Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stupid Chickens, Bald Kohlrabi, and Soothing Blooms

Stupid chickens!  Poor, bald kohlrabi. I worked out of town for a few days this week, but before I left I planted some seeds and did a few other garden chores, one of which was taking the chicken wire off some of the mature vegetables so I could use it to protect the newly planted seeds from Helen and Mrs. Hall.  On my first morning back home, I did a quick garden inspection and found that the chickens had eaten my beautiful kohlrabi!  All of it!  Like I said, stupid chickens.  Stupid Rain too, for thinking that even if the chickens took a few bites of some of the plants it wouldn't matter because there was so much, and so far they hadn't shown any interest.  Well, they must have acquired a taste for kohlrabi while I was gone, because they ate every scrap of green leaf, and left only the bald purple stems standing in their tidy rows.  I tried to convince myself that providing fresh organic chicken food is a good thing, and that the five eggs I found in the nest box upon my return is a fair exchange for my greens, but I'm not sure I've convinced myself.  Grrrr...stupid chickens...

My frustration with the early demise of the kohlrabi was greatly eased by a self guided garden photography tour focusing on flowers.  I have more wild bergamot blooms right now than I have ever had before, and as far I can tell, chickens don't like bergamot.  The strange purple blooms are dominating the flower bed on the west side of the house, and the bees are attending to every bloom.  It's very soothing to watch the bees at their work.  Deep breath.  I may forgive the stupid chickens.  

To complement the purple blooms of the bergamot, the orange lilies are at the peak of their bloom. 

For the first time, I noticed that I have two different kinds of orange lilies.  The lilies in the photo above have double and triple layers of petals.  

But the orange lilies by the front fence have only a single layer of petals.  I think these are the same as the orange lilies I see growing wild in road ditches.  I tend to dismiss them as an invasive weed, and to sometime regret planting them since they try to crowd out my irises, but right now, when the blooms are so bright and cheerful, I have to admit that despite their bad habits, they are big beautiful flowers.  

Last year, the lance leaf coreopsis in my wildflower garden stole the show, and I was afraid it was taking over the whole bed.  But this year, I have a single plant in a sea of sunflowers.  The sunflowers aren't blooming yet, so I'm grateful to this single plant for adding a small dash of yellow to my tangle of green weeds wildflowers.  

I don't really understand why the coreopsis isn't present like it was last year (very cold winter?), but I do like that the wildflower garden is never the same from year to year.  

The rose of Sharon is another plant that I don't always appreciate as much as it deserves.  I get frustrated with it because I'm constantly pulling seedlings from places they don't belong, like the asparagus bed, or from along the fence, but when I stop to really examine those plants that I have allowed to grow, I'm always caught off guard, because these are very lovely blooms.  Especially this purplish pink one that grows near the driveway.  

In the evenings, the petals close up, and I really understand why it has rose in it's name.  The flowers do look like rose buds.  

I have read that merigolds repel insect pests in the garden, so I like to plant them in my garden beds.  I can't tell that they actually repel insect pests, but it's nice to have a splash of color in the vegetable garden.  

Not all the vegetable plants are green though.  Right now, the dill is a lovely forest of yellow.  All these dill plants came up on their own, from seeds dropped from last years dill plant.  I love they way they look as a group, and the insects love the nectar from the flowers.  If you look closely in the photo above you may be able to find the swallowtail butterfly.  

Here he is!  He's still a swallow tail butterfly caterpillar, but if he can survive all the birds, and those silly chickens, he's welcome to feast on my dill until he earns his wings.  

This is a photo of blackberry number two.  I ate number one a few days before, and it wasn't quite ripe so it was very tart.  Number two was delicious!  

I think wild poke berry flowers are adorable.  They are teeny tiny, so I really have to look close, but when I do, I think they look like the real life version of every daisy doodle I've ever doodled.  So cute!

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