Monday, September 28, 2020

Musings as the gardens tiptoe into autumn...


Aromatic Aster

Autumn colors are a bit muted this year

Winterthur Viburnum leaves turning black,
not a color usually associated with fall

As I step out into the moist freshness a few days of drizzling rain brings, the lightness of happiness turns a bit melancholic as I survey the ruins of a construction project on hold until the moisture evaporates enough for work to resume as usual.  I could lament about the loss of pride to do a job well done, but it is a sad cry I've had too many times before with hired help, so we'll skip past all that miserable blubbering.

Suffice to say, a spring snapped on the old rusty garage door that opened and closed on a room too small for a car, leaving the space christened the garden shed.  It snapped while I was standing in front ready to take my first step in.  Suffering a tremendous headache as the door came crashing past my bent-head taking a thin patch or arm skin with it, I shudder at visualizing my epithet if I had been standing an inch closer.

The rush of adrenalin caused a flush of heat into every inch of my body, and my heart was racing so wildly, I started deep breathing to calm myself down.  Felt like my head was jammed into my neck, and my neck jammed into my shoulders.  That was maybe three months ago, and it's been a long road back to feeling like my old worn out self again.

American Dogwood Tree berries

Euonymus americanus ~ Hearts-a-bustin'

White American Beautyberry
Purple American Beautyberry

Viburnum Winterthur
China Girl Holly (non-native)

Joe Pye Weed seed heads

Patens Aster

Up until the garden shed project to replace the front with a wall, door, and window; it had been sporadic yard work.  I worked a little, I rested a lot.  Vic worked a lot, Vic rested a little.  Three summersweet shrubs were planted into the Virginia creeper graveyard, but first we mumbled under our breaths gardening sucks as we struggled digging up two sunken baby boulders to reposition.

I guess it's been three weeks now since rain fell to flood proportions with the remnants of the hurricane passing by.  Mulch repositioned into wavy clumps gave us a road map of how the water runoff was actually moving across the grounds causing erosion.  It wasn't a pretty sight.  It was almost enough to drive me to chasing an entire lemon cream cake down with a gallon of Pepsi :'(

Chiseled out the old daylilies along the driveway, reset the stones to proper height, and tried to replace the concrete clay soil with little success.  I felt a little twang of guilt giving the old daylilies the heave-ho after they dwindled to pathetic portions as the red oaks shade kept expanding with its girth.  'Orangeman' daylily from 1902 doesn't shy away from shade, so we shall see if it was a wise replacement.

Solomon's Plume ~ Maianthemum racemosa
Growing under the oak trees

Mushroom clump growing in lawn

Swamp Sunflower beginning to bloom
Yellow petals are 3/4 inch long
 with a tiny moth (I think) resting

Common Eastern Bumble Bee on Woodland Goldenrod

It's that time of season when clouds of swarming gnats and midges appear, and as I walk through one, to inhale is not a wise choice.  The airy paten asters sprawl out under the oak trees, and are sprinkled lavishly with lavender blossoms.  Aromatic asters grow along the sunny south fence line, but airy or demure doesn't exist in their vocabulary.  They command the space shading out all intruders.  Good ground cover for little critters; but occasionally, a blast of water from the hose is needed to deter a hidden cat in need of a bird to torture.

Well, snap crackle pop!  Now I've spotted one of my newly planted summer sweet shrubs laying sweetly on its side.  Little holes here and there...probably a feast of grubs for a little creature with a stripe down its back.  Big sigh :(  Last year I placed bigger sized rocks around my baby shrubs.  This autumn seems destined to be the same.

What is this addiction Mother Nature has to critiquing my style of creativity and trying to bury it all under aggressive goldenrod, centipede grass, cleaver plants, wild vetches, thorny blackberries and spiny smilax vines?  How dare she!  Black walnut to the left, red oak in my yard, maple to the right; tree seedlings from squirrel stashes and winds will haunt me until my last breath is taken.

Beefsteak Plant ~ Perilla frutescens
Non-native and appeared on its own
It's slowly becoming invasive, so it will be eliminated.
I rather liked it once I got used to it's odious odor  :(

Basilica Orb Weaver Spider ~ Mecynogea lemniscata
Busy little spider guarding her egg sacs

Seeds falling from the White Ash Tree pictured below

Royal Catchfly

Walking the back gardens to wrap up my day, I hear little pitter pats like rain that hasn't yet decided whether to go away or flood the earth.  Then I see it...ash seeds releasing their grip on the white ash tree and sprinkling the garden below with a light dusting which eventually will become a heavy dusting as the days pass by.  Many insects are either in hiding, going on vacation, or have given up the ghost to a foraging bird.

Greeted at the feeder by two lethargic sparrows going nowhere (I could have easily picked them up); I threw the old feeder into the garbage after they finally flew off, and now there only stands a lonely bare shepherds hook.  A new feeder will grace the space after three weeks as a precaution to prevent potential illness from spreading.  It's just a feeder, but that empty space void of feathery decorations makes me feel as if I've lost an old friend.

While I realize my words are as evanescent as one day moving on into the next, and fade into time and forgottenness more quickly than I would like, I'm taking a little time out to let my gardens enslave me in weeding and planting and weeding and kicking my shoes off to just enjoy being me.  A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it ~ Dogen 1200-1253.  

Monday, September 21, 2020

Into the Deep


He sees more than you think; he knows more than you suppose...he grew up on the streets, and that's about all you really fathom of this creature more complex than a mathematical conundrum.

Although you've gained his trust after way too many years of trying, the panic seen in his eyes when just a single ripple enters into his world, confirms he will always deflect to the wild side when your life crowds in a bit too much.

You're cautious to a fault, as his memory never seems to forget your error of judgement when you choose wrong on his behalf, and forgiveness seems to be a fault more than a strong point in the eyes of this creature.

If a thousand cats showed up on your doorstep pleading choose me, choose me instead, you'd send them all away, because...well, because he choose you, and you'll never ever let him down.

He's a bit vocal with his complaints, causing everyone to admit he's in the building when he gets stressed, but in the peace of any of his days, he'll rub your legs until he gets the petting he requests.

You keep up with all his little quirks and his preferred methods of affection; and no matter the occurrences throughout his day and yours, he's always the apple of your eye come nightfall and bedtime.

I never ask myself why I can't live without cats, because I could, you know; but the void would be as if a thousand universes could easily exist within; and my home without a cat would be a home without me.

As a child, I grew up with indoor/outdoor cats that never saw the inside of a veterinary clinic.  If one became ill, it suffered, then died.  If one met a cat hater, it was sure to be poisoned at one time or another.  Male cats might show back up at the door next morning bloodied with an ear torn and limping.

They interbred, and when nature didn't eliminate the little ones fast enough, well... one day mom took photographs of the eleven to remember them, then dad stuffed them all into cardboard boxes (including my favorite), drove them out to the desert, and blew their little lives to kingdom come with his shotgun.  I was never the same again.

While this may seem a horror story, it was business as usual back then, and judging by the number of discarded cats at animal shelters, a practice that is still going strong today.  It was a black lesson in what goes wrong when one does not become responsible for the well-being of what they have tamed.

A lesson that has never been forgotten.  I never allow myself to think of anything in nature as less important than me.  It would be nice if we who believe this way were as common as pebbles on a beach; but, in reality, I think we who believe this way are a rarity more precious than gold.  That saddens me.

I need a pick-me-upper, so I'm going gardening today.  I have wild petunias, sideoats grama grass, pussytoes, columbine, cardinal flower, and bee balm to plant before we get too far into autumn.  Hopefully, something doesn't come along causing me to drop everything and chase it with a camera.  Wish me luck :)

Little White (Cabbage) Butterfly (female)
on Ironweed plant

Wind swayed long branch back and forth
two feet each way.
She stayed around for half hour
while I worked in the garden.

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