I dozed off last night at 7:15 and why shouldn’t I? It was raining, it was cold, and it was really dark. Besides, we had turned off Monday Night Football so my daughter could watch an episode of The Berenstain Bears and, try as I might, I just can’t maintain interest in the "Mystery of Stinky Cow Milk" since the mystery is missing after 5 or 6 viewings. So I fell asleep. Two months ago I would have been outside doing something in the yard instead of drooling in my chair.
|A season's worth of rampant growth and this salvia is out of control and you can't even see the other plants.|
Because I work pretty standard hours, most of my gardening takes place on the weekends or, during the summer months, after work. So when the nights are dark and the weekends are packed with other things that need to be done, it presents scheduling challenges for me as a gardener. What I have done lately in the yard can only be described as the bare minimum - maintaining a “someone probably still lives here” appearance. In other words, I’ve mowed the lawn, picked up buckets of dog poop, and recycled about a dozen fliers advertising landscaping services (I think they have been targeting my house since it looks like I could use their help).
|These Kangaroo Paw blooms last forever - or until mid-October, whichever comes first.|
During my lunch break today I went home and had a look around the yard since the sun had finally come out and I have missed connecting with my yard. What I saw depressed me though. Everything looks gross. Crepe myrtle blossoms that once looked great on the tree are now slippery booger-looking things on my pathway. Our rainy season finally arrived but I failed to adjust the drip irrigation timer so everything that hates wet feet is looking worse for wear. Most of the plants that were in their glory this summer now look spent and gangly. It's almost as if it never looked good . . .
|This is just too messy for me.|
There are plenty of lessons I can learn from this experience. I could remember to adjust the sprinkler systems earlier next year. I could schedule a vacation day next October to devote to fall clean up chores. I could change my pathway to something easier to sweep and keep clean since it’s apparent that the stepping stone look I thought I loved is not actually compatible with my personality . . . or, I could take the advice of Deborah Silver who recently wrote this bit of gardening wisdom:
I do not have the means or space to mount and maintain a garden that is lovely every moment of the entire season. I have to make choices. I like a late and a later season garden . . . This has every bit as much to do with my availability, as their form and flowers. There are very few garden plants I do not like. I would have them all, if I could.
But there are those plants that get special care and attention, as their time to be corresponds with my time to give. The big late blooming perennials-they occupy a special place in my gardening heart. As for your garden, I would make this suggestion. Choose the season that delights you the most-and go for broke. If you want to grow great vegetables, organize your gardening efforts accordingly, and make plans for rocking pots of basil. If you have a summer house elsewhere, make spring your season. If you are a working person, plan for a glorious garden when you are the least busy.
Trying to be all things at all times sounds way too much like a competition. A great garden that engages and satisfies an individual gardener is all about enabling a certain quality of life. Those astonishingly beautiful pictures you see of gardens in magazines-they are all about a specific moment chosen by a gardener. Choose your moment.
|My Aha! Moment needs a light bulb above my head, but all I have is this lantern.|