Wednesday, October 27, 2010


or Hastening the Inevitable, Part II

In my last post I wrote about letting go, especially of the care and upkeep of the micro-garden.  To let go was a relief, a pleasure, a grace—and not just any old grace at that, but a lovely, lovely one.  By relinquishing the remaining plants in the micro-garden to their fates, I was simply yielding to the inevitable; rather than trying to elbow autumn out of the way, I was going to curtsy politely to it, extend an ushering hand, and say graciously, "After you."  Death would come decorously to the micro-garden, and all would be peaceful and sweet, perhaps even a little soulful, as I practiced the virtue of non-attachment and allowed nature to pursue its course unimpeded.

But when I wrote of hastening the inevitable, that did not mean that I wanted any help.

Now that all of the flat-blossomed flowers elsewhere in the garden—the yarrow, feverfew, and marguerite daisies so beloved by beneficial insects—have more or less stopped blooming, and the bugbath isn't filled so assiduously, and the pest-eaters have grown sleepy and slow, aphids have moved in to the micro-garden in droves.  Ironically, the plants they are attacking are the perennial bunching onions, which I planted in part to deter pestilential insects, the entire allium family supposedly being anathema to all that goes on more than two legs.  Ha.  The onions are covered.

I know these aphids of old, and nasty little blighters they are.  A few winters ago they obliterated every "Powis Castle" artemisia in the neighborhood.  (Which ought to be a lesson to landscapers not to plant the front and side yards of an entire neighborhood with the same five species, thus creating easily destructible monocultures, but probably won't be.)  They are impervious to frost; the sharp spray of water from a hose that is supposed to wash them away and kill them only allows them to take a little exercise while incidentally making a royal mess of the kitchen window; insecticidal soap just gives them a fresh, clean scent.  Where are all of those praying mantises that were peeking in my windows a few short weeks ago?  Where are the lady beetles, the lacewings, the hoverflies?

Gosh darn it, I like the onions.  I was planning on continuing to  harvest them enthusiastically through at least November.  Aphids, why can't you just munch on the sweet potato vine?  I'm done with that.  Or the amaranth?  Help yourselves—there's plenty for all and sundry.  The basil? marigolds?  Go for it.  But why the onions, you perverse little pests?


(Do people who have let go usually growl this much?)

No comments:

Post a Comment