it seeks out the stigma of the female flower.
So, don’t hold back. Take all the color in, drink it with your eyes and ears and nostrils. Save it for a rainy or snowy gray day.
Late Spring almanac and ephemera:
I’ve read some folklore that, if the sun shines while it rains, it will rain at the same time tomorrow. We shall test that. Today, while it was raining at 6:30 pm, the sun continued to shine defiantly (but only in the southern sky – that may cancel it out).
The scorzonera has just about finished blooming, as has the white rambling rose. The pink rambling rose is at the peak of its bloom. The honeysuckle continues to pour out flowers, after saving so hard all winter.
The partridge pea, which I have worked hard to naturalize on the site, is in various stages of germination in all three sections of the garden. Some plants are three inches, but most don’t yet even have their true leaves.
The Amorpha fruticosa finished flowering a week ago. I am hoping it produces seed in quantity. The Thermopsis villosa is nearing the end of its flowering season. The Astragalus canadensis is in its expansive stage. It may flower in a month, more or less.
Still in the waxing moon. We will have a full moon on Wednesday, May 29.
The ripe early blueberries are trickling in.
Tomorrow I will plant at least 10 tomatoes and 10 peppers of various varieties. I will also set out the nasturtium that I started from seed. I may up-pot some of the peppers.
You will notice that the Astragalus canadensis (Canadian milkvetch) is conspicuously absent from this post on native legumes. Fear not, I am gearing up for a post all of their own, hopefully soon. Some did not make the winter, but most braved the brutal cold and lived to tell the tale. But that’s a story for another day.
These photos were taken on April 17. I couldn’t tell you how the weather was, I don’t remember. It was probably fairly cool (we didn’t have our last frost until April 21 or so), hot towards noon. It was probably right before we had our final Spring rain, after which Summer settled in. All rains from here on out will be thunderstorms and scattered showers.
Summer’s first lightning bugs (fireflies) first showed up around Monday of this week. I will never get over the sheer improbability of a bug that glows, like stars that have descended to fly among us.
Future posts will feature what’s flowering. This is a visual almanac.