Lizzie In The Garden

June 23, 2010

While I sit here, it’s crashing lightening, pouring rain and dark as dusk – at 9 o’clock in the morning. Eliza and I checked the rain barrel system the other day and we weren’t happy. Not enough slope to the system and too many leaks. But it will have to wait until drier weather and a trip for O rings to really solve it. I knew it couldn’t be properly accomplished in just one try – that would be too good to be true.

Yesterday, I heard “She’s outside, taking pictures of her garden.” And there was Lizzie, Eliza’s BiFFLe, coming out of the back door to trail after me, holding a poster that said “I love my daughter Lizzie.” She asked me why I was taking pictures, why I wanted a blog, who read my blog and what’s that plant a thousand times. Interspersed in this staccato of questions was information about the latest concerts, the Saw movies and running camp.

The Annabelle hydrangea is in bloom, grown to a decent size since being planted in the fall, and hosting enough blooms to make me comfortable that it’s comfortable in that spot. More and more pink lilies open every day, filling that part of the garden with such a delicacy of color and form. The impatiens are getting bushier and bushier, basking in all the rain we’ve been getting – days and days of it on end, following by a steam bath as the intense heat brings all that water back up into the air on the rare day it doesn’t rain.

While all this rain is making the beans, radishes, greens and zucchini lush and full and delicious, I’m reading that watermelon aren’t very sweet if they are overwatered. Not much I can do about that and Danny will have to eat whatever results, probably with much gusto. The zucchini leaves are gargantuan, spreading over a foot wide, with flower buds nestled at the base. There are only three plants left, the biggest and strongest after being thinned weeks ago and from the size and health of those three, there will still be enough fruit to provide grilled zucchini for the whole neighborhood. Tony’s not much of a squash eater, so Eliza and I (Dominic just doesn’t eat anything if it’s not protein or carbs – sigh….) will be enjoying it by ourselves.

Buds on the upside down tomato plant! Just a very few and I’m really confused by this. It’s hanging in a spot that gets sun almost all day long (when the sun is out), literally baking. In years past, we had window boxes hanging from the porch railings but everything got fried, even petunias, no matter how much I watered. So this spot should be perfect for a sun-loving tomato. Alas, the one I planted in the ground not two weeks ago from the Farmer’s Market seems to be getting bigger, stronger and healthier than this one. This shall be a lesson learned, so stay tuned to the Battle of the Tomato Plantings.

The balloon flower is setting buds. This is one of my favorites, as the blooms actually look like inflated balloons, pink and delicate and just plain fun.

The milkweed in the butterfly garden is in bloom, about a week or more after the same plant has been blooming along the walking path. Another point of interest. Is the early bloomer an older plant? Different lighting? Soil differences? Maybe just because it’s wild? It’s a very unique type of flower – almost like an origami piece, petals folding in to form almost its own individual structure. The pink color is old-fashioned, dusted with brown. Monarch butterflies love milkweed but I’ve only seen Red Admirals and Cabbage butterflies so far. The butterfly bush, in its third year, is more prolific than expected, sending out midnight blue spears much more numerous than last year.

I read once that the first year the garden sleeps, the second, it creeps and the third, it leaps. This is the third year for the butterfly garden and it is certainly leaping, putting on a show of yellow and red and purple this year that is just breathtaking.

Lizzie asked to have her picture taken with her poster. I smiled and took it. For the first, oh, 3 years she was in our lives, she barely spoke. When she started getting a little more comfortable (in the fourth and fifth years), she spoke in a very nervous, high-pitched thread of a volume we called the “Minnie Mouse Voice.” Then, she was comfortable in this spot, just like that hydrangea. And talking and talking and talking. When Eliza and she walked to school together every day, she would stand in front of the bathroom mirror and say, “I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m actually prettier today than I was just yesterday!” She is funny and sweet and smart and yes, always prettier today than she was yesterday.

Just like a garden, people sleep and creep and leap. I’m glad Lizzie is leaping.

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One Response to “Lizzie In The Garden”

  1. Marianne said

    Love it! Simply beautiful and bountiful 🙂

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