I’ve been thinking of Lloyd Bridges’ character in Airplane! lately. Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking/quit smoking/quit sniffing glue/quit amphetamines/start a gardening blog!
Honestly, I can’t remember a summer in the past 20 years that has been less hospitable for gardening. First it was the mosquitoes. Then it was the torrential rains that left much of my yard a swamp, thus generating even more mosquitoes. Then it was the invasion of pesky little taupe-colored moths, which flushed from the grass and shrubbery at the slightest touch. Then it was the Invasion of the Monster Insects. I’ve spotted a 4-inch praying mantis (I know it’s harmless, but yeesh), some enormous winged insects hanging out menacingly in the driveway (the kind of thing waaay too big to step on), and other unidentified beastly hard-shelled things stuck in spiderwebs. The anthills in the backyard have multiplied and spread alarmingly. Friend of TT Vickie suggests blasting the hills with malathion, but I just can’t go there.
Our yard service guys say they can take care of all this for a couple hundred bucks. But we’ve gotten this far into summer; I can’t see us dropping that kind of change. It’s not like we entertain in the backyard on a regular basis. And if we had that kind of spare cash lying around, I’d put it toward repairing something we could appreciate year-round, like ripping out the water-damaged wallpaper in the master bedroom and patching up the drywall underneath it.
The mosquitoes show no signs whatsoever of giving us a break. We’re loath to use a lot of chemicals around here, but even my husband had enough when he had to fight his way through a cloud of skeeters to get from his car to our front door, a trip of perhaps a dozen steps. He grabbed a can of repellent we hadn’t used since our elder son’s graduation party in 2009 and went nuts. I couldn’t blame him.
The only gardening chore I’ve been able to manage in these godawful conditions is keeping the pots of annuals watered, and even that requires a lot of breath-holding and/or chuffing air out through my nose to keep mosquitoes from flying up my nostrils. Watering takes maybe 10 minutes, and that is just about precisely how long I can stand to be outside in my own damn yard.
These Cambodia-like conditions have everything growing like crazy, of course, including the weeds. The bed I cleaned out for transplanted hostas and daylilies under the apple tree last year is now sporting knee-high junk that needs to go, but it’s also in the wettest part of the garden, where the skeeters are at their most bloodthirsty. I’m hoping for a cold snap that kills the little varmints so I can get something accomplished out there before the snow flies.