Sunday, September 7, 2008

horrible things in the garden

Its official. We had two days of summer - when summer is defined as a day when the temperature reached or exceeded 70 degrees F.

And it has rained. And rained.

Usually the gardens can count on endless sunshine, warmth, and few bugs. Too little rain, so watering is important.

When I lived in Juneau there were slugs. Huge, colorful characters. Juneau is Pacific Northwest rainforest, complete with banana slugs and other large and alarming creatures.

Most years in Anchorage, I have seen two or three slugs a season and ignored them. They were welcome to a bit of the garden.

This year, my little walled garden is dank with mold and moss and slimy with slugs. Hundreds of them. They ate the dahlias right down to the ground - no small feat when you think how fast dahlias grow around here.

And now they are breeding. Like most invertebrate sex, this is complicated and I'm not sure I understand it. I do know they are true hermaphrodites, and I find them linked together at two orifices. I don't dare look closer. The thought of another generation next summer alarms me, so I have been hunting them (easier now that they are two by two) and dropping them in a tub of salt.

This is uncharacteristic. I like invertebrates in general. Echinoderms are my favorites in the world, of course. I remember the movie Microcosmos featured sex between two slugs or snails that moved me to tears. I have just stuck that disc in the DVD player to try to recapture my usual tolerant self.

I'm just cranky because there was no summer.

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