Last year I had a 40′ row of sunflowers at the north end of the garden, but OUTSIDE the raised beds. We got lots of rain and wind one day and they all bit it. It seems if you have a pancake-shaped root system, and you’re tall, you’re doomed in this clay, as the clay when wet lets go of you.
This is the damage from yesterday. Amaranth and sunflowers. Same root system. I thought they would be safe inside the beds…sigh. Though now I am wondering if I should bother with them at all next year. These can be rescued, though now I am wondering if I should yank them out and use that real estate for the fall broccoli.
So I (re)read this last night.
“The garden is an unhappy place for the perfectionist. Too much stands beyond our control here, and the only thing we can absolutely count on is eventual catastrophe. Success in the garden is the moment in time, that week in June when the perennials unanimously bloom and the border jells, or those clarion days in September when the reds riot in the tomato patch–just before the black frost hits. It’s easy to get discouraged, unless, like a green thumb, you are happier to garden in time than in space; unless, that is, your heart is in the verb. For the garden is never done–the weeds you pull today will return tomorrow, a new generation of aphids will step forward to avenge the ones you’ve slain, and everything you plant–everything–sooner or later will die. Among the many, many things the green thumb knows is the consolation of the compost pile, where nature, ever obliging, redeems this season’s deaths and disasters in the fresh promise of spring.”
Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education, by Michael Pollan (New York: Grove Press, 1991)