|welcome to the garden|
Arbors! I love arbors. Or at least I love them when they are covered over with vines and flowers! What a spectacular way to dress up an entrance to a garden and make it truely grand. It all started when the fencing we did in 2004 and 2005 got taken down and re-done. We needed to harvest the cattle panels from the main garden in order to secure the 2 acre area in back of the goat paddock so that the does could be out on browse 24/7. So, down came the cattle panels from the main garden-and they were replaced with poultry netting. Then the fencing came down from around the yard in favor of a fence around the herb garden instead. The chickens managed to get into the yard despite my fence, and the fence proved to be a mowing nightmare. I run the risk of folks trying to come up to the front door instead of the side door, but keeping that screen door locked keeps them off the porch.
|the hog panel with wildflower bed in foreground|
So back to the panels...as I was taking them down and trying to move them, I ended up in a situation that reminds me of a skit from the three stooges. I was in the middle of a hog panel (shorter and heavier than a cattle panel), lifting it over my head and trying to walk it over to the main garden. The panel was bending down on the ends and would first jam the front end in to the ground, and then the back end as I tried in vain to move it through the gate. Eventually I got stuck again with the front end of it firmly planted on the ground, and the top of it arching up over me, when I was struck with the idea that I could use it as an arbor. But would it be high enough to walk under? I'm not a math wiz, and though I know I could have figured it out, the easiest way for me to figure it out was to try it. So I reached behind me, grabbed the back of it, and pulled it down and toward me. Then with a bit of maneuvering, I got it wedged in between the posts of the gate and stood back to admire my handy work. Much to my delight it was tall enough to allow easy passage. I was estatic! I had been trying to find someone to help me build arbors, and had yet to conjure up any assistance. Here in one afternon of frustration, I took the lemons and made lemonade.
As it turns out, 2005 was only a warm up for 2006. Drought. Our last rain was in March and then it got hot. It did not rain again until the week of Thanksgiving. I spent a small fortune hauling water because the well went dry, and the garden suffered greatly. The tomatoes produced, but just a bare minimum (thank goodness for the bumper crop of 2003-I still had frozen tomatoes from that year in the freezer), and the green beans were barely worth eating they were so tough and dry. However, I discovered the beauty of perennial plantings and hyacynth beans. I am now planting the hyacynth beans on bamboo teepees every year in the spot that will be the following years corn. What a fun and beautiful way to feed the soil for the next year's crop. My native perennials, like the echinacea, gave me their all. What a spectacular display of nature at her best. There is definitely something to be said for the native species of plants. The "snake oil" that was promised to me came and I actually got a crop of squash, and most surprising of all, was that my melons did amazingly well despite the lack of rain.
So not all was a loss in the gardens this year. Lady Luck smiled upon us despite the harsh weather conditions. I finally got around to planting the drought tollerant wild flower bed that I had purchased seeds for 2 yeras earlier. And just in time for the dought! The flower bed was delightful, and as I am writing this (spring of 2007) the perenials and re-seeding annuals are doing just what they ought to do and coming in even thicker than the first year. But best of all was the herb garden-in a word, fabulous. The herb garden balanced out the dismal, suffering, vegetable garden with a glorious show of beauty and bounty. I was able to harvest and preserve all of the cullinary herbs, tea, and medicinal herbs that I needed plus some to spare. The herb garden also recieved an arbor over the entrance, which was adorned with passion flowers.
I am looking forward to the 2007 season with great anticipation. Until next season, keep on growing!
|herb garden entrance|