Monday, August 08, 2005

i know you

Saturday, I re-introduced myself to my garden, having been away for many days, and then finding myself busy and the temps to hot to do much more than look.

I don't know how unique this is to other gardeners, but sometimes after digesting what I've seen for a few days, I begin to just start doing, pulling here or there, cleaning out, moving or pinching back. The connection is between my fingers (and eyes) with the actual garden.

The result is stepping outside of normal time, and in a hyper-focus, entering into what appears to be work to outsiders, but is refreshing to me ... until the next day when stiffness has set in, and I realize how much I strained muscles in my back and legs that are not used to being bent or stretched in what I suppose is somewhat unnatural. The curse of modern times that bending over and pulling and cutting and digging are not ordinary tasks.

Or I am just getting older, and the pain appears after such a day to be getting harder. Perhaps there is a book on stretching for older gardeners (and their fellow aging baby-boomers).

Mostly, I cut back overgrown spirea that had crowded out companion perennials, and I slaughtered quite a few tall asters, pulling errant or stray ones out by the roots, and cutting back others, knowing that the time window for pinching them has probably already closed. Good riddance, then. The short amount of blooms in late summer don't cover their wild crowding, covering out shorter plants, and blocking the glories of the oh-so-few currently blooming perennails like the summer phlox, the cone flowers, and the rubeckia called "brown-eyed Susans" here -- I guess they're more brown than black, but I always thought of them as "blacked-eyed." Proof, I suppose that we should all talk (or write in botanical correctness), but frankly, I don't get as much a thrill from the bontanical nomenclature as I do from the more familiar common names, particularly of those plants that are fairly common or basic.

The Japanese anemones are starting to put up tall flower shoots. I saw a few blooming in England, but not so many. They have thrived in my garden all summer, moved from their original home by the roses -- I am still pulling smaller ones out of that area from time to time, usually to put in a new place somewhere else or to give to a friend, but on Saturday, I was a bit more ruthless. It all went into the mulch piles that I am using to kill grass in spots that still need beds.

I deadheaded many of the Shastas (becky) that bloomed heavily while I was gone, but still have some flowers and buds on their stalks. I am not sure how much deadheading at this point will encourage new blooms, but at least those that are coming up or are blooming will not have to compete with the dead, shrivelled flowers. I cut back my monardia, too. The pink ones are full of healthy leaves, but the taller red ones are exhausted. I am hopeful that cutting them back will give them an opportunity to have a little more leaf growth, if not flowers, before fall.

The vegetable garden is healthy. The tomatoes are finally coming ripe, the big yellow flowers of the pumkin vines are setting fruit, and the pole beans are producing. The weeds were kept under control while I was gone -- Not one for much imposed orderliness in the garden, I am always impressed by the neat structure of rowed vegetable gardens.

I also cut back the woody spots in the lavender and thyme, and cleaned out debris from under the big stachys (lamb's ear). And while I don't consider it gardening, I did fight the tall grass in the backyard and mowed it, having done the front earlier in the week.


Shelley said...

Tomatoes? Nummy. Tomatoes fresh from the garden.

I get that way, the focus, when I'm taking pictures, and writing. Not the tech writing -- my 'odd' writing. Mostly, though, when I'm out on a walk, taking photos. It's like you, the thinking you, steps out of the way, and just lets the feeling you, the sensing you, do its thing.

Great isn't it? Even worth the aches and pains.

Don said...

Shelley -- that is a perfect description of how I experience gardening. I am often careful in how I describe that because I try not to talk about gardening in mystical terms, but you capture it.

And yes, the aches are quickly forgotten.

Rob said...

I enjoyed catching up on your blog again--ready about Scotty running, books and bookstores, and--of course--your garden.

I did a count of beetles tonight on a quick pass through the garden, and I collected 92. I had made another more thorough pass earlier in the day, so I am sure there are still hundreds of beetle happily feeding on my plants each day. I'll sure be happy when they are through.

My pumpkins are suffering from borers. What do you do for them?

And alot of my tomatoes succumbed to yellow leaves that turned brown and then eventually the plant died. I didn't spray at all this year, so I guess that's the result.

I think I should've stayed on vacation a little longer...

Don said...

rob -- welcome back from vacation. Too bad about your tomatoes. Did you plant them in the same ground as previous years? Sometimes there is a bacteria or fungi in the dirt after a few years. It's best to rotate the tomatoes so that they are not planted in the same dirt each year.

I don't know about pumpkin borers (or evidently how to spell pumpkin). I think the j. beetles are winding down in their horrid devastation for this year.