Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Triumphs and Tragedies

I'm leaving on a trip this week so this is one last look at the garden before I go.  Thankfully my partner Jody will be at home to manage the cats and water my plants while I'm gone but it pains me that I will miss those first ripening tomatoes.  So let's take a walk and see what's up and what's down and dream about what we can look forward to when I come back.

The garden is attracting more and more wildlife each day.  It is such a treat to see new insects and wildlife and know that they are here because we allowed the weeds to grow and planted new vegetation for them to thrive in.

A pair of grey partridge arrived on the scene last week.

Waltzing through the orchard and into my flower bed.  After searching on the internet I found that these birds are not native but rather were imported to the island in the 1920's for hunting.  Apparently sportsmen travelled here strictly to hunt partridge.  Today a small population has survived and here they are in my garden.  The downside was we had to chase them away as the feline hunters in our house decided wild chicken would make a perfect addition to the dinner menu.

Another recent sighting was this butterfly.

A group of these butterflies have been making themselves at home in my 'herb garden'.  I use the term herb garden quite loosely as the area, along with herbs, contains peppers and beans and a whole lot of weeds. After many tries I finally snapped a couple shots of these winged beauties and was able to search for them on the internet.  It turns out they are a native butterfly called a Common Wood Nymph.  PEI is the furthest north they are found.  They feed on butterfly weed, thistles, red clover and black eyed susans.  I guess we can add oregano to that list because that seems to be where they constantly hover in my garden.

Tragically none of the tomatoes have ripened yet which is frustrating as I expect they will ripen while I'm away.  Jody has promised they won't go to waste but I'll miss seeing them turn from green to red (or yellow or purple as the case may be).  Another issue, I found these tomatoes in the garden this week.

Only one variety, German Gold, has been affected which is good but this is rather frustrating just the same.  I think it may just be cracking as we've had awful dry weather for some time now and then a sudden rain.  I hope this isn't a trend though.

Elsewhere in the veggie garden the zucchini plants are puking out zucchini's as fast as I can blink.  I knew it was a mistake when I did it but it's been hardwired into my brain now - no planting more than one zucchini plant per year!

Garlic has been pulled and hung out to dry.  The leaves had begun to yellow and wither so it was time to pull up and dust them off.  It looks like we'll have more than enough to last us through the winter yet again.

I checked the cucumbers this evening and what did I find - Triumph!  Hiding under those big leaves was this beauty.

My very first cucumber ever.  And boy it was tasty.

We've also had some tragedy and triumph in the feline world.  Funnyface has been limping around and losing weight over the past month or so and we've been quite worried about him.  Attempts to catch him and take him for treatment were unsuccessful until this last week.

Although he looks sweet, he is at heart a feral kitty.  Putting him in a carrier is a not a battle for the faint of heart.  I have puncture wounds on my arm.  The good news is no terminal illnesses were found.  Because it is so difficult to trap the feral cats (not to mention traumatic for them) and bring them to a vet they have not had vaccinations so serious illness was a real concern.  An examination revealed he has an infection on his paws that is causing some discomfort so we're giving him antibiotics now and hopefully that will fix any issues he is having.

Another triumph - we're having puppies!  well not those kind of puppies, the cats wouldn't approve.

I did my rounds of watering houseplants and found little green shoots coming up around the aloe plant.  I'm going to have to do some transplanting of these pups into their own pots when I get back home.

In the flower garden a new wave of blooms has swept in.  The late summer flowers are beginning to strut their stuff telling us the end is near.  Echinacea, rudbeckia, hydrangea, dahlias and sea holly all mark the last half of summer in my garden.

Pow Wow White Echinacea

Ruby Star Echinacea

The Rudbeckia laciniata 'Golden Glow' has reached tremendous heights this year.

I stand 5 foot 6 inches and this plant is towering over my head.  I purchased some extra staking for the rudbeckia this year which has helped keep it upright but the storms of August are looming near and I had to take a picture before it inevitably gets knocked to the ground.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer wherever they may be and I look forward to visiting all of your blogs on my return.


  1. Enjoy your time away..the weather has been fantastic 'out there'. Expect that's where you are headed. Such a great time to be away really, if I were going..this would be the time. Jody can manage all that is growing, I am sure of it. Heh..you will return to tomato land or almost tomato land. Good journey.

    Sorry about the German Gold (my seeds?)...hadn't seen that before so, it must be weather as you thought.

    1. Hi Brenda, you're right I'm headed west. It will be a luxury to have some time away from work and home and see some long lost friends. It was the german gold seeds you sent, I have two of those planted. I really should have watered while it was so dry so partly my own fault.

  2. Sigh.... I love your garden, just love it.
    We are heading to NS and PEI next week. NS first then we should be in PEI around the 15th or so. Have plans for the evening of the 16th and gig the 18th but would love the chance to see you if at all possible.

    1. Johanna, we may see each other yet. I'm actually back on the 13th and have been hoping to hook up with the ladies - Kim, Michelle, Jane and yourself. I had thought I would miss any get togethers but maybe we'll manage? I'll be in touch when I return.

  3. Great Triumphs! I loved seeing the grey partridges, very cool. Your tall Rudbeckia is a favorite of Goldfinches! I had it in Virginia and it was covered with the finches.
    Hope your kitty is ok. It is hard when they aren't well and you don't know what is wrong.

    1. Janet, thank you, it was very stressful not knowing what was wrong with the cat and a hard decision whether to leave him cope on his own or risk him being injured while trying to catch him to bring him to a vet. I'm so glad it all worked out and that we have such great vets. It takes a load of worry off my mind. The gold finches like the rudbeckia! wonderful, the thistles have stopped blooming so hopefully this will give them something new to snack on.

  4. Have a great time on your trip. With these photos you can remember how the garden was when you departed. When you get home all will look so lush and different. Partridges in your garden?! What a treat. You will be singing the first of the christmas song "...and a partridge in a pear tree". How is that as an ear worm for the day. ;)

    1. Lisa, the first thing that popped in my head when I realized what kind of birds they were was that song. Just can't help it! :)

  5. I always love your triumphs and tragedies, and find that I do a mental list of triumphs and tragedies now when I walk my garden. . . you've got me thinking that way!

    I agree with Lisa, you need a pear tree for your partridges.

    Have a good trip.

    1. LOL, what a funny legacy. I find it's good though to remember both sides of the garden. The tragedies help me learn (much like your Goops) and the triumphs are something to celebrate that went right.

  6. safe and enjoyable trip Marguerite,
    sorry to hear funny face is unwell but glad something can be done to help, yes cats in cat boxes not easy!!! I hope the vet survived,
    it is lovely seeing new creatures liking our gardens, I also see new (to me) butterflies in my garden but couldn't get a photo they are too quick, when I looked them up they and their larve feed on grasses which pleased me another reason to like the flowering grasses and let them grow,
    a shame about your tomato, I have read that if they get too much water to quick they can swell and split, they look like large tomatoes too, your other produce looks good and yummy,
    beautiful blooms and yes a bit sad, time/summertime goes so fast, I notice the nights drawing in now, getting dark just after 10pm instead of 11pm, I always feel a tinge of sadness with the summer solstice as it's the turning point, Frances

    1. Thank you Frances. We are so lucky to have great vets that know how to deal with wild kitties. A sedative and a muzzle help keep them safe from injuring themselves or others. I have such a hard time photographing butterflies as well, not sure how others capture such good photos. They don't sit still for long at all. I read the same about tomatoes cracking and it makes sense as it was very dry here and then a quick rain would have caused the swelling and splitting.

  7. My goodness Marguerite girl you have way more triumphs than tragedies here girl!
    I laughed so much when you worded the puking of a certain vegetable .. too funny .. an automatic picture of the pumpkin puking seeds out came to mind .. there goes my mind anyways ?
    I am so happy Mr. Feral Puss is going to be alright .. and I can well imagine the trauma of you all with trying to get him in the carrier ... scary stuff that has to be done.
    I hope Jody swears to look after your tomatoes !! and that cucumber is .. was ? a winner for sure !
    Love the rudbeckia .. I have Herbstonne but it doesn't quite get that high ... yet ?
    Have a great vacation girl !
    We will all be here when you get back ... that is if you don't run away with that lottery money ??? hahaha

  8. The Rudbeckia is TALL. I am shocked by how tall.

  9. Before I forget, have a great trip. I am a woman of a certain age you know...lol.

    Poor kitty, I am so glad that you found a solution to his problems, I am assuming he's a he. It's wonderful that the feral cats have a person to look after them, sorry about the puncture wounds...

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  10. That cuke sure looks tasty; unfortunately, that tomato doesn't.

  11. I hope your tomatoes improve. It's so irritating when they misbehave and do weird things when they should be on a straight path to your stomach. That is A LOT of rudbeckia! LOVE the partridges. I'd never seen one before that wasn't on a Christmas card.

  12. Enjoy your trip Marguerite - it's great that Jody will be able to eat up your tomatoes! I have great memories of eating toasted tomato sandwiches morning, noon and night during tomato season when I was a kid!
    We have some unidentified wild fowl living in our hedgerow - I've seen them twice crossing our laneway with several little ones in tow. I haven't been able to get close enough for photos or identification but the person who sold us our house told me there were quail in our forest. Haven't been able to confirm if they are indeed quail or some other wild bird but at least I know they are healthy and multiplying :)

  13. Hi Marguerite, I hope that you are having a wonderful trip. I think it is great that the grey partridge somehow outsmarted the hunters and have taken permanent residence. Glad that Funnyface has no life threatening illness. I would love to have a garden bed with nothing but tall plants like your rudbeckia. Hope yours stays upright!

  14. I'm sure you are having a great trip :) I've never seen Rudbeckia grow so tall.

  15. Hi Marguerite,sorry you will miss your tomatoes, but hey, your garden is looking great, so wonderful to be attracting more wildlife, and those echinacea look beautiful. Glad your moggy is not badly ill, sure he will soon be up to full strength again.