So This Mushroom Walks Into A Bar…

July 28, 2010

Today was a day of surprises. I walked through the garden this morning expecting to deadhead balloon flower (did that), pull algae out of the pond (did that) and see cabbage butterflies (did that too). There were pleasant and confusing surprises in store as well.

The sunflower (yes, the mystery flowers are starting to bloom and it really is sunflowers) that bloomed yesterday has been chewed, chomped and tattered. I suspect Japanese beetles and I’m freaking out. My parents have them in Manteno and annually, I hear the wail of frustration from my mom. They decimate her garden each July and August – between her own Damn Rabbits and the Japanese beetles, she has just about given up. Just a little research gives me a possible cure – a spray that smells of garlic, which should be the same Liquid Fence that (barely) keeps the Damn Rabbits away. I am willing to give it a shot, so I’ll be spraying that liberally in the very near future.

The algae is now at “pain in the arse” point. The heat and the bright sun combine to create a little Henry Ford-like algae manufacturing plant right in my pond, blooming in mats, strings and sheets, clogging the pumps, the fall and the turtle every few days now. Barley balls might help and I think next spring I’ll need to change out the lava rock in the waterfall.

And pop! There are now mushrooms everywhere, everywhere, everywhere under the pin oak. All that sitting water, all that new rich soil, all that mulch keeping the ground damp means mushrooms. And I have no idea what kind they are. Seems that there are over 10,000 species just in North America alone, so identification would be challenging at best. They are delicate and ecru colored, growing in groups between the hostas and astibles and primrose and hydrangea. They are everywhere.

The sweet potato vine has completely engulfed everything else in the container on the front walk. No sign of the geraniums or lobelia or spike. Just sweet potato vine and lots of it. This is why I don’t do containers. Because I can’t do containers. They just never work for me. The vine is pretty, a lovely chartreuse green, but I wanted the pink geraniums too.

The butterfly bush has bloomed faster than expected too, already covered with deep purple spikes, calling those butterflies and bees. Next to the butterfly garden is the saddest piece of lawn care I’ve ever seen. This section seems to attract every weed; sticker bushes, clover, thick grasses, dandelions, crazy things with prickles – we have them all between the house and fence towards the front. And really no where else. Is it the lighting? Is it the moisture there? Is it our Insane Neighbors?

Green beans are all finished, the last few hollow and tasteless. I pulled all those plants out and they are ready for the compost bin. The purple runner beans have also produced their last, but I’ll have to wait until fall to clean that out. The zucchini leaves now have powdery mildew, which can be eliminated with a spraying of – isn’t this crazy? – milk! That will also be a project for this weekend. Brussel sprouts are getting taller and we’re enjoying the green peppers at dinner and with scrambled eggs – and also just eaten like apples out of the garden.

And pop! There are bell flowers on the bump next to the pond again. They seem to have budded and bloomed overnight, as I hadn’t noticed the regrowth of buds. It is pleasing that they’ve bloomed again, a smaller and unexpected renewal of that elegance and beauty we enjoyed earlier.

A walk through the garden may yield things I expect, but I really love the surprises.


2 Responses to “So This Mushroom Walks Into A Bar…”

  1. nina said

    Garlic can be good to keep a lot of pests away – I tried a mix of veggie oil, minced garlic and boiling water to get rid of a mud wasp nest.

    After three nights of application, I think only the boiling water was killing the ones it could reach so I broke down and bought a wasp chemical spray.

    garlic cloves can get make moles and gophers move along

    and vinegar makes a great weed killer

  2. rebeccapalumbo said

    Vinegar! What a great idea! Does that kill grass as well? Or can I use it freely?

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