Saturday, September 16, 2006

Summer's End

I've finally gotten back out into the garden again, spending several hours just restoring order in the back yard over the last two days. I still have serious work to do in the front yard, but I don't think that's too bad for a garden the size of mine, especially considering that I've hardly set foot outside for almost a month now.

Before I go any further, though, I HAVE to mention the activity in the butterfly garden - there are so many butterflies, moths, carpenter bees, wasps, and flying creatures of all sorts that it feels like the very flowers themselves are flying as I stand and watch.

On a more somber note, for the first time as I work, I really feel like I'm preparing the garden for someone else. I'm making the edges a little neater, being a little more rigorous in cutting back, being more careful to remove tiny weed seedlings, and generally being more "J" than I normally am as I garden.

I find myself trying to converse with the gardener who will (hopefully) come after me....

"Sorry about these variegated artemesia - they get out of hand so easily in this bed. Be sure to keep them pulled out."

"I'll always wonder about the gripeweed in the yard. I thought it was such a pretty plant when I first saw it (a mimosa seedling?!) that I left it to 'see what it would do'. Would it be as widespread if I'd been less tolerant and more vigorous in pulling it out right away?"

"What do you think about this variegated vinca major? I agree. I think I'll pull it out and save you the trouble. The bed will look much neater this way."

"Should I grub out all of the pokeberry? The mockingbirds go crazy over its berries and it is so pretty, but I understand why you might not want it around."

I sure hope the next owner likes to garden; despite losing so many pines this summer, the yard has really started to come together. The blue spiral ginger is blooming beautifully and putting up several strong new shoots. The arborvitae fern is starting to fill in, becoming a graceful mat against the deep mulch. The Florida anise is almost as tall as I am now, and looking lush and healthy after such a misshapen start to life. Speaking of misshapen, the oriental chain fern has finally put out a few fronds on the right side and is almost completely balanced now. Its large-scaled daintiness looks fantasic next to Miss Lily's sturdy peacock gingers. The Grape Sensation gaillardia is purplishly spectacular, and the Knockout roses are head-high and absolutely covered with burgundy new growth, fresh buds and fluorescent pink flowers.

I could go on and on, but I'd be belaboring the point.

One last verbal picture, though: the wild beautyberry by the back shed is so loaded with brilliant magenta berries that it gleams richly in the dappled shade. I literally stopped in my tracks when I first saw it this week, its gracefully arching, heavily laden branches swaying drunkenly in the slightest breeze.

By the time we leave, those berries will have passed through the digestive system of a variety of birds and they will have been deposited, with a healthy dose of fertilizer, all over the local area. I have to believe that at least one or two will carry the genetic wealth of their parent and grow to create grace and beauty and bounty somewhere nearby, no matter what happens to their parent in this garden.


Anonymous said...

Pictures are always appreciated with this sort of post. :-)

As for preparing it for someone else....I think/hope that the next garden you create for us and for yourself will be the last one you have to start from scratch. And, if you think about all the experience you've had, I think it'll be your opus. :-)

Gaia Gardener: said...

I'm hoping that the next one I create will be my last (personal) garden. And I'm hoping that the next home I decorate will be the last one I have to decorate. Etc. Etc. I'm ready to set down roots, literally and figuratively.

Thank you so much for the kind thought about my "opus"! We're talking south central Kansas here, though. I'm not sure that's "opus" material, at least not without resorting to major watering, which I always prefer avoiding! I can just give it my best shot though.

Anonymous said...

Come one, you love the prairie flowers!

baileynb9 said...

i'm glad to hear you guys are moving back to kansas, though i'm also somewhat jealous, given the horrendous MD traffic here.

by the way, my garden is dead due to the long long lack of water we had here (and a non-working outside spicket). i went picking and returned with exactly one greenbean. it was a sad day.

Gaia Gardener: said...


I'm sorry to hear about your dessicated garden. The best thing about gardens is, though, that there's always next year!

What are you doing these days? Besides being stuck in MD traffic and mourning the garden, that is. Hope all's going well for you.

Prairiewolf and I agree with you about the nastiness of being stuck in traffic, MD or otherwise. That's one of our many reasons for loving to live in the country. I'm really looking forward to the stars too! Remember how great they were in Mayetta?

Take care of yourself. It's good to hear from you.

Gaia Gardener: said...


Okay, yes, I love the prairie wildflowers. But I love the trees and the ferns and the broadleaf evergreens too! And, unfortunately, they don't love the Kansas climate conditions.

I'm just groaning, though. It will be a fun challenge wherever we end up. And I'm trying hard to focus on Echinaceas, peonies, lilacs, apple trees and other wonderful plants that can't be grown down here!

How goes the city garden?

Gaia Gardener: said...

Note: As I tried to add this photo of the beautyberry branches to my blog, working in Firefox, all the computer would do was elongate it. What I wanted to do was move it from the top towards the bottom of this particular entry. Despite my trying to shrink it back to size, it still has remained out of proportion. Sorry. I guess I have to add photos in some platform other than Firefox.

baileynb9 said...

well i was up to relaxing but now that we're thinking of relocating, i've got the stresses of finding a new place. i finished my MA and now am applying to PhD programs for next fall. on the list are berkeley, duke, University of Oregon, and University of Washington. i'm secretly hoping for one of the latter two, as i think i would enjoy those areas more. my telescope would do me some good there at least.

still plugging away at english literature, and still opening up more questions than i can answer ;-)

Anonymous said...

That's got nothing to do with firefox. Firefox is only a rendering engine, it had something to do with either blogger or the photos themselves.

Gaia Gardener: said...


Are you DARING to suggest that there is something wrong with this blogger?!!! Something like, perhaps, a tortured relationship with technology? (Be extremely careful about how you answer those questions, by the way. I might truly "resemble" those sentiments!)

And by the way, when I added photos in Internet Explorer (see my later entry), I had no problem with elongating photos. Same blogger, same camera, same series of photos, different result. I just assumed that interacted differently with the two different platforms. (And, no, I'm not sure I used that term correctly!)


Congratulations on completing your MA! I agree that Washington and Oregon would be great places based on location, but would also say that Duke is pretty spectacular too. (We were there in the early 90's, and it was gorgeous.) At the risk of sounding very elitist/spoiled, somehow it seems easier to learn when your surroundings are beautiful.

baileynb9 said...

speaking of learning in beautiful surroundings, i'm moving back to the goucher area next weekend, as my fiance just accepted a job in towson. it should be interesting to experience that area while living not on goucher's quiet campus, but in one of the many busy baltimore apartment complexes.

Gaia Gardener: said...


Good luck on the move back to the Baltimore/Goucher-area. It will be interesting to see how you like the area as a non-student. Will you be attending classes, working, and/or doing other things?

baileynb9 said...

i'll still be working from home as a marketing researcher, and hopefully writing on the side. hopefully in that area it will be easy to get out of the house once in a while!