Babci’s Enchanted Garden

by Sandy L on July 11, 2011

Summer and Fall are my favorite times of year.  Each season has it’s own special something but I love when the bounty starts rolling in from the gardens this time of year.  Spring is full of new life after a cold winter but it is also full of work. You are weeding, mulching, transplanting, fertilizing.  By summer though, the fruits of your labor start showing.   This week, we picked our first raspberries and the currants are ripe and waiting to be picked.  We are having Polish night at Babci’s tonight to mark the occasion.  Every year we invite a group of friends come over to help pick berries for an hour and then get fed home made pierogies for dinner. It’s become a tradition and I love it.  My mom has about 10 currant bushes and normally berry picking is a very sucky all day chore.  With many hands comes less labor and instead of a long slog, we have a very enjoyable social event that lasts a few hours.  My non-gardening friends like the novelty of harvesting and they all leave fed and happy.  If they want they can take berries home or just wait for me to make my annual batch of jelly.  Since Babci grew up with 9 siblings, she loves the hustle and bustle of people at her home.  The more the merrier.

Urban vs Rural Garden

Raspberry Picking at Babci's

Babci has been telling me all about how much she loves her little garden here in town.  It is so different from her city garden.  Instead of fertilizing her garden with glass filled pigeon manure that my uncle shoveled up from under some bridge, she got a truckload of 10 year old horse manure from my friend’s farm.   Instead of pigeons and noisy grackles terrorizing her yard, she listens to songbirds in the morning.  Instead of listening to police sirens at night, she watches the fireflies.   When her tomatoes become ripe, instead of worrying about the neighborhood kids stealing them to have tomato fights with each other, she worries about giving them away fast enough so they will all get consumed.  Instead of worrying about what the neighbors are going to steal from her, she worries about what she will repay them with for mowing and snow blowing her yard.

She is really loving and appreciating this peaceful place she gets to call home.  It makes me happy that she is focusing on the positives and really enjoying life.  Sometimes she goes through phases when she can’t help but talk about all the bad things that have happened to her.  It’s much nicer when she focuses on the present and all that’s good in her life.

That's Babci's "don't take my photo" face

Her neighbors are great too.  Despite many of them being tattoo covered, they are also the first ones to come over after a storm and make sure she is okay.  They bring her lilies at Easter and some of them even poke fun at her.  For example, Babci has this little wheelchair she wheels out into her garden every day.  She uses it for breaks during her all day gardening sessions.  Sometimes she falls asleep and when she does, you know it. She’s a big snorer.   After one of her mid day naps in her wheelchair, one neighbor came over laughing.  She tried telling him she was only asleep for a few minutes, but he called her out on it and said she’d been out there sawing logs for 2 hours.   She had no idea she’d been out that long, shrugged her shoulders and started belly laughing with him.

 Caning Bunnies

Hooch Worthy Grapes

Her garden isn’t without it’s pests though.  She has a couple of bunnies that are eating her garden.  So far, their gourmet greens of choice are pole bean seedlings and beet greens.  Do you think they’d eat the mile of lettuce she planted instead? Of course not.  She’s now planted her 3rd round of pole beans and this big fat rabbit isn’t even shy about it’s intentions.  The other day it walked right up to my mom and started eating her garden right at her feet.  She was still mad about the pole beans and decided it needed to be a little more scared of her.  She  picked up her cane and whacked that bunny with all her might. Twenty years ago, I’m sure it would have been dead and flung straight across the yard like a golf ball, but now that she’s almost 80, she didn’t do much harm.  It did hop away scared but it came back the very next day. On the other hand, the second bunny that visits, she is totally in love with.  It’s just a baby and is still about the size of a large mouse. She wants to catch it and keep it as a pet for my kids.  We’ll see what elaborate traps she sets for it.

I hope all you other gardeners out there are having equally enchanting summers.  Here in the Northeast, it’s been super wet, so we’re battling all the fungus’s and mildew that comes from too much rain. Things are growing very slowly, plus we had wind storms and 2 hail storms that dropped a lot of the berries and fruit off the trees and bushes.  My mom dug out the last of her gooseberries because they got a kind of  black mold on them.  They will need to be put on the list of things to buy for next year.   I really wish we could swap some sun for rain with our southern neighbors who are having a big drought.  Have a great week.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kellen July 11, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Wow, I am jealous of Babci’s garden. When we had a vegetable garden in Massachusetts, we grew the easy things like squash and zucchini, but we didn’t have berry bushes or grapes!

Poor bunny! But they are such a menace to gardens… I guess Babci knows you have to fight for your food sometimes.


Sandy L July 12, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Kellen – the berries are the best part of the garden if you ask me because they are early to ripen vs having to wait til fall for most of the stuff.


Linda July 11, 2011 at 5:12 PM

I’ve had a really scaled back gardening year, so I’m quite envious. Up until very recently we were getting a lot of rain, too, but until today we were dry for over a week. (Today’s crazy storm only dropped 1/4-inch of rain, according to my gauge. So much bluster for such little gain!) But I should be back in the swing of things soon. I got my new coop this weekend and will get some fall chicks in September. Yay! Chicken manure is so great for the garden!


Sandy L July 12, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Linda – well Babci is retired and can spend all day in her yard. I would have a rockin garden too if I had many hours each day to baby it. For now, I’ll just have to live with my perennials and a few berry bushes.


Squirrelers July 11, 2011 at 7:34 PM

While I’m not a gardner at this point, here in suburbia, I do enjoy going out a couple of times a year to pick fruit. My favorite has been blueberries, which taste amazingly better fresh than they do at the store – even though they’re supposed to be “fresh” there too. So, when I read above about picking raspberries, that got my attention quickly.


Sandy L July 12, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Squirreler – here in New England the blueberries grow wild along the hilltops and roadsides. Many people hiking/blueberry picking around here.


101 Centavos July 12, 2011 at 8:18 AM

That soil looks just beautiful. The bunny got off easy with only a caning, rather merciful of Babci.
I pulled up the third squash plant over the weekend, after the squash bugs and the evil vine borers had their way with it. *&^%Q$!!
107 degrees yesterday, and the garden’s getting crisped. Send a little of that rain down our way.

(Babci’s don’t-you-dare face looks exactly like the one my Mom puts on in front of a camera)


Sandy L July 12, 2011 at 7:45 PM

101 – it’s funny how real gardeners notice the dirt first. We got lucky as this little plot used to have a garden on it for many years so it’s already been tilled and de-rocked and leveled. Babci also loves her manure. She still buys bags of it every year even though we dropped 2 tons on that spot when she moved in.


Lindy Mint July 12, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Wow, grapes! I’m not a gardener, but I’m always amazed at what others have done with theirs. It’s a lot of work, but it all seems so simple too.


Sandy L July 12, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Lindy – grapes are cool. It’s the first time my mom’s grown them since I was a child so I’m interested in how they come out this year. This is the first year they’re really bearing fruit. She planted them about 5 years ago. Takes a while for that kind of stuff to mature I guess.


retirebyforty July 13, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Great garden! Our condo has a community garden and it’s getting a slow start this year. We had a wet spring and early summer so most plants are still pretty small. We got a crop of snap peas though so that was good. Herbs are doing very well also – sage, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, etc…


exterior french doors July 14, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Wow Really nice garden, I have also a garden in my back yard.. All of theme are leafy vegetable, I like that garden because you plant a some grapes that i never had in my garden..


butcher block cutting board July 16, 2011 at 12:10 AM

Thanks Babci’s for the wonderful garden you’ve share. I really like your garden and what you’ve plant here.. I never had a garden in my house because i leave in a city and we have no back yard. The most i like in your garden is the grapes i love to eat grapes. Thanks really nice blog..


jobs in a school July 18, 2011 at 2:21 AM

Hello Babci,
Your garden look very nice, its really inspiring to us. Especially those people who really don’t know to some tips and technique of right gardening. I love of what your garden as what you’ve shown in here.. I don’t really have a garden like that. Can you tell me some secret technique of your gardening?


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