Critters in the Community Garden

When I walk through my community garden these days, I notice quite a few critters have appeared. No, I don't mean pests, but examples of garden art. I thought you'd like to see a few of them.

Midnov_07_065_copy This small feline was hiding among some cabbages. Hunting some pressed concrete bunnies no doubt, though I didn't see any of those.

Midnov_07_062_copy Among the irises, I found a pink flamingo that seems to have fallen on hard times. Times are indeed hard for lawn flamingos, since last I heard, the company that was making them had decided to stop doing it. Is there a patent, I wonder, or could someone else begin to make them? Surely demand isn't completely dead for this 20th century icon of the lawn or garden.

Midnov_07_063_copy And here we have a...a...well, it is art, don't you think? It is a multicolored monster reclining among the fading roses. How poignant.

Late_nov_07_016_copy In the college garden, the cole crops we planted in mid August are continuing to mature. One of my favorites is Romanesco broccoli. It has a unique color and form, and has a different texture than regular broccoli as well. All the ones I can find on the market these days are small-headed hybrids, but I used to be able to get heirloom seed that made huge heads. The smaller ones are probably better for the market, but for a home gardener, those big heads lasted a long time. The variety is from Northern Italy, where I'll bet one can still find the larger heads. I'm still hoping to find them again. In any case, it does best growing from late summer into fall. It ripens in November mostly, or early December. I once saw plants of it at the Rodale farm in Emmaus, PA, the Organic Gardening headquarters. The gardener said they didn't seem to do well with it. Makes sense. It is much better adapted to our mediterranean California climate. I think they were planting too late, treating it like a short-season broccoli, but it is more of midseason, meant to mature in a mild winter.