October Garden Scenes

This morning I stepped out onto my porch aerie and surveyed the world, or to be more precise, a small chunk of it along 14th Street. It was 50 degrees F. out there and the sky was cloudy. An intermittent chill breeze reminded me that we will be descending into the short days of winter before long.

I’d already eaten and revived my mind with strong coffee. I wondered how the remnants of the collaborative garden were doing. Easy to find out!

Before long I had donned a sweatshirt and was pedaling my bicycle the mile to the garden. For the first time this season the thought of gloves entered my mind. Thoreau’s term “finger cold” occurred to me.

Once at the garden I picked what might be the last of the eggplants from five-foot-tall plants which seemed to be wondering why they weren’t in their native semi-tropical habitat. I set the eggplants down near a late planting of leaf lettuce and kale. The kale impressed me with its vigor, as if it were saying, “This is my kind of weather!” Notice the little volunteer dill plant which, against all odds, has sprung up near the lettuce:

Here’s a closer look at a kale leaf, which had morning dewdrops adhering to its curled edges. I kneeled down and immersed myself in cool leafy observation:

My fellow gardener Jeff had tilled up a bean patch and seeded it to annual rye, a green manure plant. Deer footprints pockmarked the loamy and moist soil. I have few tender and sentimental feelings about deer; I try to resist thinking of them as large horned vermin. Two damaged vehicles and innumerable garden depredations over the years have jaundiced my feelings towards the species.

As an antidote to such negative thoughts I think back to the most memorable encounter I have ever had with a white-tailed deer. I was walking through an overgrown pasture one late-spring day many years ago. I saw an immobile form nestled in a clump of fescue grass intermingled with Tall Hairy Agrimony, Mountain Mint, and inconspicuous Self-Heal plants. I stopped and squatted down. A small fawn, its speckled coat looking like sun dapples filtered by overhanging leaves, pointedly looked away from me, instinctively knowing that predators notice the gleam of mammalian eyes. The fawn would not look my way, so I reached out and gently touched its back. The frightened creature could not take such familiarity; it “broke cover”, leaping to its unsteady feet and bounding away into thicker underbrush.

Vermin nevertheless!

Larry

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2 Comments

Filed under Photos, Plants, Quincy

2 responses to “October Garden Scenes

  1. Joan

    These photos are beautiful, Larry. Almost look good enough to eat. (Grin). Some of the leaves on these plants are as beautiful as flowers. Brentwood library in the past has planted ornamental cabbages; they are huge colorful things, which look like they came from the tropics.

    As for the deer subject, I guess it’s like Mr. McGregor’s cabbage patch. Peter rabbit was not all that popular with the farmers either. Can’t get used to something besides a rat being called vermin, however technically correct that might be. I’ll sure go along with major nuisance. I can only plant flowers that rabbits don’t like. Petunias must be in a tall planter or jacked up on bricks to keep the little critters out. They hate vinca and marigolds also…but have managed to gnaw the stem leaves off my struggling mums to the point where the plants look like flowered parasols.

    As for your fawn experience…it sounds rather dear, actually. 🙂 Not at all in keeping with your feeling that deer are vermin.

    He says that he considers deer another form of vermin
    Like rats and mice and squirrels and also rabbits.
    Of course these fuzzy animals keep all the farmers squirmin’
    Because of their intensive grazing habits.

    But yet, I have some doubts about his feeling towards one fawn
    Based on the story where he said he met him
    If he thought Bambi a vermin, and he really wished him gone
    Then why ever did he then attempt to pet him?

  2. Deer magically become verminous when they lose their spots, Joan! I have another story about a fawn, a bloodier and sadder one than the one I related above, which resulted in some meals which I called “beef” when my unsuspecting family asked, “What’s this?” I’ll relate the story one of these days…

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