2 Sep

Digging in the dirt to plant or care for flowers and veggies is a very special activity shared by many across the country. It is one I enjoy and my husband does not. He has a strong belief that all green things should be mowed off close to the earth. On my walks I have seen a number of yards where the flower beds are well maintained but I’ve not seen a patch of veggies. Granted my walk is in a residential core in the heart of town rather than in a suburban area, but I would still expect to see a hint of veggies somewhere. Only a few yards have fences and maybe they are the ones with Victory gardens.

I have yet to do anything in our yard but cut out weeds. The two overgrown wild roses in the front yard died last winter. It has been too warm to wear long pants and shirt to cut the dead brambles out so they sit forlorn on either side of the front walk. I didn’t think it was a very good place for that type of rose but when they are gone I’ll have a small area to plant. The question is what I’ll put there under the partial shade of the large ash tree. Plants I’ve known and loved in other parts of the country may not do well here. My garden book says spring bulbs may become annuals unless the bulbs are dug and stored. We may not discover tulips and daffodils popping up in the few flower beds we have. The areas next to the house are filled with shrubs that are too large on the north side and too close to the house on the south side. That will change but that takes time and work that is low on the priority list. I miss my bed of sunflowers, herbs and tomatoes -maybe next year.

Although spring bulbs don’t do well, summer bulbs and annuals are popular in the south. I’ve rarely paid attention to that group. I had day lilies and iris but I always considered them spring rather than summer. The group, however, is able to withstand the hot summers and doesn’t need the cold winters to tell it when to get ready to bloom again. If I plant summer bulbs, I can expect blooms in the spring and many again in the fall. If I place them in designated flower beds, that plan might work. The bed will need a small fence to keep Harry and the lawn mower out.  He will respect them while they bloom but may not do so well at leaving the foliage for the second bloom.

It is now September and we have had some rain. Both facts are significant because we have been blessed with a single red spider lily. It popped up just outside the kitchen window under another ash tree from the plain dirt. My Southern living magazine that came two days ago had shown masses of the same color spider lilies. I had read the article and knew I’d found one bulb I intended to plant. I currently have to stand on my tip toes to actually see the ground out that kitchen window (the new one will be a little wider and a lot lower) and only discovered the flower blooming when the delivery came for our new shed. On our walk last evening we saw a number of the red stalks in surrounding yards. No one had a mass of them but at least our single plant is not unique. In a garden, unique is not always a good thing. For now, I’ll have to construct a small fence. Once the flower is done, its leaves will pop up. Harry and the mower will be a threat. How do you arm a plant to defend itself?

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