Friday, June 30, 2017

Summer's Bounty

Hi-ya. How goes it? This week's post originally ran in August, 2012, with the title Trowel and Error. In case you can't tell by that cutesy title, it's about the joys of gardening in steamy buggy Hot-lanta.

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Thought for the day:  When weeding, the best way to make sure you're removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it's a valuable plant.

















Are you a gardener... or are you a garden-dreamer, like me?

I mean, I harbor amazing delusions of grandeur while browsing through garden catalogs and piling a cart high with purchases from the local nursery every year.

And then something happens.

I like to call it reality.

Gardens are not made by singing, 'Oh, how beautiful' and sitting in the shade.  [Rudyard Kipling]

Darn it. (I'm really good at sitting in the shade.)

Kipling was a real kill-joy, huh? I do fine getting all the stuff into the ground, and for a little while... just over twenty-three minutes, I think... the garden looks marvelous. Then come these things:


                                                                      Yep, weeds.

The philosopher who said that work well done never needs doing over never weeded a garden.   [Ray D. Everson]

It's a little-known fact, but I'm pretty sure weeds are organized. Not unionized yet, but they're definitely working together. Just think about it. They grow at precisely the rate you pull them out. Yank a weed from one part of your garden, and boing! another one pops up in another part. Really. I've seen it happen.

Even with the whack-a-mole racket weeds have going for them, I don't mind weeding all that much.

At first.

And then something else happens.


I like to call it debilitating heat. In Georgia, that could happen just about any time of the year, but as a rule, by the end of springtime, (which could occur as early as February...) perspiration is pretty much flowing like Niagara Falls around here.

                                                                     I'm talking ...  
Oh, and did I happen to mention our annual summer droughts? And the outdoor watering bans? And whattayaknow? While flowers and vegetables gasp for water, weeds seem to thrive under these conditions.

Crabgrass can grow on bowling balls in airless rooms, and there is no known way to kill it that does not involve nuclear weapons.  [Dave Barry] 

They say hard work doesn't hurt anyone, but at my age, why take chances? I tend to agree with good ol' Tex here:

The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig.  [Texas Bix Bender]

Alas, nobody was around who was willing to let me stand around giving orders, so I tempted fate last week and went outside in the early morning (before the heat index hit triple digits) to weed and prune. I know. What a trooper, right?

So I grabbed a rug to protect my dainty little knees, my handy-dandy gloves, hand hoe, clippers, pruners, and trowel, and I was ready to go. Approximately two minutes later, the attack began.

First, the reconnaissance mosquito swooped down to sample the cuisine. Then came the rest of his brigade.

You think weeds are organized? They've got nothing on mosquitoes.

So, I tore into the house to swap shorts for sweat pants and to douse myself in bug spray. Which, I'm pretty sure, the mosquitoes around here actually like. Kinda like a finishing sauce.


But, I eventually managed to finish the job. (Which, of course, could stand to be done all over again now.) For some reason, our front garden is a flipping magnet for wild onions. Pain in the derriere to keep digging them out and digging them out, too. But didja know if you don't dig 'em out, they grow pretty little purple flowers? (ahem)  I may have read that somewhere ... yeah, that's the ticket...

Anyhow, the task gave me plenty of time to hum and think. Like, about editing. Wouldn't it be nice if it were as easy to axe the deadwood from a written work as it is to prune it from a bush? And, watching all those tiny bugs scurrying around, I thought about how tiny we are in comparison to the universe. Suppose we're part of some kind of a cosmic garden, waiting for the Master Gardener to come pull weeds? Then the question becomes: are we the weeds... or the flowers? (Yeah, I was getting a little heat-addled by that time.)

Even so, it kinda made me wonder. Who am to decide which plants should grow and which should go?



Some...  no... most... wildflowers are beautiful.







And Ralph Waldo Emerson, a very wise man, I might add, said, What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.

I think he's absolutely right! So, I may just have to reconsider this whole notion of pulling weeds. Because, if you think about it,

                                                              Dandelions are quite dandy.

(sigh) If I could only grow green stuff in my garden like I can in my refrigerator... [unknown]

                                          Okay, hands up. I give. Time to throw in the trowel.

For now. I have been looking at topiary pictures lately. That just might be the way to go, ya know? Think our neighbors will be impressed?


                              Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

** All images, except the last one, come from morguefile The topiary shot is courtesy of seniorark

49 comments:

  1. My father told me 'if it grows well it is a weed'. And he had a point. A gardeners work is never done, but neither is housework - and I prefer the gardening. Despite the weeds and being a 'squito magnet.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. You are a master gardener. I'm in awe of all the magic you work with the soil. Mostly, I just get dirt under my nails... :)

      You have a wonderful weekend, too.

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  2. My garden is at the point where I think I can ignore it and just let the plants get on with growing. It's 90% hardy succulents.
    That picture of small white daisies with yellow centres, looks like feverfew, which is a herb that can be made into a tea for headaches. According to my ancient herb book. I've never tried it myself, but the plants sure are pretty.

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    1. Good for you. The older I get, the more I ignore our garden, too, but that's when the weeds really run amok.

      I'll take your word on the daisies. I just thought they were common field daisies... and very pretty.

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  3. Hi Susan - yes tis the summer of working out ... but a weed is just in the wrong place ... sad, but true! Any work in the garden deserves a break in the shade - pity about the mozzies ... they are frustrating to have around ... but then weeds out of hand, can be a real trial too - just enjoy what you do ... and oh yes a long week end with lots of wonderful gardening time ahead?! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. This post was written five years ago, and since then, I've spent less time in the garden each year. I can't tolerate the heat and knee-time as well as I used to, so I do a bit of planting n the springtime and then hope for the best. Needless to say, the results are iffy.

      Cheers back atcha.

      Delete
  4. Well, I admire your effort. I'm a terrible gardener, the kind who touches a plant and it dies. I can't plant anything. My rose bushes are there, no roses at sight. I have one which is so tall, that its roses bloom in the neighbor's garden, over the wall that separates our houses. But not here.

    I lose my patience. The weeds laugh at me.

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    1. Don't admire my effort. The older I get, the less effort I spend on our yard. (This post was written five years ago, and things have changed since then... some of us have gotten five years older... dammit) For example, our "lawn" is mostly weeds, but we're okay with that. At least it's green!

      I'm reeeeally glad the weeds don't laugh at me. The noise would be deafening. :)

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  5. My mother is a keen gardener, but she struggles at the moment with her health - so I lend a helping hand. I'm learning as I go along. Nice post.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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    1. It's good of you to help your mother. I'm sure she appreciates it.

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  6. I'd so love to have a bush with a tush lol

    Weeds everywhere have such a evil plot going on, making sure humans pay for plucking them.

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    1. HA! Me, too!

      Phooey on those weeds. If they want to take over, they have my blessing. (Think they'll succumb to reverse psychology?)

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  7. Yes indeed a weed is definitely the one that thrives when the hot sun has cooked everything else.

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    1. Yep, they're like the roaches of the plant kingdom.

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  8. A chair in the shade and a pot with a plant in it spells 'garden' to me. Squint your eyes up so you have a narrower field of vision and that plant takes over .... it's all I need.

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    1. That sounds like a pretty darned good spelling for me, too. I think I'm about ready to throw in the trowel.

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  9. I'm no gardener. It's too hot. My back hurts too much. It rains all the time, or it doesn't rain at all. Not much will grow in my yard. I'm lucky to have some grass. At least I have nice large trees in my front and back yards.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I'm no gardener, either. It was much easier when we lived in Maryland, where the soil was black and rich... and I was young. :)

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  10. I honestly hate gardening or any sort of yard work. I have since I was a kid and one of my chores was pulling weeds. I would feel sorry for myself and pout the whole time I did it. Sadly, I act the same way now when I have to do any sort of yard work.
    I envy/admire those who enjoy it though as I love to look at beautiful gardens and it seems like such a wonderful hobby for those who love it.

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    1. I enjoyed working in the yard when I was a kid, but now I'd much rather admire the work of somebody else's labor. :)

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  11. Call me crazy (and many have), but I love weeding. It is very satisfying and calms my obsessions. I have cut back my gardening this year and it now looks reasonable as opposed to my over the top flower frenzy. I am mellowing.

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    1. I agree. Weeding is very relaxing on a pretty day, but throw in the heat and those annoying little gnats that buzz in your ears and get stuck to the sweat on your body, and the fun goes away for me. Not to mention all the aches and pains... ARGH!

      Yes, I think it's time for us to mellow. I'm not nearly as meticulous as I used to be about cleaning house. (I mean, who wants to eat off the floor, anyway?)

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  12. Had my perfect garden in by mid May this year, friend Sue ... Not much left but my potatoes by end of June thanks to mama moose and offspring and the usual army of deer mamas and offspring ... November is gonna be payback time ... Circle of life ... Love, cat.

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    1. HA! That's one thing about planting vegetables. I always figure half is for us, and the other half is for the critters. :)

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    2. PS: Am a bit in turmoil here right now, friend Sue ... cuz took another run at reading your book "Hot Flashes And Cold Lemonade" ... reading it (again) at work (nights) ... and was stopped to read cuz of ... you guessed it ... work ... the time same place ... right after reading about the accident I got cut off (again) ... cuz we got really busy ... so when I left work that morning I forgot to pack your book, so it's still at work ... going back to work Monday ... but it's only Saturday now ... and I need to know ... is Willie gonna be alright??? ... and if not is he gonna propose to his girl on his death bed ??? PLEASE, gimme a hint, k ? ... so I can make it through the week end, k ? ... Meouw, cat.

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    3. You're funny. (The cat's meow!) I hate to tell ya, but no matter how many times you read the book, it's gonna have the same darned ending. :)

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  13. Great post, Susan. For over 30 years I got up before dawn and gardened for a living but I am well now.

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    1. HA! You've recovered from gardening? Reminds me of a minister we used to have, who called himself a "recovering Catholic."

      Somehow, I suspect you still love to get your hands in the dirt...

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  14. My Mum was a terrific gardner. I swear she could put a twig into the earth and a plant would appear. She use to save the rainwater and the water her garden with it. Way before the eco time.
    My gardens were lovely but know I can not work in them and I rely on gardners. The last few years it is just so hot here and our spring was so short that I did not get the tomatoes in or the herbs. but if I can find a plant somewhere it will grow and produce tomatoes into December.

    Happy 4th of July.
    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. My grandmothers were both fantastic gardeners, but my mother had a black thumb. I fall somewhere in the middle. When I was younger, our gardens were lovely, but now, they look about as faded as I do. :)

      Happy 4th of July to you, too! And cheers right back atcha.

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  15. I have decided tocks can be very pretty. I've slowly replaced garden areas with decorative rock. And yes, weeds still thrive. I also belong to the Dallas Arboretum. They keep "my" gardens quite lovely. Have a safe fun and weed free July 4th weekend.

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    1. "Tocks" is perfectly acceptable. The usage of decorative rocks to replace gardens is a good indication of the passage of tick-tock time. (Okay, so it's a stretch...)

      Yes, "my" gardeners at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens do fantastic work, too. :)

      Happy 4th to you, too. Have a bang-up day.

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  16. A "mooning" bush? What's not to like? :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. Yeah, I know! Then again, the neighbor might not be a fan. :)

      Greetings back atcha.

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  17. "A weed is just a flower in the wrong place" (George Washington Carver)

    That said, I have a number of flowers that...well, belong in the backyard instead of the front yard. And we'll have to see if my papaya tree will survive.

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    1. Great quote. (We've got LOTS of flowers in the wrong place.)

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  18. I laughed at the comment about growing green stuff in the refrigerator. I have no green thumb whatsoever, Susan. Even plastic plants don't do well in my care.

    Ugh. I hope you're surviving the heat okay, and that you can find many a lovely flower to keep your spirits lifted.

    Hugs to you.

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    1. HA! Plastic plants DO have a way of attracting dust. (One of our cats also likes to EAT them.)

      Hugs back atcha.

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  19. Weeds drive me crazy, and you're right, as soon as you pull them at one end of the garden, they pop up at the other. Thanks for the smiles today. Hope you can keep cool and have a nice 4th of July!

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    1. Thanks. We had a super 4th, and I hope you did, too.

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  20. I'm head-over-teakettle about your new header, Susan!

    Texas Bix Bender's quote totally fits me to a 'T'! Heck, I can appreciate a pretty garden just as much as the next guy ... unless I have to get my fingers dirty. My DIL on the other hand likes nothing more than working with the earth and producing beauty. I'm in awe of that girl -- but not enough to join her. LOL!

    That last topiary image is hysterical!

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    1. Thanks! :)

      I like Bender's attitude, too. I don;t mind getting my hands dirty or having to scrape the dirt out from under my nails, but those bug... and that heat... and those achy body parts... On the other hand, public gardens are just delightful... :)

      Wouldn't you just LOVE to aim that topiary at some people? HA

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  21. Uh oh, time to reveal my nerdiest hobby...

    Yep, I'm a gardener. In fact, I'm such a hardcore gardener that I don't even have a yard. No, I cover my balcony with potted plants every summer. Bell peppers, eggplants, strawberries, grapes, just to name a few, all surrounded by tomato vines that I snake all across the railing. It's like the world's smallest Garden of Eden.

    Water ban schmater... schman. Not really a problem when I just feed everything via watering can.

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    1. No, no, no! Gardening isn't at ALL nerdy! There's nothing better than eating veggies you've grown yourself, and your layout sounds terrific.

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  23. Blessings
    I am not a gardener. I am a garden admirer. I look. I ooh. I aww. I take pictures and posts them on my Instagram. I throughtly and unapologetically enjoy the benefits of your labor.

    To all gardeners nuturing the earth with your green thumb artistry I thank you.

    Rhapsody

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