How does our garden grow?

May 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Chickens All In A Row

Chickens All In A Row

It’s not exactly silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row in our garden this year. Or any year, for that matter. More like buttercups and oyster shells and busy chickens…

This year’s unseasonably warm, dry spring has brought forth the flowers in profusion – and, of course, the weeds, too. Yesterday, as I worked back among the bleeding hearts, I filled the garden cart with spent blossoms, old leaves, and all manner of undesirables in nothing flat. As I worked, I turned up the occasional native oyster shell days gone by (as is usual in our garden beds) and the girls came over to scratch and peck industriously beside me.

Garden Helpers

Garden Helpers

I’m never sure what it is they are looking for (and apparently finding!) Unlike other chickens we’ve had helping in the garden, these four don’t seem the least bit interested in the worms — about the only the creepy-crawly critters I ever see – except, of course slugs, at which all self-respecting chickens turn up their beaks. But, whatever the girls were finding yesterday, they seemed pleased with their progress, clucking companionably nearby me as I worked. If they were cats, I feel sure they would have been purring.

On the other hand, there is plenty of flying livestock out there – a gazillion mosquitoes and more bees than we have seen in years. Kathleen Sayce said last night that she has identified five (or was it six or seven?) different types of bees in the area recently – more than there have been in years. (Her remark prompted someone to ask, “How can you tell one kind from another?” whereupon her husband Frank Wolfe said, “Those little tiny stripes on their wings,” and it was all downhill from there. We never did learn the ‘how’ of it.)

Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas

The swallows are doing their part in gobbling mosquitoes during the day. There are nests in various stages of completion in at least four spots around the house – some already completed with hatchlings imminent. And last night as we walked home from a meeting at the schoolhouse, we noticed a few bats doing their job, as well. But, I’m here to testify that neither swallows nor bats are keeping up. Not even close. Those mosquitoes are out and about in voracious droves.

Oriental Poppy

Oriental Poppy

As for the lovely spring flowers – they came on in a flurry, then faded and died before we really had time to enjoy them. For the first time in many years, we are going to be hard pressed to find enough blossoms to decorate the family graves for Memorial Day.

But on the plus side, the Oriental poppies are in bloom and the hydrangeas are coming on nicely. I haven’t seen evidence of the honeysuckle blossoms yet, but I am hopeful that they will make themselves known in time for the first Vespers bouquets at the church a month from now. Only a month! Oh my! Bees and bats and mosquitoes are not the only things that fly around here.

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