In the Garden

The first round of tomatoes didn’t fare so well during my absence, so a few days after I returned from Scotland I went to the Greenhouse and purchased a few plants to replace the ones that were dying or stunted. They had a hard time at first in the extreme heat, but soon after our days were filled with rain and some cooler evening temps and the tomatoes have been thriving since then. Except for the flea beetles and my homemade organic insect spray. It was close to the miracle recipe I used last year only I think I went a little heavy on the clove oil. That’s how to burn your plants, folks.

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The plants that are doing the best in the garden this season are the mint and sunflowers — thanks entirely to me being lazy and not cleaning out the bed after last year’s harvest. That’s most likely the reason for the flea beetles as well. Learn from my mistakes.

I’ve got a ton of mint and all these big sunflowers that are very close to blooming and if that’s the most I get out of my garden this year, I’ll be thankful because it smells nice and sunflowers make me happy.

Also in the garden – peppers (jalapeno and bell), lemongrass, dill (it came back to life!), and chives.

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This is Clare, eating bermuda grass that’s growing up in the sides of the garden. It’s her way of helping.

Over on the west side of the yard next to the shed I have my butterfly garden. It’s grown quite a bit since I planted it last year and it’s served its purpose in attracting pollinators and covering up the dilapidated part of the shed.

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There’s sage and bee balm and echinacea and zinnias and coreopsis and sunflowers.

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I noticed the leaves of echinacea withering, looking lacy, and turning brown. Investigated further and found a few plants covered in frass (that’s fancy talk for insect poop). This was terrifying thanks to my long struggle with pests, but instead of jumping the gun and spraying it with insecticidal soap I turned to the internet and found that I’ve got a nice little colony of Silvery Checkerspots.

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It would be nice to see them make it to adulthood, but for now I’m just happy that my butterfly garden is doing what I wanted it to — attracting butterflies and giving them a good place to lay their eggs. Even if they are making an absolute mess of my echinacea. That’s why I planted it!

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Five Minute Friday: Home

I often write about home. To me, that conjures up images of where I am from, not where I currently live. But I’m being unfair and shortchanging this little place. If I had never lived here, I might not have ever figured out just how much more I love living in the country.

For the past 8 years, I have lived in this tiny white house in the middle of a medium sized college town. The first time I stepped a foot inside it and saw the bedroom with a wall that was one huge bookshelf, I knew I would live here. I felt it deep down inside that this was a place where I would breathe and sleep and eat and read and grow.

More big things have happened to me since I moved into this house than any of my previous homes. I cried, I cooked, I had roommates, I fell in love, I got married, I cried more. I found and left jobs. Late nights I spent writing and reading, finishing my English degree. Getting up going to class and then to work and…I became an adult here.

It was the first place I lived alone. Where I shut the door behind me and I was the only one left inside.

I started this a different way and then went back and began again, even though that’s not what this is all about. Some stories are not ready to be told.

Be sure to check out the other Five Minute Friday posts!

Five Minute Friday