For the last several years, I have attempted to grow a garden in containers large enough to be small beds up on the deck. Container gardenings, based on this limited experience, seems to involve a great deal of planting; many plants just don't return for a second year of the experience. The rose bush only lasted one summer and the honeysuckle gave up after three. The clematis didn't even make it through two months, despite having heard that it was a resilient plant
. The ground cover was about the only energetic and persistant plant I had growing.
Those of you following the story of the garden will remember that the racoons and squirrels are my ongoing nemeses in the whole process. Thanks to them, I entirely gave up trying to grow vegetables. This summer, they have been thronging to the deck in ever greater numbers, which is to say, I have seen more of them and the results of their handiwork more lately than I have since the pepper plant debacle
. A parent racoon and three babies were frolicking on our deck last month. The other day, it was a loner, pushing around the umbrella base, using the flower beds as a litter box, breaking the leading edges of the morning glory, and playing with the metal bases for the tea lights. One of the built-in wooden candle holders on the deck has vanished, presumably toppled to earthen doom from its airy heights. The neighbors must have cleaned it up before I noticed it was missing.
The morning glory is the only plant growing with any vigor, and it will never have a chance to trellis on the part of the deck intended for such a purpose, for the creatures break it off whenever it comes close to their fence highway. At this rate, it'll also be the only source of flowers on the deck this summer. On the bright side, my experiments in herb growing have been partially successful: all the animals have left the lemon balm alone. The oregano has not been so lucky. It was growing in a three foot box, and now it's a box of dirt. Seriously - there's nothing growing in it at all, it's all been dug up and discarded so often, it is now a playpen for squirrels.
The weather this summer has been cool on average, and not overly rainy. Usually when I go away for two weeks, the garden changes substantially. This time, except for the morning glory, it hadn't. Nothing had grown, nothing had changed, only more animal tramplings to keep further growth options from getting ideas. Much as I love having green, growing, flowering things in my gardenlet, I think it might be time to admit that I can't keep up with the destructive powers of the creatures which spend at least as much time, if not more, among the greenery of the deck.