Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good ol 'fickle' Summertime

Oh! We humans are a fickle group.

Weathers raining, we're complaining,
When its hot, grumpy lot...
If it's cloudy then we're dowdy,
If it's hailin', seedlings failin'

The elements DO seem to control us on many levels and our gardens too.
I was walking thru my yard today and was actually chilly! In late July!

Here is what I noticed though. My plants seem far less concerned with the weather than I am. Perhaps a lesson to learn.
Nature changes, constantly. We prefer consistency. And yet I adore my gardens. They invigorate me, entice me, heal me, motivate me. They are my therapist, confidant, and friend.
Then there are those rare days when everything seems perfect. The weeds are gone (or at least hidden from my sight). The insects and disease are under some control, and everything seems...right.
On those occasional days, I do simple things that harken to a past era. Things like taking a drink of water from the hose and watching the drops of water sparkle like jewels in the summer sunlight. Or walking past a gardenia that just opened; and having the fragrance remind me of a gentler time, a time when life appeared, at least, to be easier.
Gardens are like children. They can teach us, frustrate us, anger us, vex us, and yet at the core of all these different emotions lies the one that sustains us...our love of them.
So, regardless of the weather and it's taciturn ways, we can find inspiration and growth for both ourselves and our gardens.
So get out there and spend time in your yard.
If it's chilly throw a sweater on. If it's raining take an umbrella (or better yet, get soaking wet!). Too sunny for you, put on some sunscreen. Just get out there and live. We put so much effort into our gardens, don't let a day go by that you don't let them invigorate you.
I am going out to attack a stand of red clover that cropped up in the middle of on of my lawns. Put up a pedestal for a new garden light and tear down an old green house and recycle it.
They say that action comes from motivation, not the other way around. Perhaps the Nike slogan is correct...Just do it.
Happy Gardening!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Pruning

I don't like to prune. I would also like to believe that when I buy a plant, I plan it's eventual size and plant it appropriately.
But what do you do when the size of the plant far out grows what the tag says? You suck it up and prune. Sometimes, where possible, I transplant; but most times it is so large that moving would be a huge endeavor.
So...I prune. I planted an ailing Ceanothus several years ago from work. It should have gotten 12-15 foot tall. This year, as it topped 25 feet, I decided it was time to wrangle it down a notch.
Pruning is both necessary and important. Not only for the shape and control of the plant but also for it's health and vigor. The blooms were weak this year because usually the plant stops traffic as it burst into it's spring time sky blue color. So I knew it was time to work on it.
After cutting it down by half I was thrilled to discover my Kentucky Coffee tree (Gymnocladus) which by the way is suppose to get almost 100 feet tall!!). It was just setting it's small white blooms so I was thrilled to have rediscovered it.
As I toiled away, I realized that pruning is as much a part of gardening as watering. Perhaps it is not always fun but it does do good things to the plant if done properly. Even if done incorrectly, Nature is very forgiving....usually. Plants tend to bounce back quickly.
So, get out there and prune those plants. If you are not sure how too, go to any of your Independent Garden Centers and I know they would love to assist you.
Until next time....Happy Gardening!