It took two 32 ounce spray bottles full of diluted neem oil and part of a third but I appear to have prevailed over the odious squadrons of cucumber beetles that were devouring this impulse purchase Datura. This plant and many others featured in these posts (such as the fuchsia at the top of this post) are in the mix via Select Seeds' annual plant sale in early May. Thought the Datura would be lovely to grow right next to the only accessible remaining A. angelica. You know - that contemplative sun and moon thing again plus other contemplations based on Datura's lateral growth structure that I'll save for another time.
Am glad I have a large bottle of neem oil for many reasons but in this particular case that stuff's been quite essential. Felt terrible that I had ushered a lovely and lively seedling into a life of hell. Made some baffles as I was taught during that Hilltop Orchard summer and also instinctively placed a chunk of black tourmaline at the base of her stem. Now thanks to so many consecutive rain storms washing everything away - she is coming into strength and a wealth of lateral branchlets. The beetles appear to be in a lulling phase. I keep the spray bottle in my tool caddy during morning chore rounds all the same.
Yesterday I finally set up my scavenged silvery shallow bird bath in the field garden. It's diagonally opposite where I planned to put it but that's because I noticed the blue and golden warblers and carolina wrens are always in this quadrant of the enclosure when I come out for evening watering time. This corner is at the edge of the tomato patch. The plants are very tall and loaded with fruit. The blush oblong shaped cherry tomatoes will be on the table by this time next week.
now the garden feels like home. This Italian protest flag was everywhere the year we visited T during his h.s. junior year winter break in the run-up to g.w.'s declaration of war. I was very sorry I'd never tracked one down to purchase while we were there but T. brought one as a gift when he returned that May. Yesterday I ran steel wire through the rod pocket and twisted it firmly in place with the wire fence. This stability allows the flag to billow and swoop with every little breeze. It's a much better spot than it's former home on the back edges of the dog run attached to our garage.
fruit of the earth: in addition to the volunteer delicata vines we also have a vigorous zucchini and a cucumber vine. Beans coming up - quite late from how I learned but one of our CSA friends swears by going for a heavy yield from a later crop for the best keepers especially if you combine with other ingredients in canning and freezing. Guess we'll see how that goes for us. Got a variety pack and sorted them to plant in blocks so I can evaluate what we like best, etc. They are bush beans so I could save the fence in that quadrant for morning glorious vines. Whatever variety has pale mint green seeds has emerged without exception. Quite strong and deep rich green color to the leaves. Without the fence they wouldn't exist by now. J did a beautiful job turning and amending the soil in this bean patch as well as the three smaller patches he prepared so I could at long last get all of the Tulsi in the ground. Am done with that just as the herbal harvest picks up speed and volume.
now micro harvesting: anise hyssop flower buds, calendula flowers, prunella flowers, various mints.
Morning fresh-picked tea usually contains a borage flower, small sprig of dill, pinched-back tulsi flower head mostly in bloom. Sometimes I add a prunella flowerhead if my kidneys feel undernourished and/or energetically murky.
unpleasant reality check: last night there were a LOT of helicopters. 8 at least coming in two groups of three and later in the wee hours five more just in these seemingly endless line of noise and motion. Loud with military silhouette and flying far lower than they needed to be. Nothing like anything in the past. Ever.