Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rip Van Winkled

Last week I stepped outside and for a moment I wasn't sure what month it was. As I huddled beneath my umbrella in the rain, the cool, damp air certainly felt like spring, but strangely the garden told a different story. Roses and Alliums blooming in mid-May? Peonies already shedding their petals? As I write this post, I can smell the vase of freshly cut tea roses on my kitchen table yet it isn't even Memorial Day. Perhaps I should re-write an old adage. "Better early than never" seems a more fitting commentary on the state of my garden this year.
After a frighteningly dry start to the growing season, I have welcomed the recent rainfall. While last month I resorted to running my sprinklers in an effort to stave off what seemed like an impending disaster, the truth is that no amount of irrigation can replace a week of steady rain.
The only downside to all the rain is the proliferation of snails that continue to chew their way through my garden. Not to beat a dead horse, but yes the snail infestation continues unabated. In an effort to slow their rampage I purchased three Guinea hens, which promptly flew away, and a group of adorable white ducks. Sadly, along with my two roosters, the ducks fell victim to a marauding predator. I try not to become emotionally attached to my barnyard fowl, but it's a bit demoralizing to be left with nothing but a trail of white feathers.
I've yet to discover what local carnivore feasted on my feathered friends, but it seems to have also dispatched the groundhog that was living in my field, which is at least some small consolation. Given the choice, I guess I'd rather wage war on snails than groundhogs. And so despite my efforts and various home remedies, including a mixture of ammonia and water, the battle continues with no sign of a ceasefire in sight. I've finally resigned myself to spending a good half-hour twice a day plucking snails by hand and crushing them underfoot.
On a brighter note, it seems to be a good year for clematis. The double white variety that I'm training into one of my yew columns is loaded with flowers.
And I must say that despite the snails and the vagaries of the weather the garden is looking lovely...if I do say so myself.