Sending everyone New Year greetings, whether Gregorian or Asian! It’s been a wild few months of fall 2016, having gone through the process of sorting, packing, and moving my belongings from my beloved home of 18 years; also, the source of all my previous postings for High Vibe Bounty. It was a prolonged process I wouldn’t care to repeat very soon. Hard to believe the planning started in June, but not a lot could be done without any storage units available in this college town, until classes started in late September. I could only pack so many boxes, before being stuck with no place to put them.
That led to a bit of stall in being able to show my place for rental purposes, but it all came together relatively easily; it just seemed to be a never-ending process to get through the needed repairs and improvements. Naturally, I said my good-byes to the yard, and harvested the CG bounty for the last time. I think neighbors were feeling little incentive to harvest, knowing I would be leaving, but I did put out a request for help in weeding and removing the last of the tomatoes! Deer netting is still up for protect any weeds that are enjoying our winter…lol. What my renter decides to do with that space is her choice!
Meanwhile, I have a new home and new roommate, who won over my heart (and apparently vice-versa). I may have mentioned earlier that his yard is a more challenging scenario, given some years of neglect (not his priority or forte), but I have been rehabilitatinging his old blueberry bushes for 3 years, and they are doing great. This year will require more thought on how much old wood to actually leave, now that many younger stems have filled in my previous thinnings. It might mean a temporary decrease in fruit this year, but we’re still stuffed to the freezer limits with last year’s stash!
Unlike my own property project, which was essentially a clean slate of lawn that could be covered over and established as I liked, my new yard is overwhelmed with ancient shrubs, overgrown with English Ivy from neighbors’ yards, and a plethora of weeds/lawn. There is a nice patch of area for putting in a veggie garden, yet it does not produce as prolifically as mine did, given clayier soil, more shade from gigantic trees on south and west property lines, a the house itself on its sunny eastern side. Last summer we removed two giant sweetgum trees that had become a nuisance to the house foundation, so there is more eastern light in the morning, which is great inside the house, and for the newly planted landscape mounds in front of the house.
The concept of “sharing the bounty as a community garden” is now not the priority topic at my new home, since we have no community garden out front here; it’s all in the large BACK yard. Still, this will be a project of continuing the high vibes of gardening with both food and flowers.
One of the dilemmas of how to salvage this backyard space is how much time, effort, and money, we want to actually invest in this, since we need professional help to remove and restore things. We attempted to control the invasive ivy and jack-in-the-pulpit ourselves last summer,using mechanical and chemical means (in order to stay sane), but it hasn’t apparently had much effect, at least on the “pulpit” invaders. And they love root disturbance, just as do blackberries (a few of those as well). I can compromise with patches of weeds in proper places, but I have little tolerance for them around edible plants, so there’s a considerable amount eradication needed. And, with neighboring rentals that aren’t really interested in maintaining weeds, there is always a source for re-invasion, hence continual vigilance and maintenance (though that in itself is nothing new for any garden). And, in the long run, how long will we stay here? The neighborhood, so close to campus, is prone to noisy parties and more problems that don’t delight my sense of security. We already had a nice teak removed from the front porch while on vacation in December, even with someone coming to the house twice daily to feed Juni and Aspen. Still, we will expand the veggie planting area, and hope for more successful tomatoes and squash this year.
I do love that the backyard is essentially deer-proof! There are a few that have been spotted on occasion, but they tend to stay in neighborhoods 5 blocks away, where they have more front yard options to browse. I have found one in a nearby yard, but he couldn’t get into ours. And with so many large old trees surrounding us, there is a consistently larger diversity of birds: flickers, woodpeckers, chickadees, juncos, red finches, goldfinches, bushtits, nuthatches, western tanagers, scrub jays, and the obligatory always-quarreling starlings and crows, who raucously knock the suet feeders off the hooks. A grey squirrel comes many days to pick up discards under the sunflower seed feeder. It is quite the menagerie to watch on a given day, viewed from the kitchen window. Our hummingbird feeder just under the front porch eave is visited by a female and a couple of males, with no more than 20 minutes’ absence between them on their rotations. Life is good!