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Welcome To My Garden

 

I take a walk every morning and every evening in the Columbus Park next to where I live. The mowers were busy cutting the grass this morning, so the scent of newly mowed grass was heavy in the hot and humid air.

I love the smell of newly mowed grass. Even though grass is one of the top three irritants that set my allergies off I still love that scent. 

The park behind my apartment. The view from my office.

The walking trail is just beyond the tree line.

I love to garden too. I like to dig in the dirt and then watch flowers grow and bloom. I do not garden as much as I once did. A back injury ten or eleven years ago has limited my ability in that area. But I still manage to get in some container gardening.

Over many years of gardening I have made a few observations.

First, the universe is weighted in favor of life. This is especially true with regard to weeds. It is true for flowers and vegetables too. But the weeds are more serious and aggresive about it. If  a seed of any plant or weed  falls in an itsy-bitsy piece of dirt, even if it is just a crack in the sidewalk,  it somehow manages to sprout and grow. The flower will eventually die. However, you will not be able to pry the weed out with a jackhammer.

Nevertheless, flowers and plants can withstand a lot of abuse, from heat, cold, drought, downpours, and even neglect. 

I think people are like that too. 

Second, failure is not permanent. And maybe what I think is failure is not failure at all. This spring I bought a huge planter with gorgeous yellow and pink zinnias. About two weeks later I noticed that the plant was being eaten alive by a type of bug I had never seen before. I sprayed, but it was too late. The leaves and most of the flowers had been eaten away. If it hadn’t been so hot at the time (and if I weren’t so naturally lazy, and so good at it!) I would have cut them down and thrown them away.

But I did not. Hallelujah for laziness!

A couple of days after discovering the dead  flowers I was sitting at my computer. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some activity in that plant. I got up and looked out the window to see what it was. I discovered a dozen or so goldfinches flitting in and out of and from dead flower to dead flower.

They were feasting on the seeds in the middle of those dead zinnia flowers. It was absolutely delightful to watch.

The goldfinches come daily now. I welcome them. They are a colorful and delightful addition to my garden. And a few new zinnias have bloomed as well.

When I saw the devasation I thought it was a dead and ugly failure. What these beautiful little birds saw and thought was, “WOW!!! A gourmet dinner!! 

Who would have ever guessed?  I opened a restaurant for the birds!

My dead zinnias and a goldfinch dinner table.

Nature goes at it’s own pace and timetable. You cannot hurry Mother Nature. I bought a scraggly geranium on sale late last fall for $10. You know the kind of plant I mean. A Charlie Brown sort of Christmas tree. The garden store was getting ready to put out their winter holiday items and they had a few left over summer plants they were trying to get rid of. The geranium was bright neon deep pink with pointed petals. I had never seen anything like it. It was gorgeous. And for only $10 what could I lose?

When I got home I cleaned the plant up and cut off some of the scragglier parts. I watered and fed it. Then I placed it in front of my fireplace. It had good east and south light there. I tended it and fed it all winter long. It survived. I could not wait for spring so that I could transplant it into a larger pot and watch it bloom.

But it was a poor, stormy, and cold spring for plants. I set it outside during the day and brought it in at night. It looked very anemic. The plant did not seem to take to the outdoors. I transplanted it into a larger pot so its roots could stretch out and grow. And for a few days it looked good. But then it started to wither up again. It looked worse than when I bought it.

It got cold so I brought it back inside for a couple of weeks. Then it got warm again and I put it back outside. It was touch and go for several weeks. It looked ugly. All scraggly branches and no green leaves. And then slowly, day by day, it just decided to grow. Soon it had one flower. Within a few days it had 5 or 6 flowers.

After nursing it all winter, in late spring the geranium decided to bloom.

You can see the first bloom at the top right. If you look closely you can see a few more blooms on the left.

Today this once scraggily geranium is now the star in my garden.

 

The Supremes sang, You Can’t Hurry Love.  I say (because you do not want to hear me sing) you can’t hurry a garden; or life either for that matter. 

Perfection is not attainable. No matter how much I plan for my garden some disaster will almost always occur. The bugs eat flowers. A strong gust of wind breaks a stem. Or heavy rain knocks all the petals off another flower. Dogs or cats dig a hole right where my prized weeds are. But you know. A flower doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

And so it is with life and people. 

As for gardening, the long and short of it is this:  Gardening is the subtle art of destroying weeds and bugs to grow flowers and vegetables for the birds and animals to eat.

If I can accept and enjoy that, then I can accept and enjoy anything life sends my way.

No recipe today. I will be back with a recipe in a day or two. I’m busy serving some goldfinches lunch.

Some more views of my garden.

My prized weed. I actually planted allisium seeds in that pot. But they did not take.  And look how healthy and tall my weed is. I think it is pretty cool so I keep it around.

The empty pots you spy in the background are for vegetables: tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, etc. But due to the rainy and cold spring I never got round to planting them.  Maybe next year.

If you look carefully at the left side of the picture, toward the middle, you will just see a bit of a turquoise pot. It is sitting on a ledge on the fence. There are three pots sitting there. That turquoise pot you can almost see is where my prize weed is sitting. The other two pots have allisium growing in them Who would want to see fragrant, pretty allisium when my weed is so beautiful????

  

Don’t laugh!! I mean you never know. The bones of a mastodon were found in Johnstown, Ohio. Mastodons were an elephant like prehistoric animal. Johnstown is about 50 miles northeast of Columbus. So see, you never know.

Quote of the day   

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. 

Author Unknown

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2 comments to Welcome To My Garden

  • Carol Sternberg

    I love your garden and your philosophy. I too am very connected to the earth and my dear friends planted there. I also love garden benches. I have three and I do sit on them!

  • Rubybeets

    It is so cool to see the face of someone you have talked to for so long! I like you! And I thoroughly enjoyed the artcle as well.