Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Color Full

Society Garlic/Iris?  This one's for you......

The world is a carousel of color, 
Wonderful, wonderful color.
The world is a carousel of color,
History, comedy, fantasy,
There's drama and mirth,
There's old mother earth
With all of her secrets to see.

The world is a treasure-trove of faces,
Fabulous, faraway places.
The hopes and the fears,
The joys and the tears
Of people like you and like me.
The kingdoms of magic science,
The glorious story of art,
The world of romance,
Of music and dance,
This world where we each play a part.

The miracle of imagination,
The marvels of earth, sea and sky,
These wonders untold
Are ours to behold
In the funny world,
The sunny world,
The wonderful world of color.

I don't know about you, but I spent most of the Sunday evenings of my youth watching The Wonderful World of Disney, first in black and white, then in wonderful, wonderful, color.  

My strongest early memory of this was the first time I saw (or remember seeing anyway) the speeded up film of a flower bloom opening.  That same segment showed a vine tendril curling to achieve purchase on a surface it was climbing and it absolutely captured my imagination.  I don't think I ever looked at any plant quite the same way once I realized that their static appearance was only a matter of time and perception.    

I think this explains my fascination with Before/After shots.  The implied motion in the changes demonstrated seems almost magical, though I know from personal experience there is nothing magical about the sweat and effort and planning required.

Anyway, I wanted to explore recurrent colors around this place, with the idea that subtly or not, color preferences tend to work their way into our landscape when we aren't paying attention, sort of the way that queen's wreath vine out front keeps trying to move over and ring our doorbell if I don't keep it tucked neatly in place.  

For today?  Purple.  Not "just" purple per se but pinky purple, reddish purple, and all the shades in between.  Ready?  Let's go....!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Work work work!


I've spent the past several days, mostly in the coolest morning hours (relatively speaking as our humidity keeps the mid 70s from being altogether enjoyable for hard labor) getting back to some of the most basic grunt work of trying to garden.

Mostly I am a victim (using the term guardedly) of our own success.  Allow me to explain.

Ground covers keep wanting to do just that - cover the ground.  No respecter of subtle stone barriers that are supposed to suggest "here and no further" they keep heading into new territory, growing up and eventually shoving down whatever tries to stand in their way.

Dis-Obedient plants revealed that yes indeed they will naturalize nicely at the end of that path.  Good luck trying to keep them from stepping out into that path however.  The flowers may behave on their stems but their root systems go wherever they see an empty space.

Stepping stones that were needed to get into newly cultivated areas have disappeared into exuberant new growth.  Now providing cover for all sorts of ants and ground nesting insects, corners of the stones wink slyly out, reminding me that there used to be a way, as well as a need, to get from here to there.

The remnants of a finally completely dead bush have come out, though not without a fight.  At least the top parts of the slowest declining shrub in hedge history have been not so much removed as wrestled out, leaving a maze of woody roots down below that will make replanting an enterprise for the stout of arm, not to mention heart.

But because our dreams of what might be often morph within an all too short space of time into our latest bit of drudgery and upkeep, I want to stop and salute the mass of plants I literally tore out by the roots today.  The time just spent sweating, cursing and slapping at mosquitoes was all a sign of success if I will simply see it that way.

There were other years when all we could do was water and hope, squint and try to imagine what a space would look like when the plantings we'd placed there had finally filled in.

Well, fill in they have by golly.  Filled in and grown past their bounds.  So today was a banner day in its own way, and after the sore muscle meds have kicked in I bet I'll be actively glad about it, too.

Enough tedium and workaday shots of garden chores accomplished.  As your reward for hanging in with me thus far, a little bug love.

If the leaves are a rockin', don't come knocking.

You'll pardon me for saying so, but I am guessing at least one of these is no lady.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Here goes nothin'

I have had a dickens of a time getting captions lined up with photos in this post and am throwing in the trowel, er, towel.  Further down in the body of this post was a photo of a Question Mark butterfly which would NOT stay with the caption.  Now it has disappeared and I don't know why.  I apologize but life goes on.  Forgive me and I promise to do better.  Next time.  (maybe...)  As a reminder: click directly on any photo to get a larger version with better detail....

Rush hour here at Gardenista....
I have mentioned here enough times by now how I stink at identifying butterflies and other critters in the garden.  However I am driven to keep trying.
Dun Skipper

Whenever I see a butterfly that I know I have successfully identified in the past and just can not for the life of me recall the name of, I feel frustrated beyond measure.

Cloudless Sulphur

It is, I suppose, the insect corollary to the dull rage I experience when I see a plant I know but can't remember the name.

American Lady

Even if the plant is thriving, it feels to me a garden failure when I can't wander about carelessly tossing off the common and botanical names of everything in sight.

As an example, for some reason, for years I had the hardest time remembering "verbena".  I recognized it as "that damned plant I can never remember the name of".  Go figure.  I've got it firmly in my head now, except for when I don't.....


Tawny Emperor

Like others I have noted a wealth of red admirals in my gardens this year.
Red Admirals
Most of them seem to be congregating first around the fallen loquats around one side of the house, but they all eventually find their way over to the flowers.

Today I went out a bit earlier than usual and found a few other locals hovering.

Common Checkered Skipper

I'd hate to get anybody confused...that is MY special territory, OK?

I need to be the best at SOMEthing.  So if you see anything misidentified, please correct it in the comments and I'll owe you one.  If I remember......
Inch wormy thing

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Frantically glad

That is May in a nutshell for me.

For starters, let me celebrate the easier breathing out of doors that is May. WooHOO! It is such a gift to be able to open windows to cooled night air. If you haven't been robbed of the opportunity to do so safely you may have lost sight of the treasure of these lovely cooler evenings and mornings. Long may they wave!

I love my oak trees for the most part and now they aren't trying to poison me with their prolific reproductive tendencies we are fast friends once more.

On the other hand, my ability to move more freely about my cabin also means no more excuses over jumping in to garden chores other folks have long since accomplished.

 Every year it is the same. I know I can't work outside in April due to pollen. I know the chores will all be there waiting for me in May. I read about what I "should" be doing and I begin to look around our property with eyes that start to see every area more as a checklist of outstanding work to be done. It is daunting - no other word for it - to get back outside and have half of March and all of April's chore list to tackle in my garden.

For me it is an exercise in will to look at my flowers and enjoy them, rather than focusing on the weeds in the path or the divisions and transplanting that needs to be done.

The scale of work needed is large enough it can be paralyzing, but with years of similar late start freak-outs behind me I know just what to do. I start with one small job, get that done, and then begin another.

Rinse, lather, repeat. Any jobs too large to do in a reasonable work span get broken up into smaller pieces and I focus on the small victories, rather than the huge backload.

For instance... Out front there were two dead limbs in a redbud we'd thought was a goner. However, it not only didn't die, now it looks better than it has for a good three years so far.

 I can't explain why or how the longest deepest drought followed by a fairly cold span of winter days would benefit a struggling redbud so I don't try. I look at it and love it for being so tough and yesterday I by golly clambered up onto our stone mailbox and from there, alternating with perching precariously on a step ladder, I got those dead branches pruned out.

Same goes for an althea out front. It had two dead branches yesterday. Today it doesn't.

Does that mean there aren't 391 pruning and other jobs to be attended to? No it does not. But two major eyesores out front, the ones that bothered ME the most, have been addressed. I can drive in and out and get the mail without feeling like I must avert my eyes.

The length of my May "to-do" list does not overrule the idea that these days I really am forced to pace myself. As a gardener closer to 60 than 50 I have learned the hard way not to push my limits they way I used to so take for granted.  If I want my return to the garden to last without a retreat due to injury or overwork?  I simply must plug away for a span of time and then turn and walk away.

Yes I know it will get hot and stay hot soon enough. And yes, I'd rather get the biggest heaviest stuff all done before that happens if I can. But honestly, there are some years everything doesn't get done precisely as it should, or when it should.  The garden doesn't care apparently so I am learning to simply let that go.

At least a little.

If I'm not learning something while I'm gardening then I think I may be missing why I even ever tried to garden in the first place.

Plants will grow outside with or without me.

I like it best when they do so with my cooperation.

So welcome to you May! I'm happy to  be back in my garden again!

About Me

My photo
Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.