Years ago, I took a ukulele class at the Old Town School of Folk Music. I would start a song, with the class, pretty well but before the end of the song I was just miming along like I was still playing when I had really been out of my depth for a few minutes.
That’s what this summer was like for me. It started comfortably, a soft trickling of flutes, violins and piccolos that have now Boleroed into timpani and trombones and tubas that I can’t keep up with.
So good riddance, summer 2016. I’m going to start fresh next year and I’ll race you to the finish line. Take that.
Here were my top 10 favorite garden things this year:
- A 5 gallon bucket of sand with a beach umbrella stuck in it: I could move this apparatus anywhere in the yard for some shade to work under. It was a VERY HOT SUMMER, so this helped enough to actually get work done
- MAJOR DISCOVERY: I thought corn gluten was just good for preventing weed seed germination in lawns, but I used a ton of Healthy Grow Corn Gluten in my pea gravel patio and it COMPLETELY prevented the usual crabgrass invasion I deal with. It cut my weeding time down to a sneeze.
- Chipmunk inhibitor: You know how squirrels will pull your tomatoes off the vine, take one bite, then reject it and leave it to rot? Well, I think I’d prefer that over the chipmunks that will just eat the whole tomato. I tried curry powder, because I was out of chili powder, and it worked quite well. Then I ran out of curry powder. So I used wasabi powder. I feel like I’ve unlocked some sort of achievement badge in tomato retainment!
- Variegated Pineapple plants! Who knew? I didn’t. They combine my love of all things Hawaiian with all things variegated. I popped it in next to my front door and I get to admire it all the time. I wonder if it would grow variegated pineapples??
- Free municipal mulch: I’ve preached this to others for years, but only figured out how to do it for myself recently. It made my heart beat faster. I just called and they plopped it down in my driveway the next day.
- Compost at the front door: Aesthetically not the best choice, but for me it's practical and has me composting absolutely every scrap, no cheating. I started with one bin, now I'm up to 3. No apologies.
- Zero end rot: I always get end rot, you know, in my tomatoes but not this year thanks to Healthy Grow tomato formula. I used a ton of it and had the best tomatoes of my LIFE.
- Black Mustard puts on a show! I threw some seeds down in spring and was shocked at how awesome (and flipping tall! 5'!!) they came up... and everywhere. They ended up looking very architectural and are definitely keepers. I couldn't capture their awesomeness on film properly so you'll just have to take their word for it.
- Pipe Down! Dan gave me dormant pipe organ tubers this spring and I planted them. Look what came up!!
- Sensual Touch tulips were the BIGGEST surprise of 2016. I can't believe I can like a tulip this much. I mean, I don't like tulips, but these were INCREDIBLE and looked really great with masses of Brunnera. It looks like a painting at the Art Institute. Uh, the flower, not my planting.... The name is a little icky but the bloom definitely isn't.