- Posted By: Molly Wahl
- Written by: Molly Wahl, Master Gardener
I am writing this blog entry from my home in the Richmond Hills where I spend the year watching the sunset move up and down the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais from my front windows. I am an avid foodie and gardener which means that I am more than a little obsessed with growing edibles. As part of my never-ending quest to know as much as I possibly can about gardening, I became a Master Gardener. And as a result of that, I thought it would be fun to share my personal West County perspective on gardening with the world. So, here we are!
My garden is currently in full-blown flower mode. After some lovely late season rains we have had a couple of weeks of warm temperatures, the combination of which makes gardeners rub their hands together in joyful anticipation. Clarkias, poppies, flax, lupine, nigella, marigolds, and sweet peas paint a picture of oranges, pinks, blues, and purples. This is the season where it takes a serious emergency to get me out of my yard. I want to sleep on my chaise lounge surrounded by luscious blooms. I want to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner on my deck so that I can watch the bees, hummingbirds, and finches zip around. Reading, email correspondence, surfing the Internet--that’s what they made wireless networks for, right? So I could sit under my jasmine arbor and watch clouds float by as I wait for files to upload? Too bad I haven’t figured out a way to rig up a bathtub in my yard yet…
As you can see, I spend a lot of time in my little personal Eden. This gives me plenty of opportunity to notice the small dramas that play out in the micro-ecosystems of my yard. It has been fascinating to watch the regime changes that happen practically overnight on my fava beans and lupine plants--it is like watching a remake of Dynasty where all of the overblown actors have been cast as insects. It always begins with a happy, thriving plant with rich, green leaves and emerging flowers. Then, the very next day, the plant is covered in a thick, suffocating cloak of aphids. Just as I begin to hatch plans involving spray bottles and clippers, I notice that the aphids have company. Voracious lady bug larvae and soldier beetles are literally swarming all over my aphid plants (although for the lady bug larvae it is a very slow “swarming”). I also notice that there are many aphids that have been sucked dry by some sort of parasitic insect. Do I feel remorse or sadness upon viewing such a massacre? Do I compose eulogies and play “Taps” for all of the aphids who met their end in my garden? Goodness, no. I do a little jig of joy and thank Mother Nature for predatory insects. And then I pull up a seat to see who will be next on the green stage of my garden.