Gardens grow

Sumac and Pinder's PerchBear with me a minute while I try to work out whether I garden because my garden needs me or because I need to garden. To garden or not to garden is the question. Sort of. (Not really.) But I just spent a week in a full-bloom place where I wouldn’t dream of gardening. I had forgotten just how diverse and spectacular the plant life is on the island shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario. I could have spent the whole time cataloging rose, meadowsweet spirea, bunches of grasses, sumac, cardinal flower, mosses, ferns, lichens (bright orange!), chives, shad bush, chokecherry, beeches and wind whipped pines. roses in the morning Everything planted by wind and opportunity in rock pockets and more spectacularly designed than any LA’s dreamiest dream. meadowsweetI wouldn’t want to mess with any of it. But I had to wonder, if I was there longer than a week or two – say if I lived there for a whole season, would I feel the urge to edit? To add anything? To prune a little? Would the landscape be improved by my ministrations? I answer a resounding NO! to the last rhetorical question – but I would have loved to use snips on the thicket of dead twigs in the wild rose bushes and a few edibles in a raised bed or containers wouldn’t wreck the gestalt, would it? And can’t help but wonder what my own landscape would look like if it had always been left to its own devices. What if the invasive ornamentals like bittersweet, multiflora rose, Norway maples and goutweed had never been introduced? What lovely forest would surround my house? Would I, could I leave it alone? Since the milk was spilled though and the forest was cleared, I figure I pretty much have to tend my garden.

But evidently it grows quite well without me too. In one tiny week, everything that hadn’t even been close to blooming (or so I thought) opened up. I didn’t need to be here at all for everyone to get on with the business of growing.

cardoonsNo path left in the sideyard gardena not-so-dwarf-after-all miscanthus

The weeds also grew gangbusters and so did the Late Blight on the tomatoes and I guess that’s where I come in handy. My garden needs me after all which works out pretty well since I guess I need to garden too.

And it’s so nice to know I’m not alone. A little detour on the long drive to Curly Rocks brought me to the most beautiful garden in Slaterville Springs, NY where Nino had a chance to cavort with his new best Buddy, Z got to talk bikes! with Chris and I got to bask in the gracious company of a favorite fellow plantaholic. Thank you, Lynn – garden on!

Nino and Buddy

Filling the void

The longer I go between blah-blahs the less I desire I have to post. It’s like making a phone call. Pretty soon I’ve just got to dial it or else the guilt eats me alive – and the resulting conversation is always a great thing. I don’t have any-much guilt in this case just an overwhelming sense that there’s too much to catch up on – and the longer it goes the more overwhelmed I feel and so I keep opting for another chapter and nap on the couch instead. But not really that much has changed – without further ado, here’s a nutshell synopsis of the last few weeks:

The dog still has very soft ears and has gotten over some explosive poop problems and is called “well balanced” and “so cute” by strangers on the street. The cats are practiced at their favorite sport – knocking-things-off. Tee time is 4:30AM. Z is still a saint who cooks lovely things, helps me dig holes and who spent weeks repairing a boat so that we could sail away any old time.

And in the garden: I’m filling it in. The deck is bedecked with houseplants (but the house is still decorated in dirty empty saucers). Last year’s Swiss chard has put up flower buds. The plume poppies along the path are still demure and the mint is still a perfect steppable. I’m in love with woolly thyme. I’m cultivating an ox-eye daisy farm apparently and have picked enough lettuce leaves the last couple of weeks for 2 salads for 2 people every day and I can’t keep up. The nine-bark I moved stopped sulking and bloomed its brains out. The clematis ‘Roguchi’ on the fence popped open this week and was leaning dangerously until we bought a handsome wrought iron crutch for it. I’m disappointed in the clash of my white rugosa rose anywhere near the filipendula but I have no idea which to move and where. I have begun to set in roof slates (acquired from work) around the beds and have only broken several. The 30 lb. Scotts silent push mower needs sharpening and makes me feel somewhat homicidal. (I’d kill for my neighbor’s horrid gas mower) but I’ve spent at least as much time every weekend taking out grass as I’ve spent mowing it.

The only thing I really regret about my absence from this portion of the blogosphere not keeping up with you all. I’ll be making the rounds again and meanwhile for your viewing pleasure, here are a few pictures not of my garden but one mine aspires to emulate – it’s completely lawnless! (and 30 years in the making.)