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Fantasy – And Reality

Greenfield Farmers Market

Saturday I went into Greenfield to buy plants at the Greenfield Garden Club Plant sale, but also stopped at the Greenfield Farmers Market to buy beautiful lettuce from The Kitchen Garden for Gourmet Club, and I bought a pot of beautiful double white petunias from LaSalles.

Shoestring Farm Booth

The Farmers Market was full of vegetable starts, flats of annual seedlings, as well as the first greens of the season and huge bouquets of peonies from Hadley where spring has sprung to a greater degree than in Heath. Strolling among the Farmers Market booths my head is filled with fantasy visions of my own garden, equally productive and beautiful.

Shed Bed

When I got home I had to face the reality that I am still weeding and planting madly – and it is not a pretty sight. Some creature is daintily nibbling at the lettuce in the new Front Garden. That will require further investigation and thought.  Somehow the Shed Bed of Roses, next to the henhouse, is incredibly full of weeds and grass this spring. I hadn’t made even one pass through when daughter Diane arrived on Sunday afternoon for  a short visit. I immediately showed her the Shed Bed and we set to. She is such a cooperative and energetic daughter.  I got to use my fabulous West Country Rose Gloves to prune and hold roses out of the way while Diane dug out grass and weeds.  We noticed that the rose Mrs. Doreen Pike, a low rugosa with bright green foliage and pretty very double little blossoms, who had sent runners toward the back of the bed, had totally disappeared to the back of the bed leaving a big empty spot in the front. What to do?  And how to handle that empty spot considering the location of the bed next to the henhouse?

Chickens! There is a fenced chicken yard, but a few adventurous birds  routinely fly the coop for a day eating grass and bugs and taking ‘dust’ baths in the cultivated soil of the Shed Bed. Since I fear the dread ‘rose disease’ that spells certain doom for any rose planted where a rose lived before (at least for a couple of years) one solution to that empty space is a patch of annuals. Not good design, but functional. The problem is those chickens and their dust baths. I’m wondering if I can make a kind of cage out of chicken wire to put over the annual seedlings. The chickens won’t be able to dig them up and the annuals (maybe cosmos?) will grow up through the cage and pretty much hide it. It’s my only idea so far. What do you think?

2 comments to Fantasy – And Reality

  • Carol Lively

    Hi Pat,
    I love my chickens too, but they pretty much undo a lot of what I do in the garden….forget about edging and mulching the perennial beds they scratch and pick and throw it all over the lawn…..I would rake it back in and they would toss it out again….too funny….I planted 3 rows of cucumbers to climb up on old hog panels, and I got a phone call before I had fenced it in, and a few hens ate all the cucumber seeds I planted! Now everything is fenced off with ugly orange plastic snow fencing….it is quite ugly, but the price was right when Yankee was throwing it away! Wish I grabbed a few more roles. Have you heard about the book Gardening with Guineas? apparently they will eat bugs etc but not harm your plants…we had 3 last year….they didn’t harm the plants, but they were kind of a nuisance…noisy and mean…..the chickens are more work, but they are nicer. Carol

  • Pat

    Carol – Someone was asking where to get Guineas. He thought they were pretty – and good bug eaters. I knew both of those things (but not where to get them locally) but I didn’t know they were mean. Good info!

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