Sunflowers, Hell’s Kitchen and Just What, will the Neighbors Say?

If you recall, I planted mammoth sunflowers a couple weeks ago next to the north side of the western wall in hopes they will provide some shading relief against the July/August sun.   They are coming along nicely and hopefully, will keep the kitchen from feeling like a furnace from 3 to 8 pm each day here in a month or so.

Lookin' good - get tall, fast - okay?
Lookin’ good – get tall, fast – okay?

The summer is heating up and while my little 100 year-old home is comfy for the most part, the west side consists of an ‘added on’ kitchen area and obviously does not have the roof or wall insulation the main structure was blessed with.  Which means in the late afternoon, I officially own “Hell’s Kitchen”.

This is not an issue if nighttime temperatures cooperate – I have four fans and strategically move them from window to window throughout the day, dependent upon the sun’s location.

I have shades and insulated curtains and what not, but there is just no getting around the late afternoon hell fire.

Perhaps I haven’t been as good as I thought I was…

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The southern portion of the western wall infrastructure for rain drain-off is complete and all that’s left is creating the sloped bed, mulching and planting my kitchen herb garden. (or at least a portion of it.)

Ready to build kitchen herb garden
Ready to build kitchen herb garden

The southern perimeter tire fence is now on tier 3.   By end of July, I shall have the southern portion of my ‘kitchen garden’ enclosed and will actually be able to start planting some things.

A slow process, but Oh! so worth it!
A slow process, but Oh! so worth it!

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I’ve not yet set up any drip/micro irrigation, as I haven’t completely fleshed out just exactly where I want my middle row beds to be.   THE PLAN has changed so much since it’s inception – the discoveries of rhubarb, irises, poppies and such have meant re-working where I will put what.

And so, every third morning, I water the little spots that are considered “done” and dream of the day when my irrigation will turn on at 5:00 and shut off at 6:00, once a week.

There are those that disagree with my thoughts regarding watering.   I like to deep soak with long periods in between watering.   I read once that vegetables from plants that had ‘suffered’ a bit packed more nutrition than those who had each and every need met in a controlled environment.

Makes sense.   People who’ve been knocked about a bit by Life are generally stronger than those who haven’t – so why not plants, as well?

To that end, I don’t usually baby my plants.   I supplement water when there is no rain.   I try to learn as much as I can about them and companions they like, so they are planted where they’ll feel at home.

And then I wait and see… Either they like it here without a lot of fuss, or I’m looking for something else – something that likes living where I do…

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I will admit to a certain prejudice in my watering values.   I just can’t stand investing time/energy in an irrigation system that takes care of the beautiful, but inedible.

Translation: Flowerbeds and lawns.  This doesn’t keep me from planning for flowers or lawn-like areas, I just am more picky about what I plant.  Every plant that is scheduled for my little slice of earth serves dual or more purposes – perhaps it’s good for seasoning, has a pretty bloom or lures destructive insects away from one of it’s more frail neighbors.

Some have deep roots that will aide in soil conservation and bring trace minerals up to the surface for everyone else in the plot to enjoy.

Others will protect the northern wall from winter winds, keep the soil rich and fertile and scent evening breezes with the smells that bring peace to the soul.

A variety of choices will be planted purely because bees, butterflies and birds love and depend upon them.     My house is surrounded by nesting trees for many types of birds – I even got to watch the young during their flying lessons a few weeks ago.

I’m hoping eventually, I’ll have enough berries the birds will feel generous and share with me…

I will admit to a certain frustration in just what, exactly, I shall plant in the top, exterior tier of the tire beds that will grow and trail to cover the black ugliness behind and bear pretty edible flowers and/or fruit, as well as shade the interior beds from getting too hot during summer months.

I must admit to being somewhat swayed by public opinion in my search for just the right plants.   Currently, another town resident is being called in to justify and explain his creative use of pallets around his place.

Apparently, there is a general outcry about the state of his place.   I confess to not knowing much other than the public notice of a town meeting to discuss the matter.  I drove by his place the other day.  Yes, it’s not all uniform.  It actually reminds me of modern art, with all it’s spires and uneven sprawling geometry, but what do I know?

He has, in my opinion,  ingeniously put the pallets to use and he has painted them in various shades of tan, brown, light and dark greens.    Once, I observed him carefully clipping, by hand, the weeds that were growing next to one of the pallet walls – his green areas look neat and prosperous, so why the big uproar?  Because his place doesn’t look like this:

Manicured Perfection
Manicured Perfection

And so, I still search for a trailing vine that will quickly cover the exterior of the fence, is not a noxious, invasive weed and will provide some food for either humans or my local wild neighbors…

However, I’m starting to think the manicured-estate residents will just have to live with some bare tire patches for a season or two – – I have plenty of options if only I don’t insist the entire tire wall be hidden from the view of looky-looers this year.

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Why do I tell you all of this?   Because I’m somewhat chagrined to find myself a water snob – I’m rather frustrated with my place being on the local Sunday drive tour, entitled, “What’s she doing with all those tires” by those who have lived in the same place for 20 years and hire someone to keep their sod lawn and flower bed looking pretty – as well as those who choose to run their wide-arc sprinkler around noon every day, probably because they get great satisfaction out of watering the air.

Perhaps because it’s hot, I’m in a churlish mood and living in town is getting me down…

But mostly, I tell you what my garden will look like in the next two or three years, because it helps to keep me in better spirits and motivated through this long and tiring infrastructure phase – a phase accompanied by plenty of Poohs and Pahs from the local peanut gallery…

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12 thoughts on “Sunflowers, Hell’s Kitchen and Just What, will the Neighbors Say?”

        1. Okay, I have to ask – do you ever sleep? No matter what time of day I respond to comments, seems like you’re always right here – – LOL

          Like

        2. It’s 10:46pm, Friday night, here – I just got home after a day of escaping Helll’s Kitchen, so I could run all over Hell’s back 40 doing kind deeds and errands for others –
          Which means my house was closed up all afternoon and it’s too hot to sleep! LOL
          So exciting! Time travel for both of us! LOL

          Like

    1. That’s on the list of ‘probables’ but I haven’t finished researching – – it seems like it’s an ‘invasive’ species if you live where there’s plenty of moisture, but a perfect grower in hot/dry – just wanted to read a bit more before I committed! While I’m committed to my gardening project, I also have to be realistic about how much I can do each season (like keeping vines at bay that can engulf my entire house in a season!)

      LOL
      I really liked the looks of the Hardy Kiwi, but after looking at several pictures/reading, think that will need to go near the northern wall instead.

      Like

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