Slug IPA

A wonderful spring vacation last year, in May, the prime spring gardening month, led to an extremely unusual June in the garden. My strawberry patch had produced well the previous two summers. My husband had built a wire fence arch over the top which we covered with bird netting. The berries grew red, juicy and plump. Yet two weeks away from home last spring had put me seriously behind.

One cool evening in early June, I strolled out to wander through the lush garden. I leaned over to peer closely at the berries, adjusting my glasses a bit.

A slug!

I picked him off, throwing him in the grass and twisting him into the ground with the toe of my garden shoe. I turned over a few strawberry leaves to see if there were more there. There always are!

Yes! Lots more.

I picked and smushed and picked and smashed. Once I grew weary of this routine, I retreated to the house, found a small jar lid and pulled an IPA beer out of the fridge. Back in the garden, I sunk the jar lid into the ground just far enough for the soil level to lead the vermin straight into the lethal beer. I poured the rich smelling IPA into the lid, then resumed my slug hunt.

Two minutes later I looked up from my search under a particularly large strawberry plant and spotted slugs everywhere, headed straight for the beer “barrel”. Who said slugs are slow? Not me! They were all making tracks straight for the IPA, more coming out of the shadows all the time. My stomach sank. This was a true infestation.

I gave up and went inside. I thought I would empty the beer barrel in the morning and start again.

Early the next morning, I tiptoed quietly out to the strawberry bed. The beer barrel was overflowing with dead, slimy slug bodies. I gave a deep sigh as I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had not made a dent in the slug population.

That evening, I refilled the beer barrel and left the wire fence off of the strawberries. I just knew the birds would come and eat any slugs that couldn’t fit in the beer barrel. Smugly, I went off to bed, sleeping well at the thought of my genius.

The next morning, I rose early and dashed out, expecting to see a clean strawberry bed. The beer barrel was tipped out of the ground and thrown a foot away, half of the strawberry plants had been thrashed, and sliding along through this devastation were countless more slugs.

The birds had drunk the IPA, eaten what strawberries the slugs had missed, and apparently waved a hearty good-bye to the slugs as they flew off, well satisfied with the slug IPA I had served up for them.

The Delicious Honeyberry

This little-known berry bush is beginning to make itself known here in the States. I found this Canadian native peeking out from the pages of garden catalogs for a number of years, but I was too hesitant to try something brand new. Then, three years ago, I ordered two blueberry bushes. By mistake, the garden company sent me one blueberry bush and one honeyberry, so in the ground it went. Last year it produced four scrumptious berries that I savored! This year it is loaded with blossoms!

A three-year old honeyberry bush tucked into an east facing corner of my garden.

In order to produce well it needs to be pollinated by another variety of honeyberry, so I planted one last year. The one pictured is my three-year-old. Last week we had sustained winds up to 50 m.p.h. and these two bushes did just fine. They are set in a sheltered corner of the house – just in case. The day after the winds, an artic blast flew down out of Canada. Our night temperatures were in the low 20’s. Then yesterday I took a look and this silly honeyberry bush is bursting with blossoms!

That’s my kind of berry!

Blossoms like this cover my three-year old honeyberry bush.

It is cold hardy to -55 F and the blossoms can withstand 20 F. They have a higher level of antioxidants than blueberries and can be eaten fresh or made into jam or used in any blueberry recipe. It is also disease and pest resistant as well.

If you have a corner of your yard or garden you need to fill, take a serious look at this crazy berry!

Stark Brothers photo of a honeyberry bush full of fruit. I will be ever grateful for their mistake.

If you have any honeyberries on your property, please tell us how it’s doing and what you think of it. What other suggestions do you have for fruit or flowers this year?

Daffodils

My Garden – April 30, 2019

This morning I woke to find my dainty, miniature daffodils succumbing to a spring snow. William Wordsworth’s famous poem ‘Daffodils’ came to mind.

My rhyme and flow are no match for any poet, especially Wordsworth, but I had fun with it. Here is my version of ‘Daffodils’.

I wandered sad beneath the clouds

   That sits so low o’er river and peak,

When all at once I saw a sight,

   A host, of frozen daffodils;

Beside the walk, beneath the trees,

Bending and brittle in the snow filled breeze.

Falling low as the flakes that tumble

   And veil all the land,

They yield lower ever still

   Never to rise once more:

Listen close to hear their cries,

   Bowing their heads in icy demise.

Now for those of you who haven’t read the real thing, here is a quick link. It is one of my favorite poems.

https://allpoetry.com/Daffodils