Here it is more than halfway through the month of June and I still don’t have my
whole vegetable garden planted yet. The continuous supply of cool, wet weather
we have been experiencing for the past couple of months has made conditions
perfect for slugs but not for many vegetables. I planted a 4 foot row of
radishes back around the first week in May and they did germinate quickly but
then the seedlings just sat there as the soil became saturated with rainfall.
Slugs ate about two-thirds of them and all the rest (except for one perfect
radish that I had on my salad today) were so stress that they are now being to
bolt (form seed) so that will be it for the spring radish crop. I will plant
more in September.

Bolting spinach in front, tetragonia coming along nicely behind it.

Same goes for the spinach I planted. Piddling, stunted, yellowish plants will not
produce even enough greens for one meal. Thankfully I also planted some New
Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonoides), which is not a true
spinach but produces leaves that taste similar. It is very slow to germinate,
taking 2 to 3 weeks. Some of those seeds rotted too but since this plant
tolerates heat, there is still time to plant some more seeds. Also, I am
starting some Malabar spinach (Basella alba) plants. They do well in summer heat and form long vines so they will
be places next to a fence as the peas start to die back. I have heard that they
have a distinct flavor that you either love or hate, and also that they are
mucilaginous so stir fries seem like a good use for them.

In the overall scheme of things, I think I will accept the extra rainfall and be
grateful for no forest fires, massive flooding, and that the recent Springfield
to Southbridge, MA tornado missed my house by about 5 miles. Every day now I
drive past some of the devastating damage that was left in its wake – huge
trees splintered and tossed like toothpicks, damaged roofs, destroyed buildings
not to mention the impact on human lives and livelihoods. It was a little nerve
wracking the week after the tornado when our neighborhood began to be pummeled
by hail and we quickly checked the news for any ominous forecasts. The cannas
showed the most hail damage emerging with tattered leaves, but many other
plants, like these tiger lilies, have abrasions on their leaf surfaces.

Small spots are from last week's hail storm.

Narrow, vertical leaved plants were unscathed so I can now enjoy the huge blooms of my
Japanese irises. I don’t think there exists is an iris that I don’t like. From
the March blooms of the netted iris (Iris reticulata), through April’s I.
, and May and June’s finale of crested (I cristata), bearded (I.
germanica), Siberian (I. siberica), and finally now, the Japanese irises (I.
kaempferi). Speaking of which there were some exceptionally lovely ones at
bloom at Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT yesterday.

Irises, yarrow and lamb's ears at Elizabeth Park

After attending a meeting in Hartford, I found myself totally unable to control the
impulse to stroll through Elizabeth Park in mid-June which is when their many,
wondrous rose-covered archways are in full bloom and coveted, I am sure, by
many a bride for unforgettable wedding photos. If at all possible, do go for a
visit to Elizabeth Park, named after Charles Pond’s wife.

Mr. Pond was a wealthy industrialist who bequeathed his estate to the city of
Hartford and requested that it be named for his wife. It was decided that a rose
garden would be most pleasurable for the people living in Hartford and that was
the beginning of the planting of some 15,000 rose bushes.

Rose arch at Elizabeth Park

I must say that after touring the very lovely and fragrant rose gardens at
Elizabeth Park and also the well-designed annual beds and perennial gardens,
that Charles’s wife, Elizabeth, must have been incredulously loved and I am so
grateful for the gift of botanical commemoration he bestowed upon her. We
mortals get to feast on such a heavenly vision each June with the roses all
opening to her goodness and beauty. If you have any time in the next week or
so, do go to Elizabeth Park. You will be glad that you did.

Stop and smell the roses!