Monday, May 26, 2008


Obviously, I started the holiday morning with some welcome reading time. It was another beautiful day, though a bit windier than yesterday. Since I'd gone to bed uncharacteristically early last night (around 11), I was up pretty early this morning, despite my best efforts to pull the covers over my head and nestle in a little longer.

Still, a good second choice to staying abed was the idea of taking a cup of coffee and my book out into the backyard, where the only sounds were the raucous morning antics of the birds. I enjoyed the chance to take a bigger bite of Love in the Time of Cholera and fell headlong into the reading experience.

Much as I might've liked to while away the whole day thus, I did have other plans, too. And by mid-morning, I was planting my cleome seedlings (quick discussion/survey: do we call them CLEE-OHM, or CLEE-oh-MAY? I tend towards the former, personally) out in the warm sun of the front garden.

They are so tiny and the world seems so big there, with no tree cover of any kind. I hope the best for them...and I hope they are unattractive to the Mystery Nibblers.

Once those were planted and watered, I began weeding /forking the bed along the street-side of the fence. The recent floodwaters had made of the garden soil a sort of hard surface that I broke up and churned a little, working carefully around seedlings I'd planted a while back (allyssum, mostly) and teasing out some new grass seedlings who'd found their way in.

Once that was taken care of, it was time for some seed planting. The rest of the sunflowers seeds, along with two kinds of bachelor buttons, some everlastings and some more cosmos were planted this afternoon.

I always think this is a fun moment that carries a little bit of ritual for me. It's the gardener's chance to make a mark on the land, to lay out a pattern of some kind. Straight rows have always been a little boring for me, so I took the opportunity to play, making different troughs through the loose soil with my finger.

I traced curls, squiggles, chevrons, zig-zags in the gaps between larger plants, writing in the dirt the secret language only the gardener's heart can understand. I filled each mark with the seed of choice, before pushing the soil back over the tiny seeds as I murmured words of encouragement and then sprinkling on a bit of hope from my watering can.

I saved some of the seed from the packets I opened for later use, so there'll be some continuity in bloom types when I get around to weeding and planting the yard-side of the long garden bed.

The wind and the sun...and the cumulative impact of yesterday's full day in the garden...took the fight out of me as the day wore on, and I decided to quite a little early and take the rest of the day for mellowness. There was a little more reading and some YouTube, and an unexpected late afternoon nap that was pretty delightful.


Butch said...

Very nice! "pa-tey-to" "pa-tah-to" I'm not sure though I would go with the latter one.

It's nice to take a day to look at your progress in the garden and makes it all worth while.

I like the jet stream in your last picture.

CJ said...

Well it is already too hot and dry here for me to take an interest in planting. But I so enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor. I so wish we could have lilacs and peonies as in you area.

Greg said...

Butch, I always think it's interesting to hear people (myself included) saying out loud the plant names we have learned in our heads while reading catalogs and such! Sometimes we get it just right and other times we couldn't be more wrong. Yet the flowers are still as lovely...maybe this was Shakespeare's true intent with his "rose by any other name" business!

CJ, glad to share our lilacs and peonies with you, especially in exchange for your early preview (for me, at least) of roses!

Cooper said...

I've never liked planting flowers in serried ranks like soldiers either. I prefer the jumble of an English country garden ... the spill of wildflowers ....the caligraphy of joyous patterns written on the heart. Your writing makes me hungry, Greg. I always want to dig my fingers into the soil after reading you.

Greg said...

You got it, Coop: the floral chaos of an English garden is *exactly* the look I love! That I get to work writing a bit of myself onto the land is just gravy!

So, Coopstah, *have* you been digging? Seems to me Dario is the right age for experimenting with seeds...and I bet he'd just love the pink flowers of cosmos, especially the way they just keep coming as summer wears on! (Plus, they are easy as heck to grow!)