This morning I walked into the kitchen to make my tea, as I do at the start of every morning. The kitchen is a mess. If I’m being honest it is always a mess, but right now the disaster has taken the form of camera gear, photo props, 300 pounds of pumpkin, and a few tender potted plants that I haven’t the heart to let go of just yet. Even my dog is reluctant to navigate this maze in order to get out the back door. Amidst the mess, my eyes landed on this beautiful plant, False Holly Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’.
When we adopted our wonderful dog Molly just over a year and a half ago, the most common question asked was, “How will you keep her from destroying the garden?” Molly is a terrier mix, and everything we were told indicated that she might be a bit of a menace in the garden. It was winter at the time, and since my garden was still covered in snow, I had plenty of time to focus on the other dog learning I had to do (which was ample) before worrying about how to train her not to tear up the garden, trample and pee on plants, or dig up the dirt. Still, I figured I’d be posting back here that spring or summer with an update or a desperate plea for advice.
First things first: I don’t have tomato hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata) in my own garden. What you see above is a photo that I took a few weekends ago of a Tobacco Hornworm (Manduca sexta) fatting itself up on my tomatoes. The caterpillars of these two distinct species of moth look very much alike and are easily confused. For reference, the tomato hornworm has v-shaped markings down its sides and a dark black/brown “horn” protruding out the back, while the tobacco hornworm [seen above] has diagonal strikes down its sides and a bright red “horn.”
Despite this distinction I decided to post under the name tomato hornworm because it is the most commonly known of the two.
My friend Uli Havermann has the most inspiring garden. [Note: you might remember Uli from the community greenhouse and this incredible succulent pot.] She manages to bring a passion for foliage and a love for vintage metal and terra cotta together in a way that is visually mind-blowing.
I first met Uli when I visited the garden that she shares with her partner Paul Zammit on a Toronto Open Gardens day way back in 2010. I did not do any research on the gardens that I would be visiting on that day, and had no idea what to expect. But the moment we drove up to Uli and Paul’s, I knew I was in for something special.
….but not before smoking a full pack of smokes.
WARNING: This video is NSFW and definitely not something you want to watch if you are offended by the swears. The foraging woman in this video goes off something fierce.
I’ve had some strange experiences gardening in a public space, a handful of which I documented on this website (here’s one that comes to mind), but I’d say that this probably tops them and then some. In case you don’t want to watch the video I will provide context. A rhubarb plant has grown beyond the borders of a backyard garden (as rhubarb often does) and has spilled out into public land beyond the fence line. The owner (or her daughter?) confronts a woman that she finds harvesting from the plant. Chaos and a very heated exchange that includes colourful, if not downright creative name-calling ensues.