Focus

IMG_6561

As a more-or-less right brained person, I tend to see wholes instead of parts. Sometimes this is a plus. Like when planning a garden or a novel.

But when it comes down to the nitty-gritty—weeding and editing—I tend to get overwhelmed by all the little pieces. And for me, overwhelmed means immobilized.

I do better when I focus on just this one thing.  

This chapter, page, sentence rather than the entire work. This one garden, section, plant rather than the whole yard. When I narrow my focus, I’m more likely to keep moving forward.

We have a courtyard off the master bedroom and the centerpiece is a 15-foot Japanese maple (Acer Bloodgood) that by rights, should not have lived in windy Kansas. During last fall’s storms, branches banged on the roof and gutters until Jim tied them back.

In February, we gave the tree a hard prune—30 percent. The photo? On this branch where we made a cut, the tree focused on just this little sucker today …  Pretty. 

Email from Face Book

IMG_6549 (2)

It’s been 48 days since I deactivated Face Book, so I’m a little more than halfway to my 90 day commitment.

Face Book has taken to sending me emails that say stuff like: Your friend so-and-so has updated their status. Go and see what they’re up to.

Uh-uh, guys. I know if I click and enter my password, I’m reactivated. Although, in a way I’m glad Face Book wants me back enough to chase me. I miss my online friends and family.

As for the photo, this is the first–and maybe only–Siberian iris so far this year. If it truly turns out to be the ‘only’, I’ll need to plant more.

 

 

 

 

Here Come the Peonies

IMG_6535

My front garden’s looking a bit jungle-like with three giant peony plants coming into bloom, along with the irises. And the false indigo. And the clematis.

Speaking of peonies, how do you pronounce the word? When I lived in Omaha, it was pronounced pee-nee, and Omaha has Peony Park amusement park. Folks would ask, “Did you get out to Pee-Nee Park this year?” And since I originally hail from the East Coast, I thought it was spelled Pee-Nee. To go along with Ak-Sar-Ben.

Here in Kansas, especially south of Kansas City, folks are likely to say pee-oh-nees, with the accent on the second syllable. Me, I say pee-a-nee, accent on the first, and leave it at that.

However you say it, they’re gorgeous, even covered in ants.

Persistence

IMG_6524-nepetha

Do you see that frilly leafed plant at the bottom of the photo? Unless I miss my guess, that’s Nepeta (Catmint) Walker’s Low. It has a lovely blue flower and a musty smell. When in bloom, bees and butterflies will cover it, making it difficult for an insect-phobic human like me to get close enough to weed.

Fifteen years ago, I planted a tiny Walker’s Low plant that in five years’ time grew so large it took over a third of my front flower bed.  In the fall of 2008, I spent three days ripping it out.  I dug deep and then deeper to get every bit of root.

Or so I thought.

Now it’s 2018 and if my powers of identification are correct, here it comes again. Out of the ground, like the unwanted dead haunting my garden. Not quite sure what I’ll do. Tear it out? Leave it, having learned to prune it back—severely—every fall? Whatever I do, I gotta admire its persistence.

This past year, I’ve had my own lessons in persistence. I’ve been a technical writer for many years but always wanted to write dark fiction.

Fantasy. Horror. Paranormal (gasp) romance.

But I didn’t just want to write stuff and put it away in a box or on a flash drive for posterity. I wanted to publish. In my lifetime.

Last year, I decided it was time to figure out how. Without burdening you (at least not yet) with all the details, I stumbled upon a fabulous coach who taught me what my Walker’s Low already knew. Keep at it. Do the work. Show up. Persist.

After 14 months of alternating between discouragement and determination, I have two short stories, publication forthcoming sometime this summer. Stay tuned…

Surprise!

IMG_6507 (2)

Just planted this black lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra) and it’s already blooming pink.  I’ve tried elderberries out of online catalogs without success.

So if you need a reason to buy local, here it is.

Black Spot on My Fringe Tree

IMG_6509

Last year, I planted a stick that claimed to be a North American Fringe tree. Located in the front of the house, I planned on it growing according to the label–ten feet in about five years.

I’ve since read other labels attached to North American fringe trees (not sticks) and found that the native fringe tree is a moderate grower that will reach 18 feet. So I may have planted my stick in the wrong spot.

Meanwhile, after our April rain of two inches, I noticed some black spots on the leaves. I’ve done my research and the tree needs fruit tree fungicide. If I don’t spray, eventually the tree will die.

Maybe I should let it die? No, that seems cruel. I should dig it up and replant it somewhere in the back. And get a shorter tree for the front.

Or I can spray it with fungicide and leave it where it is. I have the right fungicide. Problem is, the wind has to die down before I use it. At the moment, we have winds SSW at 12 MPH. Way too much wind for spraying.

If I had more money than time, I’d replant and replace.

Decisions…

 

Annual Trek for Annuals

IMG_0081

Every spring we haul over gravel roads to Cleveland, MO to Sullivan’s Greenhouse, open to the public only in April and May, and only on Saturdays. Yesterday, we ran into several Extension Master Gardener friends also buying annuals at wholesale prices.

If you live in the KC area and you’ve never been to Sullivan’s, it’s worth the trip.

The photo shows one of 11 or 12 high tunnels of annual flowers and a selection of vegetables.