Monday, August 23, 2010

The Garden So Far-Recovery

Photo courtesy Flickr

Saturday morning is the time to manage the grounds, such as they are. Routine summer drought has left the garden looking hammered, because I’ve been experimenting with not watering. Many plants have surprised me by thriving anyway. The ultra slow-growing boxwood hedge, Morris Midget, never seems fazed by conditions, and the token rhododendron, a Fifties hybrid that came with the house, has been green and glossy no matter what.

It’s been difficult to manage what’s left of the lawn and the sunny areas of yarrow, clover, and species geranium so that they look gently cared for rather than like areas of desperate expedience and neglect. This week I wandered around lifting a few pinched-looking tall weeds, trimming aggressive stems of rosa Nootkana, and generally treating the area like a dusty green carpet that needed vacuuming. When I was finished detailing, I sprinkled time-release fertilizer on the plants I want to encourage and sprayed benign herbicide on the ones I don’t. The hope was that when the rains came in several weeks, there would be a renaissance out front.

A week ago, it sprinkled for twenty minutes, and it’s amazing what the turf and natives have been able to do with so little moisture. Yesterday I thatched the dead turf before I mowed just to keep it in trim, and found fresh shoots greening up. It was heartening and poetic in a small way. This morning, a steady summer rain promises great things next week when the weather turns warm again. No doubt, the lawn, hedge, and herbs will lunge into action.

It will be a pleasure to build a small fire in the garden shelter and spend today enjoying the scents and sounds of the beginning of Puget Sound’s growing season.

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