Potatoes, Peanuts, and Pippin

Patriotic potatoes 2015Well, the potatoes were a disappointment. Not because I didn’t get any. I actually harvested about the same amount as last year, but this year, I expected more.

Unmet expectations have wreaked havoc on my normally ebullient, Pollyanna optimism. What last year I considered an abundant harvest, this year I consider to be the Great Russo Potato Famine of 2015.

I planted them in these magic boxes that were designed to give me more potatoes than I could shake a stick at.

BLOG July 19 May potato bins of hope

Potatoes June 2015

BLOG July 19 potato plants from the side

What I got were the same amount of potatoes I’ve always yielded, but with longer stems. I imagined walking up and down my street overloaded with potatoes and handing them out to all my neighbors like it was Christmas in July. Instead, I’ve had to be stingy and keep my little darlings to myself, slamming doors shut and yanking down shades when neighbors walk by, lest they covet what few potatoes I’ve been able to harvest.

To overcome this toxicity of spirit, I have transferred all my hopes and dreams to these guys, my little peanuts:

BLOG July 19 peanuts

They are literally my peanuts.

I bought the seeds at the Flower Show in February, back when Snowmageddon covered the land. I paid for the peanuts with hope in my heart and faith in the words of the seed-seller: Peanuts can grow in New England.

Pippin on deck 2Pippin ate most of them on a cold day in spring when I left them unattended high on a shelf where I thought they’d be safe from her ravenous fatness, but luckily, she spared a few, and I planted them when the ground thawed.

I have hope that my peanuts will bring me out of the toxic despair triggered by the Great Russo Potato Famine of 2015. The only thing that cures the hopelessness of unmet expectations is the triumph of exceeding low expectations.  Sure, the lady told me peanuts can grow in New England, but no one really believes it. If it turns out to be true, all faith in gardening will be restored to me. If not, well, I just can’t even . . .

BLOG July 19 MarigoldIt’s this guy that brings me my wobbly faith. This is the marigold voted Least Likely to Succeed. He was a straggly little thing, overwhelmed by his robust marigold brethren, but I planted him anyway, and to my delight, he actually bloomed. Sigh. Go, little marigold, go.

Side note: Twinky Winky, the persecuted purple potato plant was, unexpectedly, the most prolific. So, maybe there is hope for the peanuts.

BLOG July 19 potatoes in the pan

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Work Continues on the Garden of Envy

Joe went away with the boys last weekend and left me alone with a pile of rocks. It was among the most thoughtful things he’s ever done for me.

BLOG more stones

Gift of rocks

While the boys were in Maine eating lobster and drinking beer (root beer for the younger crowd) and watching the Portland Sea Dogs, I spent a delightful day of solitude in my woodland garden. (Elsie had to work, but she checked on me when she got home and tossed bottles of water over the fence to me upon request. It’s a family of truly thoughtful types, I have.)

BLOG the dock

First, I spread the flat stones around my vernal pool, which had always existed, but needed a little clearing out. The muck-shoveling stage was completed last week, and now we just needed to be able to walk around it without falling in. The flat stones are doing an excellent job. I haven’t fallen in once. As far as I know, no one else has, either.

BLOG better dock

BLOG birdbath on dock

I also dragged down a platform that used to hold our grill but now makes a perfect little dock. The dock provides an excellent vantage point to watch tiny frogs FLIP OUT whenever a human comes near. Frogs are nervous creatures, I’ve come to discover.

A place to sit

BLOG vernal pool at dusk

I also brought down chairs and benches and tables so there is always a place to sit and read or contemplate nature with a drink and a can of bug spray. (Please, don’t misunderstand, the bug spray is not to consume. That would be silly. But where there are frogs, there are mosquitoes. It’s the natural order of things, and one must be prepared.)

BLOG gnome

But what woodland garden is complete without fairies and gnomes?  I mean, the chance to gnomify is the reason I started working on this woodland garden to begin with. And so now, I have these:

BLOG fairies

Zen frog 2

My woodland garden is still very much a work in progress, but if you need me, this is where I’ll be:

BLOG wg walkways

BLOG white flowers on bridge

BLOG wg bench