Six on Saturday – Where There’s a Will… – October 13, 2018

It is 55 degrees outside this morning and the furnace is running. Just a couple of dasy ago it was in the mid 80’s. I think fall is finally here although we are still waiting for the trees to show color.

Today there are five photos from my garden and one from Friday’s tour of a nearby commercial cucumber farm.

  1. I thought we would have to hire a crew of studly men to move the Jan Kirsh avocado sculpture, but my husband and I accomplished the feat in forty-five minutes with a mover’s dolly. I had been watching the track of Hurricane Michael and knew that if we got significant rain it would be weeks or months until we had an opportunity to move this heavy concrete sculpture. When it was installed the artist brought a crew of three men. Kirsh now makes these avocados out of resin so they are not so heavy. On the left, still wrapped for winter is the avocado sitting in the mud last May. On the right is the new location.

 

We’d originally installed it in the garden with the best view from the deck. But that is the garden that is increasingly full of water after heavy rains. And eight years later the sculpture had subsided and the red twig dogwood I planted as a backdrop had encroached. It needed to be moved.

I thought I knew where I wanted it to go, but after removing the river birch several weeks ago that open spot seemed perfect. It is a little higher and doesn’t stay soggy. The spot was thirty feet from where the sculpture had been placed and I was resigned to paying a crew to move it.

However, my mind is always in problem solving mode. I realized if we could get the avocado off the base and on to a mover’s dolly we might be able to pull it across the lawn. And on Tuesday morning we had a window. We’d had no rain for a week. The main piece of sculpture was gently rocked off the base onto a bag of unopened potting soil. We didn’t want to break it. We then moved the base and the large piece of bluestone the sculpture sat on to the new location. The avocado was trickier since it had one end that was heavier than the other. We padded the dolly, and levered the avocado on. My husband pulled and I steadied. And we were able to reasemble it in the new location. Yay for septuagenarians!

2. The heavy rains on Thursday night, the remnants of Hurricane Michael, filled the avocado. Before we have freezing temperatures I’ll need to empty it and wrap it for winter. The rain and wind brought down alot of branches from the silver maples. Lawn clean-up is in my future.

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3. I went out on Wednesday to take some photos before the predicted rain and saw at least six Monarch butterflies. They liked the remaining zinnias.

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4. Monarchs liked the tall asters, too.

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5.  A post-it note on a kitchen cupboard had been reminding me of a garden task. I wanted to put some small ferns in the area where the Naked Lady lilies come up so I would remember where they are. I’d flagged the area when the foliage died down and finally got  the ferns planted. I managed to damage some bulbs in the process. Oh, well. I don’t know where these ferns came from but they handle quite a bit of sun, don’t get too tall, but spread nicely.

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6. On Friday I traveled with a garden group to see a local cucumber farming operation which has two enormous greenhouses where they grow seedless English cucumbers. The flowers don’t need to be fertilized to produce fruit. The greenhouses were previously used to grow cut flowers but when the recession hit, people stopped buying cut flowers and the farmers had to find a new crop. These long cukes have very fragile skin and must be hand picked as do the grapes on another part of this farm. Commercial farming is hard work and expensive. This greenhouse is on a farm which has been in the same  family for five generations.

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That’s my six for this week, a meme started by The Propogator, a UK gardener. This is the link to the rules if you’d like to join in.

Six on Saturday – August 25, 2018 –

Today’s post is a melange of photos.

One and two were taken at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. We had relatives visiting from the Portland area and this was a great way to introduce them to the history and culture of the Chesapeake.

I’ve been wanting to include some specific photos from the museum gardens. The one below was a project of a St. Michaels High School student who, several years ago, received a grant to install a butterfly garden. This photo shows just a piece of it. I saw my first Monarch butterfly of the season there this week, but it declined to be in my picture.

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2. There are two relocated dwellings at the museum which demonstrate the types of houses common on the shore in the 1700’s. It is important to remember that until the Bay Bridge was opened in July, 1952, the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake was isolated, only  accessed from the Baltimore area by boat or a long drive around the top of the bay and down through Delaware.

The house on the left in the photo below is the Mitchell House and was once the home of Eliza Bailey Mitchell, the sister of abolitionist Frederick Douglas. A former slave, Eliza and her free black husband, Peter, lived in this house and worked nearby on Perry Cabin Farm.

The log house on the right is a humble farm cabin, once common throughout rural Chesapeake. This dwelling served as the tenant farming house for Albert and Henrietta Wilson and their eight children for most of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although small, this log cabin provided the basic essentials – a hearth for cooking, a table for gathering, and a dry, warm place to sleep at night.

My friend, Roger Galvin, designed raised garden beds to illustrate the types of food crops which would have been grown around houses like this in the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The paths between the beds are oyster shells.

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3. Now back to my back yard. Several crepe myrtles that were planted when small are now tall and really blooming for the first time. This is one of two that I rescued from someone’s trash. The home owner had put them out for the garbage men to take. They seemed healthy enough so I brought them home. That was probably eight years ago. (I’m a patient gardener.) It may have helped that one of the compost bins feeds the roots.

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4. One of my leaf castings sits on the deck. I keep a little water in it for the butterflies. The crepe myrtle in the bottom of that picture is growing from the roots of one I moved. Obviously I didn’t get it all. I don’t mind it there as long as I can keep it short.

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5. The garden that is going to get an overhaul this fall doesn’t look so back from this angle. Soaker hoses are connected to my four rain barrels that collect rain from the shed roof. This area is under water when we have heavy rains and dries out to concrete when we don’t have rain.

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6. A big job this fall is to remove this multiple trunked river birch. For a number of years I had it topped to keep it in scale with my house and to maintain a weeping look. I suppose I could have it trimmed to get a couple more years out of it, but I have several other small trees that will fill in when the birch is gone. The other trash rescued crepe mytle is one of those trees. You can see it blooming behind the right side of the birch. At the left side of that bed I have a flowering cherry. The area may look slightly bare for a couple of years, but, as I said, I’m patient.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my Six on Saturday. The gardens are slowing down but the asters and golden rod are still to come.