Weekly Garden Journal #2

I love the sleep that rewards a day of working in the garden. I wake up feeling like I’ve been healed and nourished, praying “God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world”.

That is, unless it’s another rainy, gloomy, cool-ish day like today.  That’s Spring for ya, a moody little witch that can get you high in the 70s and kill that buzz with a low 40…

We had some good work-days this week.  All of the veggies are in.  I’ve kept one bed free for a second sowing of green beans.  The original bed is sloow popping up, thanks to those 40s and some pounding rain, but I think they’ll be okay.  I’ve changed around some of the container contents, and may change them again. I ended up with too many bell peppers and roma tomatoes and had no choice but to plant as many as I could find space for.  I still have 4 peppers and 1 roma left, if anybody’s interested…

 

The Big Excitement, though, is Phase I of our Bird Garden.  We spend quite a bit of time watching the birds, especially in the winter and we realized we wanted our feeders to be closer, and where we could more easily see.  Inspired by Sharon Sorenson’s book, Planting Native to Attract Birds to Your Yard , I started envisioning planting a playground for our birds to frolic as we while away the winter watching..

You’ve probably noticed that I change my mind a Lot, but this is a start.  First thing we bought was a Sweet Bay Magnolia.  This tree is allegedly a bird-magnet, providing a little something for every season.  I already have a 10-year-old Jane magnolia, but that is not native.  The birds love it, though, and it is a great backdrop for photos in the winter.  The sweet bay grows larger than Jane, and we put it strategically away from the house, positioned to eventually touch the Jane’s branches.

I broke my rules and bought another non-native Jane because I wanted a smaller tree to define the south boundary of the garden.  The hummingbird feeders are hanging to either side of the south door and already are hosting hummers.

In my head is this grand design using picket fencing, but in order to get things going for next winter’s bird-watching, we simply moved the bird feeders currently in use and planted native rudbeckia and echinacea around the poles.  We still need to widen the flower area, but that is some tenacious weed growing there.   Sharon didn’t have to tell me how much the birds love the black-eyed Susans and purple coneflower! I can hardly wait to watch the goldfinches feast on them.

In the next phase, we’re adding a Viburnum and some sweet virginia sweetspire around the south side for them to feast on, though that’s out of our sight..   I hope by winter we’ll have a ground-level bubbler added, but for now we’ve got an old birdbath thrown down for water…  Still needs Imagination when I look at it, but I like it…

Last year, looking for a red perennial vine, I found a half-dead Rebecca clematis at Lowes, brought it home and nursed it back to health, but not bloom.  Check it out this year!

While the heavens water the gardens here at Sonnystone, I’ll be turning my attention to the weather in Louisville tomorrow for the Oaks and Saturday for the Kentucky Derby…

 Peace

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New Beginnings

Every year we watch as the green returns to the grasses and the trees bud, checking the temperatures, measuring the rains…  I look out the windows and plan the planting, imagining a summer garden lush with flowers and vegetables.  The containers are pulled out of the shed, emptied and cleaned, ready to be filled.    The porches that have served as storage are now serving as cozy sitting areas where we rest after our labors.

This Spring has been the best we’ve had in years, meaning there have been no hard frosts (or snow!) to kill the tender buds of the dogwoods, magnolia, and redbuds and they are now flourishing.  The daffodils came out in exuberant droves, the forsythia and quince bloomed in an abundant array of beauty.

The pollens are also prolific and my sinuses are blooming with snot…  Mornings sound like a TB ward around here as I clear my throat from the night’s drainage, but I can live with it just to be out gardening in the Spring.

The average last day of frost in these parts is April 15, but I’m still leery of planting vegetables.  I remember too many Derby Days (first Saturday in May) wearing a coat and winter hat and have learned to be patient.

Just to tide me over, I bought a small 4-pack of Roma tomatoes, Big Bertha and California Wonder peppers, an a sweet cherry 100 and put them over in larger pots.  They should be the right size to plant in about a month when I can plop them in the (warm) ground.

Cilantro and arugula have been put into buckets. Peas have been planted behind the young asparagus.

There is plenty of clean-up to be done.  I have moved everything out of the East garden–mostly daisies, a few coreopsis–and it is ready for a new vision.    I have daisies coming out the wazoo, but they don’t fit in with the plan for my Bird Garden, so they’ve been relegated to the front porch area and over in the North garden. There are a lot of leftovers…always a challenge.

 For now I’m going to plant my four pots of lavender in front of the hydrangea.

I started gardening 26 years ago when my daughter went off to college, the dog died, and I needed a hobby.  Inspired by the old farmers I was visiting as a home health nurse, it seemed to me to be the best way to Live, connected to the earth, giving and taking with the seasons.  It started with some herbs, some tomatoes and green beans.  It grew to water features and compost bins and thyme-covered paths. I have failed too many times to count, but never did I fail to grow something…and that was enough to keep me going.   Every year, sure as Spring, I return to the Garden and fall in love…

Clearly, nature calls to something very deep within us.  When I am in the garden, whether or not the thing grows is not the point; whether the garden is symmetrical is irrelevant.  The weeding and the watering or just the admiration of the season is All.

The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological. I have no doubt that they reflect deep changes in the brain’s physiology, and perhaps even its structure.  …. Oliver Sacks

Gardening has changed my brain, I’m certain, and has built pathways directly to my Soul where we are All One. You and me and all Living things and all meditations and all prayers and all art and all songs are the Same working together as One in the Moment that is the Only Moment:  Now.

I’m so happy to be back at the blog, as well.  I hope you’ll enjoy spending some time in the Sonnystone Gardens with me this Growing Season.

Peace