Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can you spot the hummingbird?

It wasn't until I uploaded photos from the camera and got a good look that I realized that I DID get a photo of Ruby. She's pretty hard to spot in this smallish image, especially as her coloration very much blends in with the leaves and ground. She's between the cardinal flower and a seed head of the anise hyssop. Can you spot her?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The transition season

It's the tag end of summer, for me an odd season in the garden. I've given up on my annual goal of REALLY getting control of the weeds. It's not that long till some heavy frosts will take care of them - for a few months.

Once again I'm gearing up for fall planting, something I really haven't gotten the hang of yet. It always seems too early to be planting for fall in the blazing heat of early August, and by the time I really get going on it, it's usually too late. Last year the turnips and rutabagas I planted, probably right around this time, overwintered and started growing again in the spring. They rather quickly sent up some tall yellow flowers - something I certainly didn't expect from a turnip. They never really did get much of a root.

This year, at least, I have some kale and other cole crops started indoors, ready to be planted out. And over the weekend I planted peas - snow peas and sugar snaps. Their respective seed packages say that the sow peas don't really care for cool weather, but the sugar snaps do. So I'm hedging my bets - maybe at least one of the 2 will do well.

The truth is, I'm usually happiest in the spring garden, with all its promise. I think of the late summer garden as full of lanky old timers, quite able to take care of themselves. Yes, I'm happy for the bounty of tomatoes and peppers, and eager to see how my watermelons turn out. But the summer garden is about expectations fulfilled (or not), with a hint of autumn melancholy.

But this year, the frequent presence of the hummingbird (now named Ruby) has made the transition season a time of anticipation and joy that is usually reserved for spring. Will she be back next year? Will she bring friends? Where else will cardinal flower show up in my yard? Ruby has brought a whole new dimension to my summer garden.