Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Flimsy Netting

It rained an inch and a quarter on Sunday. Of course we were hosting a big neighborhood cookout Sunday to welcome our new neighbors who are moving in this week.

I had planned to be outdoors in the garden (yes, I admit I wanted to show it off). Instead we were forced inside -- we had a lovely time and the new neighbors are very nice, but no one got to enjoy being outside at all.

Dang.

And now after all that rain and some sun everything looks even better.

I gave up on the strawberries this year. They did not produce and I didn't do much to encourage, prune or trim them. The chipmunk ate his fill of what was there, and I let him have them.

But the blueberries look really promising, and I do want to pick a crop this year. They are ripening now.

So I needed to rig up some bird netting. You can't just drape it over the bushes, it snags and tangles on the branches. You need a frame to hold the netting off the shrubs. Here's what I came up with -- some flimsy poles stuck in the ground, draped with netting that I then clipped in place.

You need a cap on the bamboo stakes or the netting just slides down it. Tennis balls cut in half and stuck over the top of the poles are one solution, but the only things I had around that seemed useful were upside down plastic flowerpots. That worked.

But they look for all the world like a bunch of garden ladies with hats and veils on, standing in the garden clucking over the state of things. The birds may simply laugh themselves to death and leave the blueberries alone.

Stepping back you can see that in addition to a gaggle of garden ladies with flowerpot hats on, I have a color clash that should scare away not just birds but any garden visitor. That purple 'Jackmanii' clematis does not go with the wine red Cercis 'Forest Pansy'. Eek.

The clematis is beautiful in its own right, but not next to the redbud. And I have it growing on an iron tower that is too small, forcing it into a dense blob of intense color and form. This needs a rethink. 'Jackmanii' wants to scramble and ramble and I need to move it somewhere else.

The other clematis nearby is also growing on an iron tower that forces it into a dense vertical blob, but the delicate white flowers work much better. This is a viticella clematis called 'Alba Luxurians' and it does well clinging to its support by the patio wall.

Where should I move the purple clematis that would be a better location? How can I support its vining, rambling size? Will my flimsy poles with wobbly flowerpots on them keep the birds away from the blueberries?

Will I be able to get in under the netting to pick a crop without bringing the rickety poles and pots down? Will the blueberries be tart this year?

And what I really want to know --- why did it rain on my party?

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