Six on Saturday – 06/06/2020 – Whoas and Woes

I’ve always asserted that one’s home garden is seldom static, but rather it’s forever changing. Trees grow, casting shade where once it was full sun. Perennials and shrubs grow, crowding out other perennials and shrubs, forcing gardeners to make difficult choices. That is what excites me about gardening. Never really knowing, one year to the next, what your patch will look like. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, a flower or leaf or colour combination will pop up and make you take a second or third look. “Whoa there! Where did that come from?” Sometimes, when luck runs out, you go “Woe is me, all my efforts down the drain.” Today’s Six has a bit of both. Ever the optimist – I’m going to start with the Whoa’s.

Whoa there, Ms. Columbine – where did you come from? I was near the end of my own four acre walk early yesterday morning, swatting mosquitoes in a dampish, darkish area, when I spotted this Aquilegia. Where on earth did it come from? I didn’t plant it or throw seeds about. I have lots of the dark blue ones and also the native orange-red ones – but never before a white. And it looks like a double too!
Whoe there no-filter chives! As soon as the sun hits this patch of Allium schoenoprasum the honey bees will start to swarm around, sipping up the sweet nectar. I’ll have to be quick to snip a few for the dinner table!
Now wait sec – another Whoa with Alliums! These are Globemasters; they just opened this week and in the coming days the flower heads will appear to expand as the individual florets appear on ever-longer stems. AND a BONUS Whoa with the very first Allium shot! It’s Mt Everest – new to me this year. These huge flowering onions are the royalty of the garden in early June. Crown Prince and Princess titles belong to Iris and Lupine, I think…

And now, sadly, very sadly…come my trio of woes. You may want to hide your eyes, and start with just a little peek…

Do you remember a few weeks ago, when I showed a snap of a cute little chipmunk? Someone commented that the chippy appeared pregnant…truer words were never spoken, for we are in the midst of a chipmunk population explosion in many parts of the County. Someone else asked if they did any damage in the garden. Up until then, in years past, no, they had not. They were quite content with hoarding fallen acorns, it seems. BUT, and Woe is Me….I was looking out the window earlier this week and noticed a small chippy scurrying into its burrow with what looked like an acorn in its mouth. Hmmm, I thought. I went out to discover that the little critters had developed a taste for Tulipa Turkistanica bulbs! Within a few days they had dug up every single one of them, neatly severed the stems from the bulbs and left me with holes in the garden and shrivelling tulip leaves.
Meet what is left of two Purple Moon kale plants, grown lovingly indoors for two months before planting out last weekend. I hear coyotes every few nights, howling in the fields around us as they feast on some unfortunate creature. I even saw one early in the morning two weeks ago, patrolling the edge of our yard, on the scent, it seems, of the rabbits that live and multiply like, well, rabbits, every year. But, woe is me, the coyotes don’t seem to catch enough rabbits because this year, for the first time, they have discovered my kitchen garden. Perhaps it’s time to look for another dog – I used to spread dog fur, after grooming, around the garden and I’m told that may be a deterrent.
My final woe, and the last of my Six this week, is the most heartbreaking for me. This is what’s left of an artichoke. Imperial Star, it was called, before the rabbit found it. Started from seed in early February, it may have been older that the rabbit that decided it could eat around the spikey leaf edges to relish the juicy stem.

Well there you have it. My tale of Whoas and Woes. I’m pretty sure I’ll be stopped in my tracks by something spectacular a few more times this year, and I have kale and artichokes planted in other areas of the garden that, with a BIT of luck, the rabbit won’t find….. To see Six things in gardens around the world, visit The Propagator’s Six on Saturday page. Please, stay safe everyone!

31 Comments

  1. Lovely six! I can understand all the WHOA’s – they are all stunning and deserve a double take!! What a pity about the woes. I found it interesting to read about spreading dog hair to dissuade the coyotes. Now all you need is to find something to dissuade the chipmunks!

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    1. I was just outside and the kale is completely gone now but the rabbits haven’t tried the artichokes again, yet. So there’s hope. It was late last night when I wrote this and I didn’t word it clearly – the dog hair is intended to ward off rabbits — I’m rather fond of coyotes since they also control the rabbit population!

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      1. O’possums are still rare here (although they are more frequent sightings these days) – people here like them, saying they eat ticks…Bandicoot? What the heck is that?

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      2. Bandicoots are small nocturnal marsupials, about the size of a rat, with a long pointy snout. They forage for underground grubs, e.g. those of the lawn grub, and dig small holes to get at these grubs. We don’t have much lawn, but they dig little holes in the garden beds, and can make a mess, pulling out seedlings. People with lawns can get a little upset. We’re on the forest margin, so have them come through occasionally. I have never seen one, just seen the evidence of them having been there.

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  2. I have a wonderful columnar cactus that’s bloomed every year for the past decade. This year? Nada, even though the plant looks fine. I think I figured out the reason when I can a young squirrel perched on top of it, surveying the neighborhood. I think it’s been damaged. Whether it’ll come back, I don’t know, but the cactus has been moved!

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  3. A great six Chris, despite the woes you still seem very upbeat. Shame about those tulip bulbs though. The purples are glorious, beautifully photographed. I have some white Alliums too, not sure if they are Mt Everest, but they have the most delicate scent.

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    1. I’m not sure if I should be more devastated by the loss of artichokes, which I spent a lot of time on, or the tulips, which I spent some money on and waited six months to see bloom and that provided a lot of nectar and pollen to early bees…likely the tulips eh?

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  4. Such wonderful chives, and photos of them and the allium. I love them. Mine are finished now, I’m watching the seeds to gather and strew in other places. Sorry about the rabbit damage. I should count myself lucky the only animal pests I have is neighborhood cats, at least they don’t eat things.

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  5. Still loving your Alliums. I am not sure why it seems weird to me to have mosquitoes in Canada, it just does. The newest woe here is the sighting of an Iguana in the garden. They eat everything and my green beans are gone.

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    1. Oh Lord, the mosquitos in parts of Canada will gobble you whole and come back for more! I’m relatively lucky, being near Lake Ontario, not nearly as bad as just a bit north of here! Iguanas!!! Now that’s weird!😆😆😆 I would have thought they were beneficial, eating unwanted insects etc. Huh….

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      1. LOL.. Mosquitoes do have a short life span in Canada? Iguanas are weird, they ate a friend’s succulent collection (he has an air rifle now) they usually aren’t this far north. This thing is bright green with purple markings…

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    1. Our squirrels stay in the woods, where they belong! I fear I am training the chipmunks to eat what I’m planting, instead of foraging like they should. I may have to stop the tulips for a few years, to get the chippy population back to normal….

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