Friday, July 6, 2012

redemption? maybe.

You possibly might remember the two-year-old-esque fit I pitched a month or so ago when my squash were murdered died. It was such a beautiful display of adult maturity, I'm sure all of my neighborhood will be recalling the memory with great fondness in the years to come. Right. Anyway, suffice it to say: I did not take the loss of my squash lightly.

I did, however, move on. A few days after their death, Matt and I engaged in a little garden-variety (literally) retail therapy and purchased lots of new plants to plant in their place and distract us from our loss for awhile. I mentioned that we planted okra and sweet potatoes in The Garden Formerly Known As The Squash Garden, and those guys are doing pretty well to date.
What I didn't mention, though, is that on that same little shopping spree, we purchased an apricot tree. See it in the picture above? It's the giant pot, and the trunk has a pink thing wrapped around it. Fruit trees just happened to be 50% off that day, so we thought...why not? Wouldn't it be cool to have an apricot tree? Of course it would. So we bought one and planted it in the backyard.

Matt (with some help from our neighbor's little brothers) is actually the one who planted it (I was digging up and replacing veggies, remember?), but he seemed to be following the established protocol of digging a really huge hole, putting the tree in, filling around the root ball with a mixture of tree soil and compost dirt from our pile, and covering with mulch. He did a good job, and in the month or so it's been planted, we've been regularly watering and monitoring the little guy, and expressing our desire for him (her?) to bear us lots of fruit next year. 

Shortly after planting the tree, we noticed some green leaves springing up through the mulch. Weeds, we sighed. Not unusual, since that's all we have growing in the backyard anyway. These didn't look like our normal weeds, but what else would shoot up so quickly through two feet of new soil and 4 inches of mulch? We ignored them for a few days.

After a week or two, we had a discussion about them. I personally thought they might be some kind of flower...the leaves just didn't look like any of our normal yard weeds, and I thought maybe there could have been some flower seeds (or something) mixed into the new soil or still active in our compost. At any rate, the leaves were getting larger and were quite pretty (and looked slightly familiar), so I wanted to leave them and let them grow a bit more to see if we could tell what they were. Matt disagreed, saying that it didn't matter what they were, they would be stealing water and nutrients from the apricot tree, and we should pull them. We compromised by pulling up the weeds from one half of the circle and leaving the ones on the other side to grow a bit longer.

Here's what we have today.

 Anyone want to argue that those are not squash? Because you would probably be wrong. 

I mean...does anyone else see the irony in this situation? I lose my mind (and practically my religion) over the death of my planted squash. I plant an apricot tree (among other things) to help me get over it. And next to the apricot tree, some squash magically start growing, despite no one planting any? I mean, I'm guessing there were some squash seeds or spores or cells or whatever, I'm not a plant biologist lingering in our compost, that somehow got called to life when we moved the compost to a sunny location and watered it frequently? (Note: there are no veggies showing yet, so it is equally likely that this could be zucchini, cucumbers, or cantaloupe-- all similarly-foliaged viney plants that have also succumbed to squash bugs/vine boring worms and been sent to the compost pile in the last few years)

I just have to laugh and shake my head. And try not to read too much into the situation...but that's hard, because I'm always looking for a redemption story. And this sorta smacks of one.  

And so these unplanned squash...obviously I'm not going to be pulling them up. Because even though I'm "over" the death of the previous squash, and I've resigned myself to buying them at the grocery store or farmer's market, and I'm not even that sad about the situation anymore...well, it doesn't mean I don't still want them. Just because I'm not chasing after them doesn't mean my heart didn't light up with joy when it occurred to me what is suddenly being given to me. And believe you me, I'm going to fight for these: squash bugs/vine boring worms, YOU WILL NOT BEST ME AGAIN!! Even though it's hard to get my hopes up again, after losing these plants to the same thing so many consecutive years in a row...these ones have the marks of being fighters. They came up against all odds, right? So I'm going to fight for them.

And actually, you can go ahead and read into this situation as much as you want to, because I know I sure am. While trying to keep my hope and expectations low, ya know. Because that doesn't hurt as much. But that blasted hope just keeps springing eternal...

Anyway. A few more flower pics on your way out the door:

Some zinnias and other randoms

Lima beans (in the pod, who knew?)!! And marigolds, which do their best to TAKE OVER my veggie gardens!

See what I mean? This bed has basil (can't see it in this picture), sweet potatoes, okra, limas, and FIVE THOUSAND MARIGOLDS, which come up year after year despite me doing nothing to encourage them. I like them because they attract good insects, but sheesh!! You can't see the veggies through the marigolds!

Baby knock-out roses in our new bed on the back of the house
Black-eyed susans

Black-eyed susans in the foreground, rose of sharon behind
 Have a happy Friday and a fantastic weekend!!


  1. I have hope for you too Erika. And for those squash (because that's what they gotta be!) too. They are tough. I've lost four or five plants to squirrels this week and I am totally feeling your loss of squash pain. In fact, I may have pitched a fit myself.

    And I was just out taking pictures of the flowers in my yard so I love seeing the ones in yours. I too am excited to see how things are growing and changing every day.

  2. Beautiful flower pictures!! :) I thought Marigolds were annuals? Lucky you that they come back year after year...I don't think ours will do that! Also, your black eyed susans make ours look like crap. They aren't opening up nicely. Any tips?

  3. Pretty flowers and pretty metaphor from a pretty girl!

  4. Pretty!

    My parents had a huge batch of cantaloupe magically spring up one year, theoretically from the compost. That was an exciting garden year!

  5. Marshall planted a variety of zinnias 2-3 years ago and they still pop up in our yard year after year. It also appears each batch grows larger than the previous ones. And he does nothing with them either!

  6. I love this. If you ever name your plants, maybe this one should be named "Hope."

    And I feel your pain where evil, vile, plant-murdering insects are concerned. Here we're dealing with Japanese beetles. When I see them on our raspberries and green beans and roses, it brings out my inner Incredible Hulk. ("You won't like me when I'm angry!")

    Crossing my fingers for your squash, and your very own redemption story :)

  7. I've been researching some plants trying to make a plan for our yard. Ohhhhh speaking of...I have some pics to post now too.

    We've been praying for a redemption story for you and Matt and expectantly waiting for your miracle. :)

  8. That's awesome about the squash. See? God is giving you something you thought was lost..there's a wonderful picture of His goodness.
    Here's a chart for companion planting which is supposed to help deter killer insects when you plant accordingly. It's worth a shot!


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