William Baffin rose

William Baffin rose

The weather was so very nice all week while I was working and I looked forward to spending hours in the garden this weekend. But, as these things go, Saturday was stormy with thunder and downpours (3 inches/7.6 cm in the rain gauge this morning) and winds gusting up to 68 mph (109 kmh). Tree limbs are down all over the neighborhood, and some entire trees as well. The garden is littered with tree leaves and twigs. Melody, my silver maple, stood up to it really well. She is an old tree but very strong. She even survived a small tornado that came through the neighborhood a few years before we moved in. The apple trees and the rest of the garden did all right too.

It is still windy out but the clouds blew away enough to let me get out for a little while this afternoon. After reading

leaf and cardboard mulch

leaf and cardboard mulch

Teaming with Microbes and learning that fungi lowers soil ph and that fungi likes brown (high carbon materials), and since I had cardboard on hand and composting leaves from last fall, I made brown mulch for my blueberries. We added sulfur to the beds about a month ago but I don’t want to have to keep adding “chemicals” to keep the ph low. Last year we used peat moss for mulch because that was supposed to lower ph but it did not. So, I put down partially composted leaves and then shredded cardboard on top. I thought just wetting the cardboard would be fine but the wind said, “ha!” and started blowing it around the garden. So I ran around picking up blowing cardboard, put it back on the beds and then sprinkled some wood chips lightly on top to help hold it down. Leaves, cardboard and wood chips — lots of carbon. Grow fungi! Grow!

Amy Pond, now with plants!

Amy Pond, now with plants!

The water in Amy Pond had been getting a bit murky with algae and this week it got so murky from algae that I can’t see the bottom of it. Given Amy Pond isn’t that deep, that is not good. Too much algae for the fish to keep up with. To the internet! And I found out that I need more plants than just a pot of watercress. The plants will eat up the nutrients in the water leaving less for the algae. Trying to find a garden center that sells aquatic plants is not easy. Most of them sell none at all or only water lilies. I finally found a place not far from me, Tangletown Gardens. I’ve driven by there before but never gone in. Oh my goodness, is the place ever fantastic not just for plants but for garden art too. Bookman wisely kept pulling me along every time I stopped.

We brought home three plants. Two floating cabbages and floating heart. Neither are native plants which is what I would have preferred, but we had to take what we could find this time around. I have no idea what the “cabbages” are, they weren’t labeled but they just float around. The floating heart is in a pot on the bottom of the pond. And now I find from the internet that it is considered an invasive weed and banned for sale in a number of states. Perhaps it hasn’t been banned here because it doesn’t over winter? Not sure. But to be safe, if it flowers, seeds will go into the compost bin as soon as they appear so no critters inadvertently take them out of my garden. Knowing now that Amy Pond will need plants, I can find a place to get native aquatic plants in the spring next year.

White rugosa

White rugosa

Today is Father’s Day in the U.S. and I don’t know if I have ever mentioned it before, but my love of gardening is because of my dad. We had a huge vegetable garden when I was a kid and I remember every spring my dad getting it ready to plant. I have happy memories of him pouring seeds into my little hand. We’d walk along a row, he’d poke a hole with his finger in the loose soil and I’d drop in a seed or two. I’d get to help water and weed too and it was glorious. We always grew radishes in the garden and only my dad and I liked them. We’d have them fresh and raw at dinner and it always felt special because we grew them and because it was something my dad and I shared. Eventually I got to have my own little garden patch in the backyard and I grew mostly flowers and strawberries and my dad turned from growing vegetables to fruit trees and a few tomato plants. But those years of vegetable gardening were something special.

comfrey

comfrey

Not until I had my own house where I could start a garden did I realize how much I learned from my dad all those years ago. He introduced me to the magic that happens when you drop a seed into a little hole in the dirt and give it water and care. And every spring when I stick my own finger in the soil to make a hole and drop in a seed, I always think back to when I was kid and it makes me happy. So thanks Dad, you maybe didn’t know it at the time, but you’ve given me a gift for which I will be forever grateful. Happy Father’s Day.

Even though I didn’t get much gardening time this weekend I am not distressed about it because I have an entire week of vacation ahead of me! Bookman is on vacation too. There will be lots of time to garden this week. We are also ripping out the plastic shower wall thingy in our bathroom and installing ceramic tile and a new shower/tub fixture. So if posting is light this week and I am not around on blogs much, that is why, I’m in the garden or in the bathroom or laying on the couch sore and tired. What else are vacations for?

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