Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Our Yard

Rain started during the night and should continue all day. A good soaking that we needed. We spend a lot of time in our yard. We like to garden, enjoying the flowers that bloom from now until fall and picking fresh vegetables for dinner. The dogs like to run around and roll in the grass. Each day we check the peach trees to measure the growth of the peach fruits and wondering if this will be a banner year. Last year was a bust for peaches.

Once a year Srini applies a bit of fertilizer to the lawn, but mostly we let nature take care of the rest. We apply no pesticides or herbicides or other treatments to control pests or weeds. Regular hand weeding and hoeing and using plastic and straw takes care of weeds in the garden. I hand pick Japanese beetles when they arrive -- easy on cool mornings when the beetles are sluggish. Wasps and skunks and moles help balance pests that might otherwise overwhelm our plantings. Bees and butterflies pollinate the plants.

In the spring we add compost to the gardens, compost made from our kitchen scraps, leaves and grass clippings, and other discarded organic matter. Sometimes we buy a few yards of organic compost from a nursery. I divide and move perennials each spring, rarely needing to buy new plants. The tomato, eggplant, pepper, and other vegetable seedlings come from Renee at New Roots Farm, traded for my volunteering for them.

The lawn is mostly grass, but plantain and dandelions and other weeds, are mixed in. I think that diversity is good. I wonder at those who apply chemicals and numerous applications of fertilizers to their lawn only to create a desert in their yard. I see little life there. Here we have painted turtle hatchlings crawling through the yard in spring, the phoebe under the deck is gathering insects to feed its nestlings, the robin is sitting on four blue eggs in the crabapple tree. The hummingbirds will arrive soon, gathering nectar from the coral bells that I got from my mother's garden at Winterberry Farm.

The female robin sits on four blue eggs in the crabapple.

As much as we enjoy the gardens, it feels good to know that others enjoy them too. On Sunday a woman bicycling by stopped to say that she loves our gardens, they make her smile each time she passes.


  1. I had planned to comment on my hope that the robins that have been hanging around you yard, where the crabapple, spicebush, witch hazel and other small shrubs are, will also decide to nest in our crabapple.

    But then I saw the last sentence. Sometimes when you garden you think that all the enjoyment is yours. Then you find that others enjoy it too. I think this is one of the unexpected pleasures of gardening. You find that others enjoy your garden and you often don't even have any idea of it.

  2. Ken,

    It makes me feel so good that other people enjoy the garden as they go by. I think we need gardens every where, especially in cities were poor neighborhoods seem focused on all the wrong things. Gardens can bring such joy and self confidence. I love seeing the robin each day on her nest -- she hangs really tight, not like the phoebe that flushes at the smallest sound or movement.