Marty’s Gardening Journal, August 30th, 2009

Another month is coming to an end. August has not been too hot, but it has been on the wet side. Over the last eight days have I counted nearly eight inches of rain. The tiny frogs and toadlets (baby toads) transplanted from my job’s pond and garden to our neighborhood have taken to their new homes. In the evenings you can hear small toads calling to each other (once you know the sound, you will recognize it anywhere) and all neighboring properties seem to have a resident toad.

frog in small pond 08-09More mature toads can be heard as well (they are much louder!) and they may very well be from the one dozen toadlets brought into the neighborhood years ago. Two green frogs call my small pond behind the gazebo home as well. One is outgrowing the other by leaps and bounds, but they seem content sharing this small body of water.

A young heron, not intimidated by the plastic heron which had kept mature herons at bay for the last two years, decided to check out my ponds. First, I ended up circling the large pond with fishing wire, making it difficult for the bird to land on the edge. Twice it got its legs entangled in the wire and that taught it a lesson to stay away. When it turned its attention to the small pond, I bent a large rectangular window screen in half and secured it over the pond as an inverted V. An extra large stone in the pond, level with the water, gives the solitary goldfish an additional hiding spot and a near solid covering of the pond with floating pond plants also give the frogs room for escape. Unless this heron gets down to its knees to do some hunting, it won’t be able to get to my additional wet pets. some of the 'wet pets'

Last week, when the weather was a bit more cooperative, I managed to grab a slice of lawn and convert it into flowerbed. Started at seven in the morning, I thought I would be done before The Spouse arrived home from work in the hope my land grab would go unnoticed. Darn, just as I was two wheel barrels short of soil to fill this new bed and The Spouse arrives home early. When asked what I was doing so early in the morning I honestly mentioned that I was dumping some more soil in the bed. I neglected to mention that it was on top of his grass, but he didn’t ask, so I didn’t volunteer the information. I stopped to have some breakfast and after he went to sleep, I continued work on the bed, filling it up and replanting it. Since then, two gardening friends have come by and commented on the bigger flowerbed. The Spouse and one of his buddies looked at the same area two nights ago and didn’t notice a thing.

The new sitting area out front, started last summer, has now turned into a perfect secret garden. While the dwarf lilacs will take a few more years to fill out and give us privacy from the street, the Castor bean plants, started from seed in early spring, more than make up for them. These monster plants did take a while to grow up and out, but now, in late August they tower over me. Their bright red color makes them stand out even in the harshest light of day and the five plants in the front yard give the whole garden a tropical spin.

 sitting area out front 8-'09

Overgrown boxwoods have been dug up by The Spouse out front, snapping a shovel’s handle in two while getting to a particularly resistant root. The area resembles a moonscape for now, but with the Labor Day weekend ahead of us I plan to work a bit more magic. Another small water feature, a few rocks, plants. Yeah, I am far from ready to throw in the towel on this gardening season.