My next-door neighbor hates working outside. He is a very
talented architect and mowing his yard is always the last thing on his list.
With all this rain, bless his heart, I think he has just given up. As I looked
into his back yard, aka “meadow”, I was reminded of something my mom had once
given me that goes something like this:
“ Imagine the conversation The Creator may have had with St.
Francis about what we now call Lawns:
Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the
world is going on down there on earth? What happened to all the dandelions,
violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance
garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and
multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracted butterflies,
honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by
now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
It’s the tribes that settled here, Lord. The suburbanites.
They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great extent to kill them
and replace them with grass.
Grass, but its so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t
attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It’s temperamental
with temperatures. Do these suburbanites really want all that grass growing
Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and
keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any
other plant that crops up in the lawn.
The spring rains and cool weather probably make the grass
grow really fast. That must make the suburbanites happy.
Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut
it – sometimes twice a week.
They cut it? Then dot hey bale it like hay?
Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in
They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
No, sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it
will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it and pay to throw it away?
These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we
cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth down
and saves them a lot of work.
You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops
growing so fast, they drag out the hoses and pay more money to water is to they
can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
What nonsense! At least the kept some to the tress. That was
a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the
spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to
the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soils and protect
the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the
soil. It’s a natural circle of like.
You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have a new circle.
As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and have them
No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in
the winter and keep the soil moist and loose?
After throwing away your leaves, they go out and buy something
they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
And where do they get this mulch?
They cut down trees and grind them up.
Enough!! I don’t want to think about this any more. Saint Catherine,
you are in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It’s a really stupid movie….
Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story…."
HAH! I don’t know who wrote that, but I love it….
As I was staring at my neighbor’s meadow thinking he might
just have THE right idea, I heard him crank up his lawn mower. I guess he came
to his “suburbanite senses!”
I just love this time of year! The air is crisp, the heat is leaving and its time to tidy up the garden and dream of another spring to come. With the hot weather cooling down, I have been enjoying some time in the garden and have managed to carve a few minutes out here and there to do some things and take some pictures.
The northern oats grass is looking lovely:
And the autumn joy sedums are bursting with color and look especially nice next to the black and blue salvia!
The trumpet trees are in all their glory and have such wonderful fragrance in the morning and evening! A great treat with the cool air:
The cannas have finished blooming and have the most beautiful seed pods on them:
I amv ery please with how the sweet potato vine has provided weed control in this bed:
This winter I plan to get a nice blue conifer to put in the back of this bed.
We had some great rain at the end of the summer that the purple hyacinth bean and moon vine flower really loved and they just scurried up the arbor:
It will be time to dig up the sweet potatoes soon also :) Tomorrow on his way home from work, hubby is goingt to pick up a truckload of compost that I will top dress the empty veggie beds with so that I can put in fall crops of spinach, greens and brussel sprouts. Can't wait!
And, I am reminded a lot lately that the garden in faithful and continues to go on with or without me...and i am able to enjoy it all the same :)
Mom and I took a little day trip today to a fabulous nursery that is a bit of a drive north of our town. We typically go there once every spring. On my list for sure was a hardy begonia. I used to have one of these, but I had planted it with the Vinca Major and the Vinca won the fight last year. I was planning on moving it this spring, but the poor little guy didn't make it, so I needed a new one. To my delight, they had one. SO, i got it and also picked up 3 Astilbe Color Flash Limes (Astilbe xarendsii hybrid). This same plant is usually priced $13.99 at our local nursery, but at the one today they were only $5.75 so I could afford to get 3 of them. Hooray! They are said to get 15-20 inches high with lime green foliage that changes color throughout the season and purplish/pinkish blooms. I planted all my new goodies in front of the azaleas to the right of all the new hosta starts. The shade bed is coming together!
I also picked up some little moon flower vine seedlings. I put some of these seeds in the ground, but they don't always germinate, so I picked up some to guarantee that I get some of this wonderful vine this year. They got planted by the arbor in the back. Once everything was in the ground...I got to watering.
The veggies are looking great! Most exciting is the tomato bed:
>The plants are looking great and the spinach and allysum is already germinating.
An d, the corn has germinated VERY well:
< p>Once the watering was done, I took some time to capture the happenings in the garden as of now...
The blackberries are blooming and we are looking forward to the berries to come:
The peach tree that bloomed in early spring now has little fruits on it! I am surprised b/c I just planted it last year:
The allium blubs are starting to do something:
In the front yard, where I spotted lots of little seedlings in the spring and wasn't sure what they were...well, they are thousands of datura babies!
The feather grass is just beautiful with all its new growth:
The double knockouts are just ready to burst:
And finally, the autumn ferns have some wonderful new fronds and look beautiful as I sit on the front porch:
I spent yesterday afternoon tootling about in the front yard. I mowed our "lawn" , which is really more a patch of weeds than anything. After its mowed, it actually looks pretty decent. My dreams of fescue were squelched by the drought last year....maybe this fall i can do that. Once the mowing was done, I pulled some weeds, cut back some vinca, hacked down the curry plant (it had gotten very raggedy and woody, will be interesting to see if it comes back), and I also watered the autumn ferns. It looks as though the layer of compost applied to the top of that bed last summer is really coming through for us...I have never had so many new fronds appearing at once on these ferns. It looks so pretty! Here is a view of the front yard as seen from my front porch today:
As you can see, my girl and my hubby are enjoying the freshly mowed weeds :)
The redbud looks so amazing right now as well! Also, the ajuga is blooming and is adding a nice shot of color:
The dogwood is almost in all of its glory. It is in the same bed that got the compost dressing and i do think it is helping the dogwood also, in seasons past, the dogwood has suffered from one of its common fungal diseases that causes the blossoms to fall off before they fully open. It looks like we might not have that prob this year :)
On a recent shopping trip with my mom, I picked up this cool garden art windchime and I have been enjoying it as I sit on my front porch:
Its very overcast today and a bit cool and breezy, so I am not sure if I will venture out in the garden later or not. I have been thinking more about creek planting lately and trying to decide what to plant on the opposite bank...I still have yet to have the moment of brilliant inspiration. I do need to get back there with the weedeater so that all my hard work spent cleaning everything out doesn't go to waste....it will if I don't stay on top of things back there. I am anxiously awaiting the emerging of the great gunnerra that went in the ground a few weeks ago...i check for growth every day :)
I did hear an ad on the radio that our local home depot has 5 dollar coreopsis and hostas, so i may venture down there this afternoon. Tomorrow the forecast is thunder storms, so I better do what I have to do today :)
Its been a while since I have spent a good chunk of productive time in the garden. And, yesterday...I did just that. In the morning, my girl and I made Christmas cookies and when she went down for her nap, I headed out to the garden. I did some clean up; such as raking and pruning. I also had some fun with my new camera. The weather here has been very wacky! The highs for the last week have been around 80, so we are having a false spring....things are blooming and buds are appearing. Its quite strange, because there are still many signs of fall in the garden. The Laurapedelum is in full bloom:
And yet, the grasses are showing all their fall color:
After a couple hours of clean up (It didn't need as much work as I thought, I guess all the hard work in the summer really payed off) This is what the yard looks like:
Side view of front yard:
Back Yard Views:
m>Now i just need to get a bunch of pine straw for all the beds. I want to start planning my spring garden, but I am not sure what to do with this crazy weather and I don't know if we will still have an outdoor water ban come spring...
Another trip to the nursery this time of year proved to yield many more bargains! This time, I got some goodies for by the creek :)
I got 2 Ostrich Ferns, 1 Cinnamon Fern, 3 Euonymus Purple Winter Creepers, 1 Lamium, and 1 mystery grass. All this for $19. WOO HOO!!!!!!!
Heres the area before the plantings:
Right after I took this picture, I drove stakes through each plant to keep them in place if we get another heavy downpour. This way I won't loose any plants down stream. (This was an idea from the guy at the nursery. It would have never occurred to me to do that!
Unfortu nately I can't mulch the area because it will all just get washed away. Thats why i put in the ground covers. Hopefully they will do a good job of spreading. I am also going to transplant some vinca over in the area in the fall.
I LOVE compost. I know all of us gardeners love that black gold. I am so lucky that my city offers it free. Especially since what I make on my own in my backyard isn't nearly enough for the whole garden. My husband is so kind to go get truckloads of it for me. Thats what we spent a good part of the afternoon doing. I had just finished weeding out all of the running Bermuda grass (which was an ENORMOUS and seemingly neverending project), so I wanted to topdress this bed with the compost because I have found that it is a great deterrent for the grass coming back. And, the plants love it. The funny thing is that the stuff the city has for free smells really bad...pretty much like poop. So, you can imagine what my non gardening neighbors think of me. It takes about a week for the smell to gass off and once that happens I will mulch with pinestraw. This is the bed to the left of our driveway:
THis bed is one of the works in progress. i am trying to hide the view of the neighbors yard. I have planted two Laurapedalums and a Juniper around the bench. I know with a little time and patience they will do the trick.:
I was also given a Datura seedling one year and it does a great job of reseeding and they just pop up all over the bed. I divided some of my grasses this year to put near the front to provide year round interest and to take the place of the annual bed. That is too high maintenance and i am not willing to spend the money to do the mass planting it takes to make a good show so it just ends up looking pathetic LOL
And of course I LOVE my Harry Lauder's. He was the very first thing we planted here and he has done great:
Can you tell how hot it is by the picts.....glaring sun, dry soil...It was 96 today and we haven't had a good rain in months. We are in a drought and I am only supposed to water Tues, Thurs, Sunday from midnight - 10....ARGH!
But, I am all for helping and conserving our resources, so I try not to cheat too much.