Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Muzzy's Secret Garden

Most of the flora at the Dog Park are past their prime and begging to be mowed. Muzzy, though, presides over a secret garden of sorts--our back yard. My approach to gardening is pretty haphazard. I like the laissez-faire approach. Half the things I've planted have died, but if a volunteer sunflower or tomato or lemon balm springs to life in an uncultivated spot, I leave it be. The exception: The neighbor's invasive bamboo. I whack it with a shovel, but we are still under siege.

The previous owner of my house planted wild garlic. I used to fight it. Now I admire its big puffy heads. Fennel grows behind it. I only saw a handful of monarch butterfly caterpillars munching on the fennel this year. Fennel is a monarch's favorite snack.

This sand plum tree is producing fruit for the first time, after seven years in my front yard. Likewise, the peach tree that grew up from a discarded HEB peach pit is weighed down with green fuzzy fruits. Muzzy is doing her best to keep the squirrels from eating them before they are ripe.

Sand plums are too tiny and sour to eat fresh. They need to be made into jelly. See my friend Colleen's thoughts about making sand plum jam here . (My trees are from her yard.)

This winter was terrible for all the prickly pear cactus plants in Austin, but I am all amazement at these blooms. This is the first time the one in my yard has actually flowered. This plant must be ancient. (When I moved into the house, it was the only thing planted in the backyard.)  My wildflower book says that prickly pears rarely grow taller than 14 inches. Mine is taller than I am (63," on a good day).

The tomato plants that I bought and put in the ground are not particularly fecund  this year. Yet I've got volunteers all around the yard. They sprang up from my compost pile.

A future zucchini. The heat is already making my cucumber and zucchini plants wilt midday. If we don't get rain soon, I may have to give up on these water-hogging vegetables. But the basil plants are inches high already (started from seed just a month ago). It will be a good year for pesto, if for nothing else.

Bon appetit. -z

1 comment:

  1. Tomatoes and fennel and peaches, oh my! You and Muzzy are going to be eating well this summer.

    SO jealous of your peaches. What I wouldn't give to have a tree that produced fabulous fruit in my yard!


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