|Random Garden Musings
| May I present some random garden musings?
| It's an exhausting time in the garden. Planting summer
annuals, weeding, tying and staking, watering, fertilizing, grooming,
summer pruning, sowing, and more --all demanding attention. The
explosive growth is overwhelming, the colorful flowers heartening, the
warm weather and cessation of torrential rains makes us joyous. But it is
hard to keep up with the work. Most professions have periods when
the workload increases; gardeners are no exception.
| A vast quantity of rich compost I spread in thick layers last fall
has spawned a carpet of more than 40 kinds of seedlings. Most are weeds
I wish were not there. Yet some are desirable, so keen recognition
and delicate finger weeding are needed to ideally edit the rogues while
leaving such plants as poppies, columbines, cilantro, cress, foxglove,
yarrow, eryngo and squash. Wholesale weeding is much faster but kills
innocents with the guilty.
| Roses are blooming, and need regular tying and dead-heading.
After years of using string, twine, rope, and plastic wire twisties, I use a
much superior substitute. It is copper electrical wire, 12 gauge, wrapped
in black plastic. It proves strong, easy to bend and tie, everlasting,
and inconspicuous. You can buy it in various colors. I hate the way hoses
and so many other garden accessories are colored
bright garish fake green by the manufacturers.
| Bamboo shoots are soaring skyward now. Some are good to eat.
The commonest species in old Seattle neighborhoods is arrow
bamboo, Pseudosasa japonica. Sniffed at disdainfully by connoiseurs, it is tough
as nails. Most clumps are 8 to 12 feet tall, the leaves are relatively large,
up to 15 inches long and 2 inches wide. When the shoots are 6 to 10
inches tall, snap off some of the plump ones like you would pick
asparagus. Husk off the tough fibrous outer sheaths, then bite the tender baby
green core. It is a delicacy. Most bamboo shoots are acrid raw; not these.
Add some pieces to your salads.
| Mosquitoes are everywhere now, especially in the evenings. As
people are also outside more, baring our skin, we get stung. Here's a hint:
wear white or pale colors rather than blue, black, purple or red, and you
will attract fewer of the blood-thirsty beasts. You will also stay cooler.
|(originally published in The Seattle Weekly, June 1997)