From the outside, gardening looks pretty tame. Plants don’t race around. They don’t seem to attack. It’s just greenery, water, and soil, right? The truth is, if you garden regularly, some amazing things are bound to happen.
It’s not just the plant oddities that appear. Many of us have come across twinned tomatoes, dancing carrots, and fasciated stems, but gardens are full of surprises. These are just a few of mine.
I never gave mold much thought before gardening, other than to make sure it never took up residence in my bathroom. I knew that mold could spread, but it never occurred to me that some molds, specifically slime molds, can move across areas intact. The dog vomit slime mold pictured below did just that. On the first day, it was a bright yellow blob above and to the left of a seashell. On the second day, my slime mold had changed color and started to engulf said seashell. I certainly didn’t expect that!
Glowing bananas and bursting stems
Because of my time in the garden, pruning and harvesting, I was able to see, firsthand, what happens to a stem when the water inside freezes.
I was surprised to learn that the sugary brown spots on ripe bananas glow when illuminated with a blacklight. You can use one of those penlights that tell you if a dollar bill is counterfeit.
Baby praying mantis, napping bees, and ambling grubs can all be surprise discoveries if you take the time to look for them.
Even watching a simple grub walking can surprise you.
I caged my fruit and nut trees to protect against bird, squirrel, and rat damage. Sometimes, small birds would still find their way into the tree cages. Once, a Cooper’s hawk managed to get in. I must assume he was trying to get at the songbird since the figs probably didn't appeal to him. I used my old wildlife rehabilitator skills to capture and release the magnificent bird properly. The songbird escaped on its own.
In the end, the closer you look, the more you see. And gardening never ceases to amaze and surprise me.
What has surprised you in the garden?
12/17/2021 12:45:45 pm
I have a hummingbird feeder which usually one hummingbird chases everyone away. However this winter, I have seen a number of hummingbirds (based on size) drink from it. Maybe in the winter, there is less food for them so they are willing to share until spring/summer.
12/24/2021 06:16:46 pm
Thank you, Jill.
12/19/2021 09:53:10 am
Nature can give propagation directions if you watch carefully. I love propagating plants and years ago I tried to propagate forsythias. I had brought several branches into the house in early spring so that I would have some early blooming to add cheer to the house. Eventually, the flowers died and I figured leaving the branches in a water-filled vase would eventually produce some roots. Nothing doing. Some time later - it could have been years later - I was doing some garden cleanup and went to move some forsythia whose branches tips were touching the ground. Would you believe that the tips of the branches had put out root?!. This is a technique called layering and I have used it liberally for forsythias ever since.
12/24/2021 06:18:49 pm
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Kate Russell, writer, gardener, and so much more.