The good news:
Our little pond has certainly aged well over its first year; the “borrowed” bog bottom sod over my purposely soggy beds bordering the pond seems to be right for what we were seeking. Ferns have come back despite the abundance of warm sun the spot provides them….
The interesting “grass” sphere that became so prominent last year is as pretty as ever and additional similar clumps are developing.
The bad news:
The “garden side” of the pond settled and ended up being slightly lower than the “fence side” where the soggy beds are. This meant that the automatic topping off of the pond didn’t keep the beds as wet as it could have since the water seeped over the other (garden) edge and not into the beds. I’ve adjusted this (with an ugly temporary fix) and it seems to be flowing correctly again. Unfortunately, the beautiful ferns that doing so well got “burned” on their tips as they were coming out; they may still do OK but it was a disappointment regardless.
The really bad news is I spent the time to identify the “grass” that is doing so well….. it is actually sedge, which is a cousin to the nutsedge aka “nut grass” that is impossible to eradicate from my lawn and parts of my garden beds. It came with the mountain bog sod, so I sent some pictures to my sis who conveniently lives in the mountains and has plenty of boggy ground around her home.
She immediately ID’d one of the sedges as an invasive nuisance and advised removing it immediately. I have started, but the roots of the main clump are connected to the building foundations in Bejing and it is going to take some work.
The large holdover sedge specimen:
From 90 degrees, the same sedge with the new questionable one in the foreground.
A close up of the evil sedge’s seed burr:
Looking back across the pond:
Closer of same (note the volunteer willow I topped off too. Yes, I know, this is going to be a problem too but for now I am pursuing containment and not elimination. ):
The southern end with ferns from my sis and the pile of cover logs and sweet autumn wisteria. Some of the tree frogs migrate to the pond in the evening and begin their calling from this clump so it is being used as intended. And yes, I deposit the filamentous algae onto the fence upon removal from the pond where is dries a light brown and remains for months. Why? I don’t know….why not?
Earlier shots of the ferns along the fence side soggy bed, before they suffered tip burn from my neglect:
The frogs are here consistently this year; I’ve spotted toads and the same Cope’s gray tree frog as I had hatch last year. There are a variety of tadpoles now (both in size and in species) as well as fresh deposits of eggs appearing on most mornings.
So overall I rank the “good news” as winning the day; I’ll try and deal with the sedges and be satisfied for now.
I’m continuing to make progress putting things back together in between normal (and late) high garden season preparations.
The blackberry trellis & netting scheme is done. Painting everything a dark color makes it invisible from the house and this pleases Mrs cohutt. There are hundreds of green berries safely ripening now. (A good thing.)
Also, I have one of the sheds almost back together; I had to remove the roof and repair the top (main) sill. It had split and amazingly I was able to pull it back together and clamp it and screw it back into one piece without removing it.
A view from above after the sill was repaired (you can see where it split to the left of my hand):
Done, or at least as done as it is going to be for now:
The ganglion fava beans plants have been providing us with a modest but steady supply of beans for the last 3 or so weeks. Given that we had not knowingly consumed them before, we weren’t sure what to expect and planting them was a modest leap of faith that we would like them.
Verdict: We do like them.
We’ve mostly been eating them steamed with a little salt on salads; they complemented the chopped raw “green” garlic also added to make for an interesting variant of spring greens.
This evening I picked a handful and tried something different:
The bean pods:
Inside, the beans in their sleeping bags:
“Sleeping bags” is a sort of lame description but basically the beans themselves are double wrapped; they are encased individually and then collectively share the larger pod.
The get to the tasty part, 2 or 3 minutes steamed softens and splits the cases to allow for removal:
Tonight I decided they would taste good sauteed with green garlic and a small shallot in olive oil:
After a few minutes over very low heat they seemed ready to top the pasta and with a little fresh Parmesan became dinner:
Or maybe not.
When any new brainchild of a garden “structure” is unveiled to mrs cohutt, there is some legitimate concern with the reception it will receive. She actually is quite supportive and hasn’t yet vetoed any of my “great ideas” after the fact, but one never knows.
So here are so-so smartphone pictures of the latest, the prototype bird netting frame for the blackberries (although it will be stained a dark grey/black help it blend in a bit better.)
I’ve had plenty of time to daydream up this design lately while watching the rain fall and the river rise.
1/2′ galvanized electric conduit is about half the price of 1″ PVC pipe these days (used for the hoop house) and obviously has half the profile as well. Conveniently 1/2″ conduit fits nicely into 3/4″ pvc pipe so I used that for the joints with a set screw applied to hold individual sections into their “sleeves”. Another convenience is that 1/2″ conduit slides snugly over 3/8″ re-bar, which I’ve driven into the soft ground as “anchors” for the vertical sections.
22′ long to cover the 16′ bed and new trellis posts
7- 7 1/2 feet tall
BTW, mrs cohutt granted her approval without hesitation so it stays for now.
This large piece of ceramic power line insulator was in the frog pond hidden by a clump of filamentous algae.
This blackberry plant has an enormous mutant leaf on it.
This leek scape is 6′ tall and still growing
This catwalk serves a purpose.
In a close up pictures of “soya” soybean sprouts breaking the surface, my soil looks like someone mixed gravel with wood chips.
I thought this was radicchio when I transplanted it to this spot; now I admit that I have no idea what it is.
This parsley really is quite tall, even if I am squatting low while taking this picture to make it look taller.
This peppermint is planning an escape from this bed. I just know it.
mrs cohutt approves of this picture.
Last night as I was perusing through Facebook, as one does, I came across a post on pending EU legislation that would make it illegal for seed to be sold that was'nt on an approved list. It would also be illegal to grow or swap seeds not on the list. Not always believing what I read on Facebook I did a bit of frantic follow up research and sadly I have to report that it's true.
I’m trying to add more color to the garden for mrs cohutt.
Even if I can’t remember the names of everything that is blooming these days, I thought I’d offer up some proof of progress in this area.
Japanese Roof Iris
Thyme’s micro flowers:
I forget, but it is tough, prolific and even grows in the cracks between patio bricks:
Uh, forgot this one’s name too
And this one too
To prove I haven’t forgotten the names of all of the flowers around my patio:
And blackberry flowers, a little past their prime lol
That’s all for now.