Fellow gardeners: please read Sherrie Flick’s wonderful essay from the Winter 2014-15 issue of Ploughshares and find yourself laughing in recognition during these cold depths of winter, with sunny days so frigid your nose refuses feeling and overcast ones warming up pleasantly but reminding you of winter’s place with ice cold drizzles. I found myself laughing out loud in every twist and turn of the narrative as I recognized so many familiarities at times I felt I was reading about adventures in my own urban yard in the Northeast. From the volunteers sprouting up in both welcome and not so welcome places to the cheering on of the demise of bunnies we can’t carry out ourselves but can’t admit we feel particularly sorry for when an unfortunate moment may arise. (I don’t have a neighbor who undertakes this for me, like Flick, but I do have numerous roaming cats who I chase from the birds while encouraging them to go for the rabbits instead – and we have some big bunnies in this city…)
At the same time, I, too, harbor tender feelings for the ladybugs that thrive in the hundreds in my massive dill each summer, so that I’m careful about how much I’ll weed out of the main veggie patch. I, too, both cringe and delight at the sight of a particularly large spider and it’s hopefully huge web that glistens in the morning dew between bamboo poles set within the tomatoes – not all garden critters are bad.
But I pity the creature that dares set foot in the asparagus again. My four year old plants promise a good harvest this spring, if we continue this wet weather….
The bee balm I planted last summer is popping up all over the garden this year so obviously I don’t need to save seed, but I still feel like it is a waste not to if I can. Plus, seed saving is fun! All I did was let the flower heads dry and collected them; as I was doing so the teeny tiny seeds were falling out. I have such a crush on bee balm right now and wish I had saved some to dry: the plants were pretty much done when I cut them down but they were still so amazingly fragrant. Shaking out the rest of the seeds should smell wonderful. (I’m leaving them outside overnight since I spotted some little spiders amongst them, will give them some time to find a new home….)
I didn’t even shake the flower heads out yet, just set them in the container, so that’s how easy they fall out. I’m sure this is how bee balm self seeds so easily. I threw some stalks along the fence line to see if I’ll get more popping up there next season.