My tomatoes are turning into zombies but the cornflowers are cute.


So my tomatoes – you know, the Siberian one and the Czech one – are both infected with plague. I think it’s because Siberia and Czechoslovakia don’t have droughts and ridiculously high temperatures in their mountains whereas my backyard has both of those things this year.  I’ve babied these ungrateful plants and now all I can do is yell profanities at them and cry. I guess it’s like having a teenager come home with an STD or something.

I tried to cut off the badness but it just kept spreading. Now I’m taking pictures every week so as to be able to watch it die slowly and to remind myself that I should not even bother with tomatoes in the future.

Damnation. I am not amused by this. Not one little bit.

Being me, I freaked out and figured these two disease vectors would go after all the other plants in the yard just out of spite and malice so I moved them far away, over to the fence and to the neighbors’ stupid, invasive, evil acacia forest. The rest of my nightshades (ok, I’m showing off; they’re potatoes) seem to be doing fine as are the vine plants and the strawberries which is good because, apparently, they’re all susceptible to blight and other horrors.

Happy zukes, happy peas. No blight over here.

Ok, the cabbage isn’t at risk, I’m just bragging. They rarely do this in my garden but they seem to like heat and drought. I had no idea.

The strawberries, up there in the corner by my very classy animal-scarer-awayer, are thriving. And it appears the garlic will need harvesting this coming weekend.

As you can imagine, I’ve been bummed. Stupid tomatoes. However, my spirits were lifted on the 4th of July when Noelle and her family came over. She walked up to the door, saw my new Bachelor’s Buttons, and pretty much shrieked, “YOU HAVE CORNFLOWERS! I AM SO JEALOUS!” I always feel good when I can make her jealous.

We’ve loved these happy flowers since we moved to our little mountain town as children. I don’t think we’d ever seen them down in the city and they grew abundantly all through our new town along with the ornamental sweet peas, Oriental poppies, and wild roses. But the cornflowers were the most amazing; they’re bright and so round, like a wagon wheel that’s really fancy…and not on a wagon. They survive grubby child hands and they thrive even if you ride your bike over them every day. They’re wonderful little things and we fell madly in love with them, a love that has endured all this time.

Sadly, years later, they started to disappear. I don’t know what happened. The ones that did pop up were only blue, cornflower blue (that used to be a Crayola crayon color, do you remember?) and not the white-with-purple/pink-center or the light-pink-with-dark-pink-center or the megawatt-magenta (those are the most rare).  Just blue and few. Even now, I only see small patches of them in rocks or empty lots, not the proliferation from my childhood.

It was a happy day when they began blooming in my front yard, a whole new patch I’d seeded from the drought-resistant mix I bought this past spring. Even Noelle noticed their cuteness and I think I am going to Miss Rumphius their seeds up and down the roads this autumn so that my little mountain town will once again be colored with summer’s Bachelor’s Buttons which will, in turn, make me feel better about my failed tomatoes.

These were always my favorites.

Here’s a little pink Bachelor’s Button

This is where the term “Cornflower Blue” comes from, this here flower.


Filed under Adventures, In my backyard

12 responses to “My tomatoes are turning into zombies but the cornflowers are cute.

  1. Tomatoes are a pain! I gave vegetable gardening a valiant go for a few seasons and then gave up..i have much better luck with ornamentals so when the apocalypse comes I guess I’m starving!! 🙂
    The rest of your vegetables look FANTASTIC though, and you should have great yields there.
    Ps. love the bachelor buttons, too! Such peppy, fun looking flowers! 🙂

    • Thank you! Thank you for stopping by and commenting, for commiserating on the tomatoes and for the compliment on the other veggies. I’m pretty proud of them, considering what they’ve been through this summer. The snow peas are going mad; I have 4 plants and pick a couple dozen peas every other evening! How crazy is that? They’re usually my failures. Maybe they are taunting the diseased tomatoes.
      I told Gabe that I was growing real tomatoes this year, which is how this all started. Normally I do cherry tomatoes and they are always fine and healthy and I can winter them over but I really miss having a nice, big, succulent tomatoes to slice and eat. They’re so delicious and the Farmers Market ones have been pulpy and gross the last few years. Man, I’m a whiner, but seriously, I want big tomatoes that are delicious and I’m sad I can’t make them myself. Stupid tomatoes.
      I think I’ll go your route – ornamentals over tomatoes. Or I’ll just start a dandelion farm. I could totally rock that.

  2. Enjoy your peas! I got like, maybe 5 pods this year. And last year, and the year before. Maybe I should move them to a different spot??? You can always come over and pick some of my toms. We have 6 pretty good looking plants, I don’t know if they are cherry toms or beefsteak because they did a face-plant whey they were still babies in the house, and I lost the markers in the mix-up. The garlic and the walking onion are doing wonderful! Thanks for the starts. Hugs!

    • Oh, I will be happy to trade peas for tomatoes! I’ll have potatoes this fall, too. If there are enough of them, I’ll give you some. And a leek or two, if you’d like! We must swap garden food so that I can have my real-grown tomatoes this year!

  3. BLARG! I have NO tomatoes growing in my garden this year. I broke up with The Manchild before he planted them, and I’m not so much one for digging in the dirt and whatnot, so now I have a bunch of peas, overgrown lettuce, and weeds that are as tall as my 4yr old. You should move in with me. We can grow lots of things without fear of frost, and you are much more ambitious than I. That all equals out to AMAZING GARDEN! Just sayin’… There’s plenty of space and OCD laundry do’ers here…

    • OMG, if you’ll do my laundry, I will 100% work the garden! I can torture your kids, too, yes? That’s not just reserved for you? Well, according to my hazy waking dream this morning, I’m going to be divorced soon. Gabe got a job (this part is real and we’re all HOORAY!) but he only got the job so that he can move out and take care of his girlfriend. He hates me and he hates Evie and he’s just been using us to limp along until he found someone who wasn’t so capable, someone who makes him feel like a real man because she needs him so badly, someone who doesn’t emasculate him. And now he can take good care of her since he’s employed (that’s the part that maybe my brain made up, though I yelled at him for it anyway) Which means, I’ll be free to move to your house and take over your garden and have my laundry done! Can you imagine the fun we’re going to have? And how tired we’re going to be every day from being jerks all night long? It will be AWESOME!

  4. Rosalie Keefe

    Have you tried spraying your tomatoes with milk? Works for fungus on roses too. Our roses are very happy this year but everything else is struggling. Got any good dirt recipes?

    • Oh, Rose, I’ve tried all sorts of crazy things. Not milk, though. Does the fat content matter in any way? I can only imagine how this is going to smell after a few hot days…curdled milk and zombie tomatoes. But anything is worth a shot because all they’re doing is dying! Thanks for the pro-tip!
      I made my own dirt. Well, ok, not true. I used 3/4 of my compost and then I bought the garden dirt that has all those wood pieces in it. Usually, I add a small bag of sand, too, but didn’t bother this year. The one things I did do, though, is I held back half the bag of garden dirt. After I got the beds all nice and mixed up with ground dirt, compost and some garden dirt, I planted everything and then covered it all with the rest of the garden dirt to keep it moist and cool. I keep adding more mulch to the peas because Mom says they’re like clematis – they want their leaves hot and their roots cool. Seems to be working so I’ll go with it!

  5. I think it’s a government conspiracy to keep you from eating tomatoes

  6. So jealous…even of your zombie tomatoes. I can’t wait to have a house so I can plant my own garden. I’m horrible with flowers though, so props to you! Those flowers are gorgeous!

    • You don’t have a balcony that will support plants? Sad. 😦
      Thanks for the compliment on my beautiful flowers. Go ahead and believe that I’ve slaved over these and I do many flower-gardenery things with them daily. And do NOT look up How To Grow Bachelor’s Buttons on Ze Google, ok?

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