Sunny Sunday

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First Sunday of fall. The sun is shining and the weather is cool. A perfect late September day.

Time to put the ‘working tools’ garden to bed for winter. Daylilies divided. Hose and gutter drains in place, mulch down.

This is part of the frog garden, thus the dancing frogs.

The hack?  A thick–more than four inches–layer of mulch under the hose cart to prevent weeds.

 

 

Fall Clean-up

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It’s time.  We have seven flower and nine veggie raised beds that need clean-up for winter. Starting in the bed closest to the road, we weeded, pruned, divided, and mulched.

Anchored by two giant pin oaks, this bed has changed from mostly sun to mostly shade. That’s how much the oaks have grown in the past ten years. I’ve been moving the hostas from the north side–where I’ll plant more ferns this coming spring–to circle the trees.

But the sedum autumn joy and pink chrysanthemum don’t seem to mind the diminished sunshine. Next spring, before the oaks leaf out, the bed will be a riot of daffodils and tulips.

Meanwhile, the mulch is spread and, while we’ll have to keep an eagle eye out for newly emerging weeds, this bed is ready for what will hopefully be a snowy winter. One down. Six to go.

Garden Tragedy

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We’ve had such bad luck with gardening this year. April was too cold. June was too hot. And it’s been plain too dry. We’ve gone from moderate to severe drought, although lots of folks west and north of us have had enough rain to keep going.

It was supposed to rain today. It did. At least, the south windows had a few sprinkles.

Watching our lettuces and Cole crops fail, our cucumbers flower sans fruit, our tomatoes turn black, our eggplant surrender to bugs … Need I continue?

Instead of giving everything over to weeds, we covered each garden bed with black trash bags, held down with bricks. No, we didn’t buy the bricks. We’ve been carrying these around since 2000 when we brought them with us from the Overland Park house. As you can see, they’ve come in handy.

The trash bags will keep the weeds from sprouting and, with the beds covered long enough, may even retard weed germination for the next gardening season. If the drought continues, we’ll just leave things covered.

If the drought continues … let’s hope this isn’t a sign of climate change. We could have floods as easily if the pendulum swing is wild enough. And which is worse?

Let Go to Keep Going

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I went out back yesterday, and in addition to experiencing the ridiculous heat index of 100 plus degrees Fahrenheit, I experienced dismay at seeing cottonwood tree leaves. Yellow and on the ground. My six-year-old trees, stressed to the max, and it’s only mid-July. Darn.

Cottonwoods, native to the Midwest, typically lose leaves in late summer or early fall. Or when it’s  extremely dry or unusually hot. No, it’s not late summer. But the heat and lack of rain has caught up with the trees. They’ve shed about 10 percent of their leaves, which helps the tree survive. All the extension office websites I checked agree that the trees aren’t in danger. Yet.

Is there a lesson in that? For me? For you? For the country?

‘Nuff said.

Lesson in Persistence No. Two

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I’m at that point with my work in progress (WIP). Time to chalk it up as a bad experience, lessons learned, and move on. Maybe I’ll give up writing altogether–or so I tell my fabulous editor/coach.

No, no, no, she emails back. You’re closer than you think.

Okay. Maybe.

And while I’m cogitating, Jim asks me what I want to do with the ‘old tree out back’. This poor thing was a 40 foot cottonwood that has been here since before the acreage was divided and the house was  built some 30 years ago. It’s been dying a slow and painful death since we moved in. This spring, Jim cut the tree down and left the stump.

I thought we’d poly it and use it as a garden seat. I neglected to say the words out loud to Jim, and he left it be. As you see, the tree persists in being something. Not the cottonwood it was. Maybe a cottonwood bush. And surrounding the stump are little trees popping out of the grass. Like so.

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I have this notion that I should be able to write three or four novels a year.  And I have, but not different books. I’ve rewritten the same book, three times going on four.

Now here I am, at the start of the second year, deciding whether to persist. Have I learned to be more tree-like?