Once There Was A Garden

 photo WP_20160608_004_e_zpscyqvncrh.jpgWait. I already used a Steinbeck novel for a title pun?

I hope I get these photos in the right order. I took them over two days, it took only those two days for flowers to bloom and die. Well, they opened and died a while later in the day. Squashes are magical, by which I mean stressful. Though to tell the truth this year hasn’t been so bad, the weather has been perfect, a tad too hot even for the plants, but still it beats hailstones and rain. This is still a recipe blog, but I have to grow the ingredients to use them, joking of course, but wait until you see my purple pesto. All going well that is. I swear I understand Steinbeck far more than I ever did. Someone once told me that gardening makes you philosophical. It’s true: You watch the cycle of life and death, endure the struggles and feel the absolute despair at your helplessness and the other times you’ve almost overwhelmed by the wondrous products of your labours. Yeah, ummm, squash photo time. Don’t leave me dear reader, I’ll get recipes soon.

 photo WP_20160607_004_e_zpsqbnfrxen.jpgThis may not be a courgette.

 photo WP_20160608_008_e_zpstebl0h0d.jpgMaybe it’s the round variety.

 photo WP_20160607_003_e_zpsjem4qawp.jpgSee the split? Heat, too much heat. Took two years to learn that.

 photo WP_20160608_005_e_zpscldcbrte.jpgPhoto won’t flip. The females came out first, which is unusual.

You can eat the flowers, but get them before they open, like about dawn, and be careful of bees, they may be inside. I only ate one once as a test, they taste like squash. It’s like eating a flower. I’m not much of a gourmand really. I think that comes with the weight-loss, fear and balance, a theme for another day, methinks. One lovely thing about gardening is that it can be an escape, sure it’s hard-work too, there are times reader of mine that Jack feels like the garden’s Job. It’s throwing quite a bit at me, still not as bad as the rain drenched days of my novice-hood. Even if you’re not harvesting and eating there’s something about having a domain that you’re in-charge of, a place where you can belong and no matter what happens it’s all yours. Again, Steinbeck, but no soul crushing despair, maybe more Grisham. At least I hope so.

 photo WP_20160608_027_e_zps3qdvxoh9.jpgDrying weeds for composting. Lots of weeds.

 photo WP_20160608_030_e_zpsh7dhsvt3.jpgEither a rose or a sick joke. It took about 300 seeds for one rose. Never again.

 photo WP_20160608_021_e_zpsm8yh7ynx.jpgGo painted sage! I don’t even know why I bought them, nostalgia I guess. It will flower in Autumn.

 photo WP_20160608_018_e_zpsna7korb4.jpgFirst strawberry! I may uproot the fragoo if they don’t set fruit and replace them with the babies from these.

 photo WP_20160607_002_e_zpsaikmrvqj.jpgI mean, look at them. So many strawberries for no effort.

I had to prune my tomatoes, which I suck at, I trashed some last year. All I know is to remove some lower leaves and off shoots that come out of the corners. Leave the flowers and hope for the best I say. They looked okay afterwards, not as bare as last time. Do be careful when handling tomato plants as they can cause skin irritation. I’m nightshade intolerant so they scare me a lot. They probably wouldn’t bother me unless I ate them, but still. I have a few started already and like with everything I’m clueless as to what variety they are. They were someone’s surplus. But free’s free and Jack will grow anything or at least try to.

 photo WP_20160608_009_e_zpsoali37rq.jpgPlease don’t die.

 photo WP_20160608_029_e_zps8x4pfskw.jpgIt won’t turn! Way too many tomatoes. I had to shuffle them around after this photo was taken.

 photo WP_20160608_028_e_zpstrerzyan.jpgA tree! Three trees, no wait, three tomato plants in need of pruning.

There are times of almost smug satisfaction, when things go well and then those times fade and you realise all that can and will go wrong. At those times you buckle down and push ahead. It’s rewarding in some ways, frustrating in others and I really don’t think I could do without it any more. There are a lot of limits in my life, some self-imposed, others not. In the garden there’s a kind of freedom, maybe it’s a connection to nature. Perhaps the idea of God from The Colour Purple sums it up best. Maybe God is in all these lives, however small, who knows, I’m just Jack. What do I know? At least there’s a peace here, in the stillness when no one is around with the sun shining, the birds singing and Jack swearing to make a sailor blush because something hasn’t worked out. Or perhaps because something has.

 photo WP_20160608_024_e_zpsn4anzeat.jpgThe sunflowers are on a tour. One dying, maybe it’ll come back….nah. The cold-frame isn’t going to do much more this year so one side can be sacrificed.

 photo WP_20160608_022_e_zpsqu6kdxgy.jpgI hadn’t enough lobelia until I separated it. Then I had too much.

 photo WP_20160608_023_e_zpsqfb9qwng.jpgNasturtiums grow like crazy. I, er, acquired the seeds when starting them for someone else.

 photo WP_20160608_025_e_zpsl77cqkgb.jpgMy lavender is in bloom, I may plant it in the ground eventually.

I’ve finally reached the end of my DIY work on the wall, a pair of planters, birdhouses, one of which was inspected straight-away, both with added perches, bamboo and a screw and a triple hanger for feeders. Sure I’ve gone overboard, but it does look lovely when you look out from the kitchen window. I had to buy a tool called a centre punch as I’ve had trouble with the drill slipping on the wall, but it hadn’t arrived in time so I used a countersink bit and it worked, probably shouldn’t use it that way, but needs must and all that. The planter is one step up on purpose this time,  my mother preferred it that way.

 photo WP_20160608_026_e_zpsloa62two.jpgThe everlasting sweet peas are starting, they will grow up between the bird houses on the frame. Which I might get wall mounted.

 photo WP_20160608_019_e_zpswltot7lo.jpgI though the White Lady had died, but it was there and is also in the bigger baskets.

 photo WP_20160608_014_e_zpsvgsfinjs.jpgBeetroot, I’m scared to pull it before it’s ready.

 photo WP_20160608_007_e_zpsmhqmicft.jpgPotato flowers. Maybe we’ll see a spud or two.

 photo WP_20160608_012_e_zps5yurl3ci.jpgWe have pea pods! The peas are self pollinating, but the beans need some help.

 photo WP_20160608_013_e_zpssfyhqt9y.jpgI’ve seen a bee at work in the evening so here’s hoping.

 photo WP_20160607_005_e_zpswqkbomct.jpgGerman chamomile. You can dry it and use it for tea, but be sure when buying the seeds that it’s edible.

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