The pile

compost piles and a treasureJust in time for the winter’s first snow, this lazy gardener finally cut back and raked and even weeded a tiny-tiny bit.  It’s embarrassing to think that this is what I enjoy doing for a living and my garden is, aside from a week or two in the summer, the neighborhood eyesore.  The front garden was all melted annuals, fallen perennial stalks, weeds and leaf drifts.  While I’m all for leaving the critters some hiding places, I managed to remove a double size wheelbarrow pile (why make two trips when you can balance an extra load on top?) and still left plenty of embarrassing critter cover.

In the back I finally cleaned up the Nicotine Patch – that’s what I like to call the small lasagna bed that Z and I made in the heat of summer as research for a PPP article.  I had planted a couple of tomatoes and a few other veg but it was the Nicotiana that dominated and melted Nicotiana stalks leaning on the grass that guilted me whenever I sat here and looked out the window.

I think the real reason I finally caved to neatness (relative neatness, that is) was that I was sick of hearing myself tell anyone who asked, that my garden was a disaster waiting for relief.  I like to think that it makes me sound busy and important to say I don’t have time or energy for my own garden. But really it just makes me sound like a dope in the wrong line of work.  I love my work and I love that I finally have my very own garden and it’s high time I get back out there. (now that it’s snowing I can say that and mean it all the while keeping my slippers on.)

Cryptomeria in living color - barely living.The other thing that will keep pulling me back into my own garden is plant lust.  This little tree was given to me last spring and I couldn’t decide where to plant it – it’s a Cryptomeria, maybe ‘Elegans’.  So I neglected it and was convinced that I’d killed it.  But when I started cleaning up a couple of months ago before the frost, I noticed that it had turned an alarming and beautiful shade of burgundy-purple- copper and I was compelled by amazement to not throw it out but to heal it in for the winter instead.  I still don’t know where to put it but if it’s going to be this color every fall/winter, I’m damn well going to plant it in some spot of honor first thing next spring.  And so, and so my garden will grow.  And hopefully I’ll keep wanting to work in it sometimes.

What gets you out into the garden when you’d rather keep your slippers on?

4 thoughts on “The pile”

  1. You should see my garden…a study in brown! I didn’t get to the leaves …and won’t until January! We don’t get a snow cover so everyday is a reminder of unfinished projects! let’s make a pact to not beat ourselves up…too much! Gail

    Gail, it’s a deal! -kris

  2. Yay! glad we’re not the only ones with a pile. It was a wire bin I made, but when we opened it up to turn the pile, someone (I won’t mention his name) didn’t close it back up , so it’s half a falling down bin. I lament this every time we let the Beagle out, since he loves nothing more than to eat compost (contains kitchen scraps too)…so in my slippers I can very authoritatively say that when it thaws, I’ll be out there putting it back together, and finishing/extending my wall, and…will that be March or April?
    p.s. there are plenty of places for critters in the various wood/brush piles at the edge of our yard, shared by us and our neighbor. So I don’t feel so bad that there’s not much cover in our little garden beds.

    Lynn, My compost bins are in sad shape too and worse yet – I haven’t been very good at turning them. So lately I’ve just been dumping debris next to them… ack. -kris

  3. Tucker and a cup of Joe get me out into the garden this time of year. I can’t believe you have any shabby spots in the garden!

    Ha! No shabby spots?! Seeing is believing. -kris

  4. when I started the horticulture program we were renters and all I had to do was come home take a shower and put my slippers on…

    what draws me in is the beauty of it all. Just yesterday my wife asked how I was planning on maintaining the home garden this year in the midst of often being ready to shower and put my slippers on…

    as for beating ourselves up— a friend recently reminded me that the concept of nonviolence also applies to how we think about ourselves.


    ooh – good point! Thank you very much, Wayne. (I wonder if there’s a bumpersticker) -kris

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