Saturday, April 21, 2012
"We were in April then: the weather was sweet and warm, the grass as green as showers and sun could make it..." (from Nelly's account of Heathcliff's last days above ground in Wuthering Heights)
Life grows sweeter when a difficult past is given a proper burial. We certainly hope that's the case with this new tropical style garden we are constructing in the backyard. Cardboard boxes from many moves over the past several years have been laid to rest as a base. It's a little eco-friendly trick I learned from working with the Gardening Friends of the Big Bend on the Demonstration Garden at NFREC in Quincy, Florida. The cardboard helps prevent or at least slows the growth of weeds, especially when it's covered with pine straw and other mulch. I prefer recycling cardboard to spending a lot of money on expensive ground fabric.
Secret Aging Man did the dirty work of removing the sod so that I could arrange the plants, lay the cardboard, and spread pine straw and cypress mulch to cover the whole bed. The triple-trunk palm was left by the former tenants. I'm not sure what kind of palm it is, but I have learned it's good to keep some distance between it and my skin. Another thorny plant! It serves to replace a large windmill palm that the tenants moved from the front yard and subsequently killed, either by neglect or the shock of moving it. We burned those palm remains along with some other yard debris a couple of nights ago.
Rain is falling as I write this post, washing new ashes and old regrets deep into sandy soil. It nourishes and settles the new plants we've added to our tropical garden here in subtropical Northwest Florida.
Happy Earth Day 2012!
Friday, April 6, 2012
Whenever he noticed someone working on a project with great determination, my dad used to say that person was going at it (whatever it might be) like there's no tomorrow. These dewberries or ground-hugging blackberries in my yard seem to be doing just that sort of thing.
As soon as we could get away from unpacking boxes, SAM and I began working out in the yard, clearing away weeds and changing the landscape to suit ourselves. You might recall that we had renters last year who took it upon themselves to drastically alter the look of our home, the interior as well as the exterior. Some of the landscape changes I like, but all of them have added a lot of work to the upkeep of the yard. There are more beds and plants to weed and keep watered and mulched.
The curious thing about those renters is that they weren't interested in maintaining the new plants they added, let alone the ones I had growing. Our well-established blueberry patch looked like it was being consumed by these wild dewberry vines. Earlier this week, a day after we returned from a trip to Southern Illinois, I started to yank them out, hands covered by thick gloves, but SAM advised that I leave some alone. Those ripening berries did look mighty tempting to a couple of sweaty, weary gardeners, and I should have been wearning a body glove. The vines are covered by millions of tiny, painful, needle-like thorns that grab at your ankles too. Okay, I'm convinced. You don't have to twist my arm. I'll let some plants live.
Early each morning I walk across the lawn wet with dew and find more ripe berries to add to our yogurt. I'm hoping that by Easter morning there will be enough of them to bake a pie. SAM wondered if I could just collect them for the next couple of days, but I think they might be like manna from heaven and rot if I try to hoard them.
|Bald Knob Cross in Alto Pass, Illinois|
Good Friday to you from SAM and Walk2Write!