tomato harvest
2009-06-04. Today is the only day that we harvest something from each plant. Clockwise from the large orange one on the top right: Persimmon, Cherokee Purple, Jeune Flamme, a bunch of Black Cherry, a yellow Azoychka, and two bright red Carmello.

June 21st, 2009
Tomato Review 2009 Spring

This year there’s a lot of interest in growing your own food to save money. That may be feasible in some climates or even for some gardeners in my climate but it’s not what motivates me. I grow tomatoes because I like to experiment with varieties that I can’t buy and because I like to try new things.

However, because people are interested in growing veggies to save money, I decided this year to keep notes on what I spent and what I harvested to see how I managed strictly on the economic aspect of veggie gardening. My friend, Angelina who gardens in Oregon, estimates that she gets 12 pounds of roma tomatoes per plant.

That seems incredible to me. I had 7 plants and my TOTAL harvest was 12 pounds 12.5 ounces. (That’s just what we harvested. Twice as much fruit set as we harvested. The squirrels made off with the other half. So, potentially the plants might have produced 25 pounds total–still far short of Angelina’s yields.) Still, with organic heirloom tomatoes going for $5.99 a pound (Whole Foods Market), I definitely got more out of my tomato patch than I put in, even when you add up the cost of plants, organic soil amendments, and water.

Note 1: My tomato patch did not replace any lawn so it was not a trade-off on water…it was additional water.

Note 2: If you buy cheaper supermarket chainstore tomatoes, then your savings might be less. My comparison is based on what it would cost me to buy tomatoes of equivalent type and quality.

Tomato Season

I planted tomatoes from February 26th to March 5th. I bought 4-inch potted starts from Gardens, except for ‘Cherokee Purple’ which I bought at The Natural Gardener. The latter had signs warning that it was too early to plant and not to put tomatoes in until night temperatures didn’t drop out of the 40s. However, Austin had had several days of 80 degree heat the week before and last year I planted them too late and got nothing. So, I decided to gamble against the cold rather than the heat.

We did get a cold snap a few days after I planted them. The leaves developed little cold damage spots on them. ‘Carmello’ was the most sensitive to the cold. However, in the long run they all came back quickly and began flowering and setting fruit by mid-March.

Temperatures hit 90 degrees on April 9th. I was glad that I already had quite a few tomatoes on my plants by then. Although day time temperatures cooled off again, by the end of the month the night time low temperatures hit the 70s and no more tomatoes were setting fruit. By April 22, the tomatoes that had been in full sun were now being shaded until 10 in the morning by the pecan tree.

On May 6th we picked the first cherry tomatoes. In June we started really reaping our harvest. Last week we had a tomato based dinner four nights in a row. Although there are a couple of green tomatoes left, they are not worth the water to ripen them. So the first day of summer is the end of our spring tomato season.

Soil Preparation

All the tomatoes were grown in spots where I never have grown vegetables before. I was trying to find some sunlight so all the plants ended up in the front yard this year. They were in full sun until April when the pecan tree leafed out. Then they got about 6 hours of sun. To each hole I added sifted compost, eggshells, bone meal, and dolomite lime (calcium and magnesium).


This year I tried planting 1.5 liter plastic water bottles with 5 small holes punched with an ice pick at the bottom next to the tomato starts. Before planting I filled each hole with water and let it sink in. Then I planted the water bottle and the tomato together. I filled in the hole with compost. I filled the bottles once each morning, every day. My idea was to ensure that the amount of water was constant and that it was delivered to the roots.

drip system
2009-03-02. My cheap drips system made out of old plastic water bottles.

This worked really well. The leaves of the plants never got wet. I had no disease problems and no blossom end rot. I gave the plants the same amount of water every day which was delivered to the roots rather than having to soak down a foot. I think as it got very hot, I might have increased the water ration to twice a day. This might have kept the skins of the fruit from becoming so leathery. Other people say that too much water at this stage makes the fruit watery and the flavor less intense.

Stringing Up

My existing small tomato cages never worked well but I didn’t want to buy stakes or expensive larger cages. So I tried a technique I learned from Hanna @ This Garden is Illegal and strung up the tomatoes. I was afraid that the string wouldn’t hold the weight of the plant, especially with tomatoes on it or in a wind. However, it was really easy and there were no problems at all. This method worked really well for me and I’m going to do it again.
stringing up tomatoes
2009-05-06. I really liked stringing up tomatoes and it was a lot cheaper than buying cages for them.


I had no problems with insect pests. I found one tomato hornworm. Toward the end of the season, some of the ‘Carmello’ fruit had some stinkbugs which I picked off. The biggest pest was squirrels.

Tomato Varieties

I don’t have a chef’s palate. Although I can taste differences between the varieties, my opinion is that growing conditions had more effect on flavor than variety did. All the tomatoes tasted great in their own way when fully ripened on the vine; this was a feat not easily accomplished because of squirrels. At first we picked the tomatoes when they were starting to color and ripened them indoors. The flavor was unsatisfactory. Besides the squirrels began eating them when they were green. So we resorted to bird-netting. The squirrels still managed to get at some of the tomatoes but we finally managed to enjoy fully-ripened tomatoes. Next year we are building a fully-caged tomato bed.

The other thing that affected tomato taste was the heat. As temperatures climbed into the high 90s and the 100s (which isn’t supposed to happen in Austin until late July), the skins of the tomatoes got tougher and tougher.

My personal taste favors tangy, citrusy tomatoes. I love to make tomato salsa but we never had enough tomatoes. This is the first year I tried black tomatoes. When very ripe both black varieties were delicious but I still prefer yellow and orange tomatoes. We ate all our tomatoes fresh, with mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar on the side.


Arkansas Traveller

Although 20 tomatoes set on ‘Arkansas Traveller’, we never tasted a single one thanks to squirrel predation. This is quite a popular tomato in Austin because it’s supposed to be able to deal with the heat.


‘Azoychka’ was the little tomato that could. It’s a Russian tomato and dealt with the cold very well. It was the first to set and it set more fruit over the season than any tomato. We picked the first few too early, when they were a bright lemon color and the flavor was still bland. When fully ripe, they actually deepen to an orange almost the same color as ‘Persimmon’. The fruit is tart and tangy. The only thing I didn’t like about it was that the sometimes had a white pulpy core.

We harvested 21 tomatoes averaging about 3.5 ounces each. The largest was 8.5 ounces. Total, 3lbs 13.5oz.

Black Cherry

‘Black Cherry’ had the deepest green leaves of all the tomatoes. They had a tendency to curl a bit and I don’t know if it meant there was something wrong, or it wanted more water, or what. The leaves didn’t yellow, so I didn’t worry about it. These cherry tomatoes are held loosely apart on long clusters. We liked the flavor well enough but really prefer the tang of a yellow cherry tomato like ‘Sungold’.

I didn’t think that ‘Black Cherry’ was very productive for a cherry tomato. We harvested 33 fruits for a total of 10.5 ounces of fruit.


I’ve probably grown ‘Carmello’ more than any tomato over the years. It has a nice zingy flavor that makes a wonderful salsa. ‘Carmello’ comes to a distinctive point on the end and I’ve never had any problem with it cat-facing or having blossom end rot. I’ve read that the skin is quite delicate and so it doesn’t ship well. Once temperatures got into the high 90s an 100s, even the skin on the ‘Carmello’ was tough.

‘Carmello’ was more sensitive to the cold weather than any of the other tomatoes. It is also did better in the hot weather, still putting out the occasional flower even in June.

The fruit is a little larger than ‘Jeune Flamme’ but a little smaller than ‘Azoychka’, typically about 2.25 ounces. The largest was 3.5 ounces. We harvested 18 fruit for a total of 3lb 2.75oz.

Cherokee Purple

‘Cherokee Purple’ was a very vigorous plant. It did not want to be trained to one stem at all. It wanted to send out shoots and flop all over the place. The advantage of the string method is I could just tie up any shoots it sent out. ‘Cherokee Purple’ had the worst problems with catfacing. I don’t object to eating ugly tomatoes, but when the flesh parts enough for bugs to get in, the tomato is worthless.

tomato catfacing
‘Cherokee Purple’ had the tendency to catface…the only one of all the varieties I planted that did.

‘Cherokee Purple’ was the last of the tomatoes to ripen. The flavor doesn’t take kindly to being picked early, either. When we did manage to pick some vine-ripened ones we were impressed with the full, deep tomato taste. I don’t think I will grow it again though because of the catfacing.

Although more than 20 fruit set, we managed to harvest only half of them: 3lbs 3.25oz. The largest tomato was 8.25 oz but most were about 5oz.

Jeune Flamme

I fell in love with ‘Jeune Flamme’ this year and will definitely be growing it again. It’s only about the size of a ping pong ball, maybe twice again the size of a cherry tomato. The little orange fruit had a wonderful silky/creamy texture (not too much jelly). Unfortunately, like ‘Arkansas Traveller’ it was outside the bird netting protection. Although we managed to harvest a dozen fruit in mid-May, once the squirrels found it we lost the remaining half of what had set. Total harvest: 11.25 oz.


I love the flavor and creamy texture of ‘Persimmon’ more than any other tomato I’ve ever tasted. However, ‘Persimmon’ is not very productive for me. This is the third year I’ve tried it and I’m lucky to get 2 or 3 fruit from a plant.

This year only 4 fruit set and we managed to harvest only 3 of them. They were the largest tomatoes we grew at 2.75oz, 7.25oz, and 9.25, a total of 1lb 3.25oz. Hmmm. In terms of weight, rather than number, that’s almost twice the tomatoes we got off of ‘Black Cherry’. Maybe ‘Persimmon’ is worth it’s keep. I will probably grow it again but I can’t recommend it to anyone who is short on space. Maybe it will do better in the fall tomato garden.

Note: There is another variety called ‘Russian Persimmon’ and they are not the same.

Helianthus annuus Van Gogh
The ‘Van Gogh’ sunflowers are about 3 feet tall and have a green center.

June 15th, 2009
GBBD 200906: June 2009

Carol at May Dreams Gardens invites us to tell her what’s blooming in our gardens on the 15th of each month.

June 15, 2009

The good news this June is that Austin got rain last Thursday. Almost 2 inches of rain fell at Zanthan Gardens. Other Austinites were not as lucky and had to contend with hail, power outages, broken windows, and funnel clouds. The bad news is that Austin is already experiencing 100°F temperatures. To put it in perspective, we are almost 15 degrees hotter than Las Vegas. Back in the 20th Century (“I remember…” she said, waving her cane in his face), June was a fairly pleasant month in Austin. We’d get lots of rainfall (June was our third wettest month.) Temperatures typically didn’t start soaring into the 100s until late July or August. Then we’d have only six to eight weeks of misery to get through until the hurricanes brought rain just as school started.

Apparently the new norm for the 21s Century is to start being miserable around Mother’s Day and continue until Halloween.

Zanthan Gardens

This photo is misleading. Taken a couple of days after the rain, what’s left of the lawn has perked up. (There is no lawn in the front yard anymore–just bare dirt until I can do something with it.) Everything looks refreshingly green. The whole reality is that it’s 100°F and feels like a jungle. You daren’t stand in the sun. The only a spot of color is from the small clumps sunflowers and purple coneflowers at the fence. In the center of the picture is section of the yard I’m filling with the 12 cubic yards of dirt I bought last week. It will be a terrace to connect the back porch with the garden house.

New for June

Every year when the spring flowers die down I think it would be nice to have something to extend the season. If we have a normal rainy June (like 2007), then it’s wonderful. But if we have a hot, dry June (like 2006, 2008, 2009), then I find it’s far more trouble than it’s worth during the season when I’m busy cleaning up the spring garden and feeding, cutting back, and mulching the shrubs and trees.


This year I tried zinnias again. I bought two packets of seed: a red and white striped one from Select Seeds, ‘Peppermint Stick’ and a pure white one from Renee’s Gardens, ‘Polar Bear’. The ‘Polar Bear’ gets only morning sun, looks healthier, but hasn’t bloomed yet. The ‘Peppermint Stick’ is in a less established bed (that means the dirt isn’t as good), gets full sun, and has put out two flowers. The first was red and white like a peppermint stick.

This is the second one. I hate this color.
Zinnia elegans Peppermint Stick
Zinnia elegans ‘Peppermint Stick’


I had better luck with the sunflowers. I bought two packets from Renee’s Gardens, ‘Van Gogh’ and ‘Chocolate Cherry’. I planted them both in my seed starting bed on April 9, 2009. I was able to transplant the ‘Van Gogh’ out and they did really well. The ‘Chocolate Cherry’ were smaller seeds and smaller plants. They got leggy in the shade before I could get them transplanted. They didn’t survive my trip to San Francisco in the last week of May.


Carol at May Dreams Gardens sent me a packet of white marigolds, ‘Kilimanjaro’. All of the seeds sprouted but half of them damped off. A dozen survived for me to transplant then half of those were felled by pillbugs. I have five plants left and I’m still waiting anxiously for them to flower.


I also tried out Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Psyche White’ and ‘Rose Bon Bon’. I planted both in the meadow where they were smothered by the spring plants and didn’t get enough water when they were young. I’m going to have to seed these earlier and transplant them, or start them in their own bed. Or try growing them in the fall. Ditto the Nigella hispanica ‘Bridal Veil’. Actually I planted those in the seed bed in February and they didn’t do much. Same with the Amaranthus caudatus planted in March and the Thunbergia alata which never sprouted at all. The Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ are struggling and haven’t flowered yet.


My favorite summer perennial is plumbago because of it’s cool pale blue flowers. I came close to losing a plant I’ve had since the mid-1990s but, with some extra attention, it seems to be making a comeback and began blooming around the first of June.


I’ve been shearing back the shrubby plants; the coral bean and the Zexmenia are responding with new growth and flowers. I’ve also pruned and fed the roses, the crape myrtles, the vitex, the white mistflower, and the butterfly bush.

Going Strong

Some plants do take the heat and don’t require a lot of water. The oleander is still covered in flowers. The purple coneflowers that Pam/Digging passed along to me are doing much better this second year than last. The coral vine (Antigonon leptopus) is a carefree plant that loves this weather and the bees love it.

Finally there’s this little beauty, which Annie in Austin has tentatively identified as a South African foxglove.
	Proboscidea louisianica

The leaves are gray-blue, furry (like a datura), and the flowers have spots (rather than stripes). Does anyone else have a thought?

Just Let Me Die

The list below might look long but there are a lot of hangers on from spring. The merciful thing to do would be just pull them out. I deadheaded and watered a bluebonnet just to see if I could get it to bloom until today, which it did. It looks pitiful. The few remaining larkspur are just dried flowers in the landscape. I’ve been cutting back the Jerusalem sage which is flopping and wilts every day in the heat. So do the datura and brugmansia. The latter, which Annie in Austin gave me, is blooming but the flowers blast…they don’t have the strength to unfurl. The sweet alyssum, which I sheared back, makes a nice little clump but it’s just barely flowering. I was amazed to see some covered with flowers at The Natural Gardener. Not only do they have drip hoses, excellent soil, and lots of mulch, but someone was watering them with a spray wand. Someone else told me that they water every day and foliar feed the plants once a week.

If that’s what you have to do to get flowers to bloom profusely in 100° heat, well, count me out.

Complete List for June 2009

The list of all plants flowering today, June 15th 2009, at Zanthan Gardens.

  • Abelia grandiflora (2009)
  • Antigonon leptopus (2009)
  • Asclepias curassavica (fading) (2009)
  • Brugmansia (from Annie in Austin, 2 flowers both blasting) (2009)
  • Consolida ambigua (2009)
  • Cosmos sulphureus (2009)
  • Crinum bulbispermum (2009)
  • Duranta erecta (overwintered) (2009)
  • Echinacea purpurea (from Pam/Digging) (2008, 2009)
  • Erythrina herbacea (2009)
  • Helianthus annuus ‘Van Gogh’ (2009)
  • Hesperaloe parviflora (2009)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (2009)
  • Ipomoea tricolor’Flying Saucers’ (2009)
  • Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands) (2009)
  • Lagerstroemia indica ‘Catawba’ (2009)
  • Lantana montevidensis (2009)
  • Lavandula heterophyla ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ (2009)
  • Lobularia maritima (2009) ‘Tiny Tim’
  • Lupinus texensis (fading) (2009)
  • Malvaviscus arboreus (2009)
  • Meyer lemon (rebloom) (2009)
  • Mirabilis jalapa pink (fading) (2009)
  • Nerium oleander ‘Turner’s Shari D.’ (2009)
  • Nierembergia gracilis ‘Starry Eyes’ (2009)
  • Phlomis lanata (fading) (2009)
  • Plumbago auriculata (2009)
  • Proboscidea louisianica (2009)
  • Retama (2009)
  • rose ‘Blush Noisette’ (2009)
  • rose ‘Ducher’ (2009)
  • rose ‘New Dawn’ (2009)
  • rosemary (2009)
  • Rudbeckia hirta (2009)
  • Ruellia (overwintered) (2009)
  • Ruellia wild woody type (2009)
  • Sedum album (2009)
  • Setcresea (both purple and green) (2009)
  • Zephyranthes grandiflora (2009)
  • Zephyranthes (white) (2009)
  • Zexmenia hispida (from Pam/Digging) (2009)
  • Zinnia elegans ‘Peppermint Stick’ (2009)

Time on Twitter
Read the Time Magazine cover story. 2009-06-05

As a supercell storm moves through central Texas, a virtual storm mirrors it in the Twitterverse.

June 12th, 2009
Twitter Storm

Typically, a twitter storm is when mob outrage (or less frequently adulation) pulses through the Twitterverse. Twitter’s 140 character limit almost guarantees that emotion, not reasoned argument, is what trends. Whether it’s moms mad about a Motrin ad or Amazon users angry that ratings have been disabled on any book with perceived gay themes, we pass our passions along, and then our friends pass them along, and pretty soon the hive mind is buzzing with our indignation.

On the evening of June 11, 2009 a storm that had been brewing north of Austin since late afternoon developed into a supercell, “a system producing severe thunderstorms and featuring rotating winds sustained by a prolonged updraft that may result in hail or tornadoes.” The storm flipped small planes and mobile homes in Burnet, spawned possibly two tornadoes, and dumped hail in the same northwest corridor along Highway 183 which was just recovering from the worst hail storm in Austin’s history last March.

While this was happening, at my house, just south of the river, there was no indication a storm was on the way. At 8:30 PM the air was heavy and still. I was working at my computer unaware. Although it had been overcast until mid-afternoon, I wasn’t really expecting any rain. Remembering that some was in the forecast, I decided to check KXAN First Warning Weather and saw that a big red blob (indicating heavy rain) had entered Travis County. I immediately thought of Annieinaustin who’d suffered extensive hail damage in our last big storm. I flipped over to Twitter to see if it was raining where she was. A disappointing silence. But barron who lives northwest tweeted…
Storm Tweet Austin TX 2009-06-11

A few moments later, another north Austinite, punkgardener, wrote…
Storm Tweet Austin TX 2009-06-11

Well, something was happening. I flipped back to KXAN. The radar showed that the storm was in Travis County moving south towards us. Was there really a chance of rain for us? I sighed and figured it would probably skirt the downtown heat sink and we’d get nothing. At 8:44 PM, I received a call from Annieinaustin. She was offline and taking shelter in an interior room. They’d gotten some hail although not as large as in the March storm.

Looking north from my window I could see a wild lightning storm. I decided I’d better shut down my computer, too. Before I did, I posted an update tweet for her.

Then the fun started. I stood on my back porch, watching the storm move in and checking Twitter on my iPhone. Tweets started popping into my Twitterstream from all over Travis County. They expressed pensive moments wondering if the storm would leave some parts of Austin high and dry. Exultation over rain. Dismay over hail. Concern over the safety of friends and their gardens. Reports of power outages. Yes, maybe we sounded like a bunch of chattering tween girls on a class field trip but there was a real camaraderie in this shared experience. Rain in Austin in this drought is a pretty emotional experience, even without the drama of hail and tornadoes. We needed to share and we needed to know how our friends were doing.

Austinites weren’t the only people interested in our storm. Gardening friends in Indiana, Indygardener, and Oklahoma, reddirtramblin, cheered the rain on for us. They know how we Austin gardeners have been suffering in this drought.

As the storm moved on, we began checking for damage and comparing our rain gauge totals. This morning, I received one wistful tweet from mycornerofkaty wishing that the storms had made it to Katy, TX.
Read the rest of this entry »

Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco
What come to mind when you think of a Japanese garden? clipped shrubbery, twisted trees, raked gravel, stone latterns, koi ponds, bamboo forests, red pagodas, Japanese iris?

June 3rd, 2009
Spirit of a Japanese Garden

During my visit to San Francisco, I returned to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.

Gardeners visit gardens not just to ooh and aah but to find inspiration and maybe learn a few useful tricks that we can apply in our own gardens. Most of us, I think, attribute a sense of calm to Japanese design. I turn to my own garden to ground and soothe me. So it’s natural to wonder what makes a Japanese garden serene.

Having lived in Japan, I’m always curious about Japanese gardens (especially in Western countries) although I have no desire to replicate a Japanese garden in my central Texas back yard. I’m not looking to bring “a touch of Japan” into my garden in a decorative or superficial (I mean surface, here, not frivolous) way. However, I think the underlying principles of Japanese design can be applied without mimicry or parody. After all, the original Japanese gardens celebrate native plants and local materials. I think what particularly attracts me about Japanese design is how the essential nature of each element is revealed and revered.


Music has been defined as “the space between the notes”. Although I love the muss of English-style cottage garden during Austin’s cool springs, when the weather turns hot and humid, that style make me feel claustrophobic.

In Japanese gardens, foliage is often removed from plants both to reveal the beauty of the trunk but also to provide glimpses of what lies beyond. I love this peek-a-boo effect, a tension between mystery and revelation.

Japanese Garden Space

The resulting airiness provides a sense of relief during our muggy summers when I feel the need to let me and the plants have some room to breathe.

We avid collectors have the tendency to stuff plants in wherever they will fit. A Japanese garden demonstrates that negative space, empty spaces, are important to the overall design. This concept is harmony with the Texas landscape which is all about space. A single oak tree silhouetted against the horizon is emblematic of our oak savannah.


Japanese gardens can be viewing gardens, where the composition is framed though a window or arch, or strolling gardens. In a strolling garden the view shifts as you walk, emphasizing how gardens are constantly changing as we move through time and space.

The strolling garden is arranged so that you always wonder what’s around the next bend in the path.

Japanese Garden Strolling

Although Japanese and Italianate gardens both emphasize well-clipped shrubbery instead of flowers, they organize the plants in almost antithetical styles. Italianate gardens favor straight lines, geometric layouts, and repetition. To me, the plants line up like soldiers on parade. Japanese gardens prefer sinuous lines, naturalistic layouts, and focus on a specimen plants. The plants are distinct individuals but they are organized so that they flow into each other, echoing shapes and weaving patterns, harmonizing like dancers.

Layered Views

As a child I was fascinated with dioramas and how you could use glimpses through layers of interest to create different views as you changed perspective.

Japanese Garden Layered Views

No matter where you look the plants form a pleasing composition but they are also arranged in a way that makes you want to crane your neck and see what’s behind them.


Coming from a brown, drought-stricken land, I am happy to drink in all this green. Most people when they start out to garden envision flowers or veggies. To create a garden that focuses on neither sounds a bit boring, doesn’t it? Why not just leave the lawn? But like fellow Texan Allen Lacy, I often dream of a lying In a Green Shade

Japanese Garden Texture
I’m never going to find these saturated greens in Austin, but I can work harder to emphasize the shape and texture of our native plants. Central Texas gardeners certainly have a lot of choices when it comes to texture and great architectual shapes. At the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, they arrange golden barrel cacti as if they were clipped box shrubs.


I know lawns are out but I love this one. Perhaps it isn’t actually a lawn since you can’t walk on it. It’s just grass used as a ground cover.

Japanese Garden Ornament

What really draws me to this spot is the way the stones are arranged around the water feature as if they just came to be there. This space is highly structured but it also feels natural. There’s a rhythm in the way that the little island of stones around the water feature echoes the shape of the island in the white gravel sea. There is something intimate and secret about this place. I feel like I’ve stumbled into a fairy circle.


Japanese Garden Reflection

I have one water feature in my garden but it just sits alone and disconnected. I’m going to have to think about how to use its reflective surface to emphasize something beautiful growing over it. The ideal would be a Japanese maple but I’d prefer a Texas native, something that would evoke a rare Texas oasis.


The one aspect integral to the Japanese style that I’ll never master is neatness. Neatness is not my strength in any provence of my life. Well-defined paths, tidily mulched beds, trimmed bushes and trees result in a sense of control over the chaos of nature which I think is part of the human impulse. We seek to organize our environment and such organization brings a sense of calm. And when things are all hemmed in, there is a delightful moment when they spill over again. Flowers burst into bloom. Vines tumble over a fence. Leaves fall. The garden is still only in photographs.