Gardening gone Wild!

The view from my kitchen window is wild! I see it often, as I stand at the counter in the kitchen a lot during the day (what mom doesn't, right?). I find myself looking out at the wilderness that is our garden and thinking it is both beautiful and amazing. Beautiful because it teems with life of all kinds. And I am sure this photo shows you why it is amazing . . . it is amazing that I can still find the edible things that are growing in it.

So much good stuff.

In this photo, you can see apple trees, pear trees, and an elderberry bush. You can see row and rows of salad greens, mustard greens, chard, and beets. Peas and beans are growing on trellising. A stand of pigweed (one of our favorite "weeds") stands toward the back of the photo. And there is plenty of onions and garlic to be found. All around the perimeter of the garden are raspberries and black berries. Ok. So maybe you can't SEE all of that exactly, but it is there, growing and doing very well.

The diversity you see in the photo serves us wonderfully. Asters and umbels act as insectories for beneficial insects. Nothing is grown in monoculture over a large area so as to discourage infestations. But by far the aspect of this garden that I most enjoy is the almost ceaseless birdsong.

We are visited by dozens of species of birds each year. Robins, orioles, yellow finches, yellow warblers, cat birds, mockingbirds, blue birds, tree swallows, and barn swallows are just a few of our guests. This year, a pair of brown thrashers nested in our plum grove and became quite cheeky with us, even though they are described in our Audobon guide as being shy birds (!?). We also attract a few cedar wax wings, though honestly I'm never thrilled to see them. But as an enthusiastic bird-lover, I am thrilled daily by all the sounds and flutters of assorted wings. And I think my condition is contagious, as our son Cyril spear-headed the building and installation of a new bird house this year. Plus, I've had more than one bird recuperating in a soup bowl this summer!

A robin. It stayed one night and then was returned to its parents the next morning. I love reunions! 

One plant we did not let "go wild" this year was our cucumbers. We have terrible problems with cucumber beetles every year. We think this is because they seem to be attracted to corn, which is planted in fields all around us. So we potted our cucumber plants this year, just in case we needed to move them under cover. So far, we've had no infestations of the dreaded cucumber beetles, but the plants have not been as hardy or as prolific. I'm still making sour dill pickles though, just in very small batches.

Averaging about 4 -6 cukes per week, and only a few plants. Not bad, really . . . 

Here is another feature I love . . . Ross planted this locust tree near our existing gate to eventually replace the fence post there. Look at how it has been interwoven into the fencing. I enjoy imagining how it will look someday . . . 

These last two picks are simply for the drool factor . . . enjoy! 

Black raspberries . . . Ross' favorite! 

October is going to be so delicious this year!