Summer is well under way now and so we've hit the sidewalks in search of garden walks.
Two weeks ago we spent a Saturday in the posh part of town. It was a nice walk, but a little strange to creep around many largely silent houses, with perfectly manicured gardens you wouldn't want to disturb. Even worse, though, were the people who had invited large numbers of friends to drink beer and hang around the garden, so that a circle of startled faces looked up every time we entered a new yard. Mmm, friendly!
One of them swore it will grow in this climate, in any conditions. If true, this could be a solution to the dark spot between our building and the neighbor's house, a nightmare passageway full of broken glass currently. Here's a link on bamboo gardening from, of all places, MSNBC.
Just back from a few days out of town and I could hardly wait to see what was going on.
The results are...decidedly mixed.
On the down side, the middle bed in the front yard is not as happy as I'd like. The linaria are curling up and dying, for reasons that are not entirely clear. The violets seem to thrive, but I expect by midsummer they may run their course. It may be time for a plan C here.*
The containers are all doing well. A neighbor has contributed some geranium and the pansies shown here. While I'm always a bit taken aback to find changes to the plan, I've decided these particular flowers are a good thing, especially given the confusion on the ground. Hey, look over here!
*I dread to say the "H" word (hosta).
So the missus is out of town this week, leaving the Northern Garden in my trusteeship. Combined with a hearty work schedule (the same as has been in place for the past several months of joy and stress), necessary technology infrastructure repairs, and general running around.... It took until today to get the babies a fresh drink of Miracle-Gro fortified beverage.
Daily we've been threatened with a healthy rain, but all we've had is a couple too brief showers here. Infuriatingly brief, and all too enticing for the greenery, too.
So this evening I walked around for a half hour with the can, checking things out and providing sips. Everything seems to be holding up well enough, a little dry in spots but overall doing well. I'm sure AZ will have photos and a more complete progress report.
What struck me as I did this was how relaxing it was for me. A focussed task that took little more than concentration and care to accomplish. It brings to mind the zen practice of working meditation, where painstakingly the courtyard is swept foot by foot, the focus on the action, the breathing, but not the world.
Or to make an oblique reference.... Mind Like Water.
House guests and work meetings make for a slow garden blog. But I did get a chance last weekend to do some refurbishing.
In the problematic "shade bed," I added some pachysandra and bugleweed, as well as another pulmonaria to balance things out. My goal is for that bed NOT to look like the onset of nuclear winter this year.
We mulched for the first time ever. I'm not sure why this didn't happen previously. It may be my aversion to the ugly wood-chip mulch that is so common. We found some cocoa-bean mulch, recommended by a neighbor, and hope that does the trick. It certainly looks better.
Who says gardeners don't have a sense of humor? I enjoyed this cicada-related quip in a recent WaPo online chat:
Washington, D.C.: When are they going away? My garden is languishing because I don't want to go outside.
Adrian Higgins: Don't worry, the political season will soon be over.
Not humorous, but still useful:
Creating a low maintenance yard
Almost at the one-month mark with the garden. Here are some highlights:
The front beds, with their odd sun requirements and their dubious soil, seem ambivalent. So am I, at this point, but I think they will go well with some extra attention. The middle bed is in considerably more disarray than I would like, due to the failure of the balloon flower and the withering remains of the daffodils. I'll look for some things to add here. But hey, how about those violets?
The containers are happy, although a bit bedraggled by the rain. Although they don't go with my original color scheme, I was excited and mystified by these emerging buttercups.
And elsewhere: the first strawberry of the season. How long will it last?