I live and garden in Portland Oregon – what I consider gardening heaven. Over the years, a totally sunny perennial garden has evolved into a mixture of shrubs and perennials under a canopy of shade with a few sunny spots here and there.As a young gardener, more plants and more land were my focus. As a senior gardener, I want less of both and have become more careful about what I plant. I now select plants that require less water and less maintenance. I no longer agonize over removing an unruly plant. The transition allows me to continue my passion for digging and planting, but in a space that is manageable for a woman in her mid-sixties.
Time passes quickly, memories fade away. Creating this journal will help me re-experience those magical moments in the garden. I hope others enjoy them with me.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Saturday, October 15, 2011
As the total number of my daylily plants decreases, the percentage of worthy plants increases. I am removing some very good garden plants these days and feel fortunate that there are many young and enthusiastic gardeners ready to give them another chance in another garden. Seeing the delight on the faces of a new generation of daylily enthusiasts, I am transported for a brief period back in time - to when I was the recipient with the young garden. I am energized by the enthusiasm and excitement they project as they share plans for adding these daylilies to their new gardens. I hand them a daylily. I am given so much more in return. My heart is warm, my spirit happy, my soul content. What a gift!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
|MEMORIES OF SUMMER|
I hear them - chomping, rasping, chewing - making salad out of what used to be a lush, crisp garden full of beautiful hosta leaves. If they would stick to munching on dead and dying plant material, we could live in harmony, and I would even welcome the help cleaning up around the garden. Instead, I focus on eliminating as many as I can. Sometimes, I find them boldly basking in the morning mist on the surface of a leaf while a gang of young ones is munching underneath. I feel a twinge of glee when I locate large gatherings. At night, when it seems safe to travel under the cover of the damp darkness, loners traverse across paths and patios. I feel great satisfaction when my flashlight blows their cover.
Hostas are spreading their long, tired petioles wide, allowing their shredded, dying leaves to bend and touch the ground. The process reveals a center filled with tight, pointed "noses" that hold and protect next spring's tender new growth. Slugs are searching for nearby cozy hide-aways to lay their eggs - maybe under a stick or a rock or just below the surface of a clod of soil. I must admit, they seem to be making good parenting choices, laying eggs in a clutch in close proximity to a food source that will also provide cover and protection when the young hatch. The voracious little dots of slime will climb down into the plants' crowns and attack from within. Babies will be joined by some evasive stragglers who've survived many battles and some travelers from beyond my garden's borders. I'm prepared. Shed shelves are stocked with bait, scissor blades are honed to perfection, flashlight batteries abound. Cool, moist conditions combined with the ever diminishing cover of foliage brings them out like a crowd headed for a day of sunbathing on the beach. They seem oblivious to the reality that the garden landscape is about to undergo a major change - one that will provide an advantage for me in my quest toward slug elimination.
One dark night, very soon, nature will take its course and sad looking remnants of my beloved hostas will fall victim to the first bite of frost leaving nothing but big piles of mush dotting the landscape. Like throngs of shift workers cramming in the last elevator going down at the end of a stressful workday, slugs will crowd together in the folds of the slimy layers of detritus for protection. When that becomes their only source of nourishment, they will munch on it, too. What seems like the perfect hiding place for them brings me hope for a modicum of satisfaction in my many faceted approach to slug control. I'll carefully pick up the piles and drop them into the yard debris container where slugs and slime will be hauled off to a giant, well heated compost heap. I almost want to stand out along the street waving goodbye as the container is picked up and dumped into the truck, but there is no time for celebrating. Diligence is key to winning the war and now is no time to ease up in the battle.
I am ready to continue the battle right up to the very moment winter's blast of cold air arrives. Then there will be little left above ground for slugs to dine on and they will slip deep into the soil and find a place to hunker down. There will be no foliage munching going on once Mother Nature ushers in wintry weather, freezes the earth's crust, and seals them in. Only then will I curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea, glance out the window at the cold, frozen ground and smile from time to time.
It has been suggested by some that I am a bit obsessive about slug control. I'll ponder that statement this winter as I strategize a battle plan from my cozy home and daydream of the perfect garden devoid of its nemeses.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I've heard and read about bee swarms, but this was the first opportunity I'd ever had to experience it. They formed a column between two trees and their combined buzzing created enough sound that we had to raise our voices to hear one another. I was so mesmerized by the sight that I almost forgot to take pictures. They settled on the outer part of a branch on a Japanese maple about fifteen feet off of the ground forming a large ball in the shape of a football, quieted down, and then settled in for the night.
Early the next morning, I checked the internet for someone to collect them since they obviously were from a healthy hive that grew too large and split to form a new colony. They would soon fly off again looking for a new home and if a satisfactory one could not be found, would perish - especially if they were to invade someone's home.
I was able to contact someone who came and collected them and will use them in an educational program in local schools. They will have a nice, clean and safe new home.