The Birds Have Started Eating My Artichoke

The birds have started eating my artichoke plants. They have also eaten all the leaves off the beets, so it looks like a row of purple eggs laying on the ground. They are eating the Kohlrabi too but that’s ok because there are root maggots eating them also. Overwintering plants adds interest to an otherwise dismal time of year. Perennials are most appreciated in the winter garden as structure and points of interest. Perennial herb bushes are a great addition to any vegetable garden. Oregano has an abundance of small round dark green leaves, that are spaced tightly together, and it grows close to the ground. It looks especially good taking up room under a taller plant.. In the spring it produces so many tiny lavender blossoms that pollinators are constantly present. Rosemary gets four feet tall and has short pine needle like leaves. It’s thick woody stems attest to it’s hardiness, and cornflower blue blossoms to it’s delicacy. The gray eucalyptus like leaves of the sage are stunning in their simplicity, like silver minnows casting shadows.

The most colorful perennial in my winter garden is the Nandina. It’s displayed leaves of yellows, oranges, reds, golds, cranberries and purples since before Christmas. It also grows red berries and has colored stems that remind me of bamboo. A picture of it could be framed and appreciated as a work of art. They can get four feet tall so keeping them to the back of a vegetable garden is wise. The Red Hot Poker bush can get that tall also but has become one of my favorite garden plants. Having a shade spot in front of it where I can move my garden chair into has made me appreciate the fact that it’s flowers attract humming birds and dragonflies. I don’t have to sit for more than a minute to have them start entertaining me. Even when the flowers have gone the dragonflies continue to land on the stalks for the rest of the summer. Having hollyhocks near my shade spot let’s me enjoy the bumble bees. It amuses me the way they climb around in the flower getting all covered in yellow pollen. Kinda reminds me of a kid in a mud puddle 🙂

Kneeling in the warm sunshine, digging little holes for my transplants, I feel a presence next to me. I turn and see a bunch of gray hollyhock stalks. They look like a shadow. Indeed they are the shadow of their summer past, when they were all covered in flowers and pollinators. They are now covered in seed pods, so they really aren’t finished yet. Once they disperse their seeds it will be time for the dragonflies to start landing on them. I wonder how long I’ll leave them standing this year. Every year I enjoy them more. I also have the black dried stalks of Shasta Daisy’s that are producing new leaves at the base. Renewal of life at the ground and new life awaiting dispersal in the seed pods aloft. Why would l want to interfere with this process? The Asters have not been cut back yet either. They are a big brown blob with dried yellow flowers. Soon new plants will be coming up around the base of them. I guess I’ll cut them back when they start to interfere with the next generations growth.

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