Going into August, I imagined that every new horticultural treat had already popped up and I had run the gamut of gardening surprises.  Not so.  Just yesterday while in the back of the garage, digging up my Black Gold Good Feng Shui compost, I saw something that looked like jeweled grapes on a large shrub intermingled with the lilac hedge.  So beautiful, especially with the sun shining through the branches and now I am at a loss, even after picking my way through various shrub/berries web sites.  Help!  Any thoughts? Marlene, Susan, Barbara? Anyone?

And there’s more.  Another large shrub – again among the lilacs – also has red berries, but redder and smaller like a current and sprinkled throughout the branches rather than in a cluster.   Again – new to me.  One would think the birds would be in heaven, but as yet I haven’t seen any having a snack in either locale. But they’re quick.



The tomatoes have been a new and frustrating experience, and this after my cockiness from last year’s splendid crop.  In other words – they have blossom rot!  Not a pretty sight.


I felt somewhat off the personal responsibility hook when a front page article in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune this morning devoted sufficient space  to bemoaning the “tomato problem” in the mid-west.  It seems it was at first too cold and rainy and is now too hot (and rainy) and the on-again, off-again moisture schizophrenia  is simply too much to produce the usually great Minnesota tomato.  But I have to also own up to my own personal failure.  I used my favorite formula when planting Juliet, Golden Jubilee  and Big Beef – by sprinkling bone meal and placing two aspiran tablets under each plant, but I grabbed the only “tomato food” I found at the Home Depot and fed without looking at the specifics on the label.  Too late I noticed that the numbers were 8-5-5, meaning that the fertilizer was heavy on nitrogen which produces lots of green leaves, and was low on phosphorus which is needed for flowering.  And this in a red container shaped like a tomato! What tomato food would want to stress green growth and not blossoms? And not only was that a mistake in general, but it turns out that not having the phosphorus in abundance meant that the plants were not able  to absorb enough calcium (don’t ask) and coupled with the crazy moisture inconsistencies – they were ripe candidates for blossom end rot.  At our local nursery I found “Jack’s Classic” with 10-30-20 and I think we’re on the mend.

Valiant Juliet


Is it any wonder that I found a special  affinity with the mighty Ash tree I  contemplate from my meditation window?  This is one of those times when only “DUH!” will suffice. In other words, I did some Folklore snooping and found that the Ash is actually Yggdrasil – the immense tree in Norse Mythology, the holiest of holy, whose branches extend into the heavens and whose roots connect with all the kingdoms, including Asgard, the home of the Gods; Jotenheim, the land of the Giants; and Niflheim,  the primeval world.  I wanted to connect to my ancestral roots and familial stomping grounds by moving from California to Minnesota, and this is the topping on the cake (or should I say the “kaka”).

YGGDRASIL - "Odin's Horse"

ONE MORE THING:  The giant water lily goes on and on.

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