Jul 5, 2010

A holiday (?) weekend

Light on holiday, heavy on work, the weekend consisted mainly of mulching, weeding, more mulching, planting, watering, even MORE mulching and lots (and lots) of perspiration, a few sweat bee stings, and a bit of sunburn.

The weekend inspired my first gardening resolution for 2011:  I resolve to put down mulch only in months beginning with Ma and Ap.  As in March, April and May.  There should be no mulching done in months beginning with "Ju" (you know, like June or July.)  Or months that rhyme with AUGUST.

Hoo boy was it ever hot out there.  Six scoops (roughly 3-4 cubic yards) of shredded mulch, plus a half-dozen bags (maybe more...I lost count) of soil conditioner (aka pine bark fines) were applied to the perennial border and vegetable garden paths.  It will probably not look this good again the rest of the season, so I'll relish it now.  This is the shot from the southern approach to the garden, showing off a new perennial salvia blooming its head off, and my 'Herbstonne' rudbeckia getting tall and ready to bloom.

The second shot is from the opposite end, where the 'Jacob Cline' monarda is in full swing, full of fat bumblebees stumbling from one bloom to another. The spiky echinops in front is a fun steely blue flower...well, it's fun until you have to weed around it, and then its thistle-esque leaves make me wish I had considered another plant. But it's fairly deer-proof, so it does have that going for it.  Knock on wood: thus far my nutty neighbor has only sprayed his Roundup vitriol about one foot inside the fence (it is his fence, and is about a foot inside his property line, so he apparently feels entitled to zap anything I plant in that 12 inches.  After finding my beautiful perennials turned extra-crispy, I have learned to simply leave the DMZ area void of planting.)

In case you're wondering, indeed that is an outhouse in the picture. Well, okay - not a working outhouse, but a potting shed meant to look like an outhouse.  Snicker.  For years I fantasized about making said neighbor a little nutsy by placing a real-deal outhouse in my garden.  The fantasy evolved to the point where each year I get an outhouse calendar for Christmas, which is proudly displayed on our refrigerator.  It's amazing how many outhouses are still photo-worthy year after year.  A couple years ago, my husband (I love that man) called me from our local  Tractor Supply Company to inform me they were selling potting shed kits that were a full-scale replica of an outhouse.  Tin roof, half-moon on the door, everything except the one, two or three holes.  We wasted no time - we bought it that day, assembled it and plunked it front and center where the neighbor and his guests could admire our new potting shed.

I know it's not my best character trait but to be perfectly honest, I adore my potting shed for its form and function...and its exquistely redneck design. And knowing it makes this neighbor just a tiny bit nutsy - errr, nutsier - is icing on the cake.

So here's the garden in its fully manicured splendor. Peppers, tomatoes, melons, okra, cukes and zukes are all nestled in their beds.  I am capturing this for posterity because it will probably not look this good again the rest of the season.   (July is hot, but August is hotter.) The grape arbor in the background is loaded down with muscadines...still green but soon will turn purple and be ready to pick and process into grape jam.  Nothing beats muscadine grapes for pucker power...they're nature's own "Shock Tarts."  And wonder of wonders..next to the potting shed, I discovered my fig tree is still alive and kicking..hidden under a 5-gallon bucket I apparently upended to protect it last winter.  Poor thing...I fertilized and watered it and hope it continues to grow.

Lest it appears we merely toiled the weekend away, we did enjoy the holiday.  We watched the 'boro's fireworks last night; today we and the boys went to Memaw's to swim and eat some good home cooking..   (Youngest is away at Bible camp this week.)  It was fun watching my "boys" and our nephews romp and roughhouse as only boys (of any age) can.