It’s a holiday weekend.
Cooler than usual
For Labor Day.
So I think instead of taking time
Out of the garden
I’ll just take a short
Be back soon.
Every gardener needs an unkept place.
A place to park your wheelbarrow,
And the city composting bins
And the stack of bricks
Leftover from the patio remodel.
And my compost tumbler
And the old potting bench
Lovingly built by John
Years ago at my first big garden.
And miscellaneous clay and plastic pots.
For me it’s the area behind my garden house.
And it really needed a good cleaning.
So this was the weekend.
It’s actually driven by the fact that
My garden house floor is littered with
Larkspur, Poppy and Hollyhock stems
That have been drying out for several weeks.
You see if you compost them when you first cut them back
You’ll be very sorry.
Seeds don’t actually break down in my compost
It just never gets hot enough.
So I dry out the stems and thus the seed pods.
Shake them out good
And save the seeds.
Only then is it safe to compost the stems.
If you do this too early
You’ll have compost full of seeds
Which will be like seeding your garden to Larkspur
Or Poppies or Cockscomb come fall.
When your garden is new
That’s not such a bad thing.
But if you keep doing that
Year after year.
So the garden version of Dominoes began
On Saturday morning.
In order to make room in this area
For all this dried stuff.
It went like this.
Load up and haul away 2 years of plastic flats and little pots.
Luckily my favorite green house – the Garden House
Reuses these so I don’t have to add to the land fill.
Take bags of last spring’s leaves
To Loaves & Fishes for their new garden beds.
Thankfully John has learned never to put leaves on the curb.
They will find their composting home sooner or later.
Then dig up compost and take it to where I’ll be testing out
A fall vegetable garden spot.
Plant lettuce in the empty spaces
Along the edge of the garden.
Move some of those leftover brick to finally finish out my path.
How excited will the kids be next Easter
When they discover they can walk the path
Through the garden – end to end.
I haven’t had a day this productive
Now this kind of work
Doesn’t really make for pretty garden pictures.
So I’ll just dot in a few
Without any real connection.
But as always
There seems to be a lesson here.
The beauty of a garden begins
Deep within the soil
Waiting for someone to come along
To care for it.
To nurture it.
To bless it.
Just like people.
If you count the days between
The last freeze of winter
And the first freeze of fall
You will find that we are at half time
Of the gardening year
Here in zone 7
So is the season half over?
Do we just maintain from here on in?
Cup half empty.
Or do we revel in the days to come?
Cup half full.
If you look closely
You’ll find that some things
Are just beginning
Or beginning again.
I don’t plant my Zinnias
Until the Larkspur and Poppies
Have died and made room for them
So they are just beginning to bud out.
The Arugula on the other hand.
Has gone to seed
Giving me a second crop.
Which is great
Since I’m a fan of Arugula
Tomatoes are ripening on the vine
Except for the ones my nighttime visitors
Have dined on.
But volunteer tomatoes
Are just beginning to bloom and set fruit.
And because we are having a great summer
Eight inches of rain in July!
The roses are budding and blooming.
And Peg spends endless hours in the garden
Doing what we have dubbed
She loves the hunt.
So here we are at half time
Enjoying the view.
Yes, there is much that can be done.
Much that actually needs to be done.
But for now I’m just taking it in
Knowing that there is much more to come
Much more to give.
PS. If you have extra garden produce please drop it by Loaves & Fishes Monday, Wednesday or Friday 9 – 12 or call for special drop off times. With kids out of school we are seeing more and more people in need of food. And what’s better than fresh garden produce shared.
It’s been a glorious week here for gardening.
Three days of rain.
Cool crisp mornings
And bike riding evenings.
Which, of course, leads to weeding.
The ground is soft and willing
To let the weeds go.
All of this means that I’ve spent the week
Crawling around my garden
It’s amazing the difference a week can make in a garden.
And I only spent a few evenings
And Saturday there.
From my ground level vantage point
I’ve noticed that this year
It seems that lots of Bumblebees
Have decided to call my space home.
During this morning’s sermon on Martha and Mary
It occurred to me that Bumblebees are the blend
Of these two sisters
That Andrew, our minister, was encouraging us to strive for.
They are known for their Martha like busyness.
Buzzing about all day.
Even major pieces of music have been composed
And played and played
About the busyness of the Bumblebee.
They have work to do
And they do it.
Or maybe not.
I’ve noticed this week
That they also rest.
I have found them during the middle of the day
Nestled into an east facing Hollyhock blossom.
Sheltered from the afternoon sun.
I imagine that they sleep there as well.
But the place I most often find them
Is fast asleep in the spent blooms
Of the Disco Belle Hibiscus.
I have a habit of walking through my garden
First thing in the morning.
As I walk I often deadhead a bit.
Popping off spent blooms here and there.
But I’ve learned that morning is not the time
To deadhead these perennial Hibiscus.
Here they start blooming around the 4th of July.
And if you deadhead consistently and properly
You’ll have some blooms through Labor Day.
And these are BLOOMS.
The size of dinner plates.
But they only last one day.
And as they close their petals
At the end of their single day of glory
They create a soft cocoon.
That Bumblebees consider
A perfect bed and breakfast.
They seems to have struck
A balance in their life.
Doing the work that God created them to do.
And just “beeing”.
Enjoy the week in your garden.
We are having some splendid days this fall.
Granted, a few days are warmer than usual.
But overall this is one of the reasons
I love life on the Great Plains.
The cool crisp days
Filled with sunshine
Many here are putting in fall vegetable gardens.
Our summers have gotten a little “toasty” for tomatoes.
So now we often get as many if not more in the fall than summer.
That has certainly been the case at my house.
Because I have ridiculously over committed myself this fall
I’m finding little to no time to spend in my garden.
I have managed to get some transplanting done.
Ferns, Hostas and Hydrangeas have all been relocated
To a happier home – hopefully.
I’ve pulled fallen plants out of the ground where they block my path.
Beyond that I’m afraid time in the garden just isn’t happening.
These are the days that my garden teaches me grace.
That unrelenting giving that God and gardens are known for.
It’s as if they are saying to me
You can ignore my but…
I’m still here.
I’m not going anywhere.
I will be here for you
When you take a minute to slow down
And let me in.
I’m not only here
I have much to give
To teach you
And to share.
I love the mundane.
Now I realize that isn’t “culturally correct”.
But really, there is nothing like a day of regular.
And that is what today was – mundane – regular – wonderful.
After a quick trip to the last Farmers’ Market.
I headed straight to the back yard
The goal was to finish transplanting on “the hill”.
It began about a month ago.
I was tired of the vinca minor running the show.
So I began to dig it up
And pull it back like a carpet.
Then I transplanted 5 big ferns.
I’m not sure but I think they are Cinnamon ferns.
They’ve settled in nicely.
So, today was the day to dig the hostas in the front bed
And bring them to their new home on the hill.
These were planted about 3 years ago.
They were bare root so they were tiny.
Unfortunately they just get too much sunshine in the front
And the last 2 summers they have simply fried.
So a home on the hill under the shade of the old cedar trees
Should make them much happier.
The root balls were the size of small trees.
I’m thinking they’ll be just fine.
Smaller hostas were also relocated.
Layered in the front between the Hellebores and Ferns.
I did have my assistant gardener close by
She has figured out that when I dig
And she loves worms!
Unfortunately some things disappeared.
My favorite pruners can’t be located.
My best guess is I buried them under one of those
Didn’t have the energy to dig around for them.
Hopefully they’ll surface tomorrow!
There are lots of little surprises
In the fall garden.
So on this
I thought I’d share a few.
May you find the blessings
Of a mundane day soon.
They are one of the great gifts of fall
And in my book fall has many gifts.
You may recall about a year ago when
I realized I needed to move my Dahlia bed
From it’s original home that had become too shady
To the east side of my Garden House.
It’s much sunnier here
Meaning more Dahlia blooms.
Just love that.
These dramatic blooms
Are an explanation point toward the end of the garden season.
Dahlias are relatively easy to grow.
Plant the tubers 6″ – 8″ deep in the early spring
After the nights warm up past freezing.
I usually go ahead and put up the fencing
As soon as I plant them.
Actually I use triangular tomato cages
Reinforced with a little re-bar.
Because to get blooms the size of your head
You get lots and lots of plant.
So fencing from the beginning
Insures that you keep them growing up
And not everywhere else.
Then as the bloom stocks grow and grow
I stake them individually.
Because giant blooms
Are not a good combination.
It sound like more work than it actually is
But like most things in life
It’s well worth it!
Enjoy this glorious fall.
P.S. The Bees like them,too!