Thursday, July 17, 2008

A tomato by any other name....

Ah, summer. When it's not so hot that I want to find a small dark cave and estivate* until fall, I do like to spend time in my corner gardens. I finally got around to doing a little weeding, and I deadheaded my irises, so the beds look pretty neat right now. It's blooming time for my roses, daylilies (both orange and magenta), several varieties of hardy geraniums, snapdragons (many of which have sprouted and spread from last year's seeds), oriental lilies, hollyhocks, a bicolor butterfly bush, and a red honeysuckle that intertwines with a dark purple clematis. Even my shady astilbe plants are blooming, and as a bonus my lavender is in full flower, enchanting both my nose and the local bees.

Right now, however, my favorite plant is the beauty in the photo above. I got it through the marching band's annual plant sale; I'd never bought a tomato plant bigger than a 4" pot before, so I was astounded by the size of this one (a 12" pot, I think) when I first got it. I barely had enough room to transplant it into this container. I added a little sunshine and water, and now I'm getting a bonanza of cherry tomatoes. As a bonus, they're 100% organic (no pesticides needed, only a birdfeeder) and completely salmonella-free. Plus, they taste about 1000 times better than what you get in the store.

So while flowers are a delight for the eyes and nose, they can't quite match the appeal of a healthy, heavily laden tomato plant. I think next year I'll need to get another container and double my output. I've still got a little bit of room on the deck.

*Word nerd alert: You can only hibernate in the winter, as is obvious from the root, the Latin hibernus, which means "winter." If you're going to sleep through the summer, the proper verb is estivate; the adjective form would be "teenaged."

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