Years ago we kept a little flock of about six sheep. Late one night (it always happened at night) a ewe decided it was time to give birth to her lamb. We managed to lure her into the lean-to that served as a barn, so she was all comfy in the hay, but things did not progress. With only mild trepidation and maybe after a shot of something to drink–I don’t recall– I reached into that ewe and turned the breech lamb so it could get born, which it immediately and happily did.
I tell you this possibly frightening farm story to prove that it was not because of inhibition on my part that, when I reached into the earth beneath the blooming potato plant, I found no potatoes.
Now if someone has invented a sort of reverse periscope for looking under potato plants please let me know– I am starting to have alarming doubts about the entire enterprise and also I begin to question whether potatoes are actually good to eat or if really rice and pasta are the way to go. (Note: I don’t eat lamb any more either but for different reasons.)
Let’s talk about garlic whose roots do not neurotically secret themselves or become invisible.
Here is the setting where I recently re-learned how to make garlic braids. (I had done it once before–sometime late in the Ming Dynasty.)
Notice the tired limp stems on these unfortunate garlic plants which I chose for my mad repeated experimentation. Notice the paper with “instructions” or more accurately “inadequate instructions.” But, thanks to my phone and its endless data plan, I found a very poor Youtube demonstration and after only 22 viewings and 10 attempts I switched to a better video and then it was simple.
In other news, the variegated dogwood survived. It was bought last fall at one of the last-ditch all-plants-must-go nursery sales and impulsively installed in an east-facing bed by the house, ghostly amidst the green.
Which clearly shows the virtue of having a few white-leaved plants among the green-leaved ones.
Next is some lowly lamium, a silvery groundcover in a very shady location.
Wikipedia says that lamium is also called deadnettle, which would be a wonderful name for a character (Say, Ralphie, isn’t that your Aunt Agnes bleeding on the ground there among the potato plants? Better call Dr. Deadnettle.) but I will not refer to such a sparkly little plant by that name. Also there are mean rumors about lamium going out of control but I find it spreads just politely. I also read that only a yellow-flowered variety likes shade but the plant I have flowers pinkish and loves the shade, and also the leaves vary from almost all silver to silver spots in the middle of green even though I only bought this plant once.
There is no accounting for any of these things –which is typical of life as I know it.
On down the fence the lambs ear plants (below) also brighten the border. I originally added it because the children loved the furry leaves, but now I would not be without it, dependable and pretty in my not so flowery garden. I like the blooms until they start toppling– then I cut them, usually along with the first faded roses.
Then there is the oakleaf hydrangea, blooming white in the next photograph.
This plant is rare in that it has no special name at all. None.
Okay I lost the name.
Let’s call it Mrs. Deadnettle.
Moving right along…
While some of the roses here are shall we say regrouping, the two little Fairy Roses (they were a gift and that is what I was told they are called) are just coming into bloom. But wait, I stopped writing and asked Google and he concurs that this Polyanthus rose is called “The Fairy” and dates from 1932. (See I can do research too.)
These plants start short, maybe 18 inches high, then shoot out sprays of blooms like little bouquets, from now until the first frosts. Really they are constantly in bloom. But even with twig scaffolding and lots of sun, they always lean precariously, so that is the challenge.
I’ve almost thrown them overboard a few times, but they are so healthy, endlessly productive and delicate that I forgive their color and their gravity issues. (They can be grown from cuttings–mine were.)
In conclusion, there is fruit on the three-year-old peach trees, which are a variety called “Avalon Pride.” The peaches are just adorable and I am so pleased that it almost makes up for the potato stress.