A couple of days ago I went out to do the yearly July deadheading in the hot full sun garden. I used to fill a pickup load with cuttings to go to the compost at the landfill. Even with 3 composters of my own, these cuttings were overwhelming. So for the last few years I have made an effort to control the amount of flowers that are spent by July and need deadheading. Thankfully it was a cool, overcast morning. A local man drove by and stopped his pickup by the boulevard and told me how much he enjoyed looking at the flowers. I cheerfully asked “Do you ever drive by the back alley and peek into the back garden”. Yes, he said he did. We are a small town. As he was leaving I commented that I didn’t like deadheading. He said, “but that’s gardening”. Suddenly I stopped and thought. He is so right this is gardening. I picked up my cuttings and do you know what? They only filled a large wheel barrow. That’s progress. Have you ever noticed how the rhythm of weeding and deadheading helps you meditate on what is on your mind. On my mind was what I want to change in the garden. I think 3 things:
This is the 50ft strip of boulevard that lines our property. I call it the Hot Full Sun Garden. You see on the far left a strip of red pavers. We put those in so that guests coming out of their car would have somewhere to step out and onto the sidewalk. On each side of the middle cement walkway that leads up to the house are 2 sections of garden separated by another middle section of pavers that meet the sidewalk. These red pavers take work to keep weeded. My change is that I am going to lift up a few of those pavers and plant some of the weed suppressing ground huggers like lavender thyme and veronica pectinata. I will mulch them with gravel. This will create some solid stepping areas that will suppress weeds.
This is the outside of the backyard fence.
Here is another view. This fence is about 50ft long. Some of the plants I planted, some self-sowed. The problem is that creeping bindweed has self-sown or bird-sown into this area. I don’t want it to creep into my garden. So I plan to dig out the plants in this area and starve out the bindweed by covering the area with newspaper and landscaping fabric. This will be a hard job for cool weather. The plus is that I can later redesign this area and this year it will give me somewhere to keep autumn leaves. Last year I dumped the leaves on the edges of the garden. As mass quantities of leaves decompose they rob the soil of nitrogen. Thus a couple of my grape vines look a bit yellow. I have fed them with manure. They still have lots of grapes, but I won’t be dumping leaves on them anymore.
Under the center arbor sitting on the left are 2 nanking cherry bushes. These bushes give good tasting little cherries which the birds enjoy. They are planted in a raised bed, the front of which I use to grow greens. These bushes have to go! I want to put my portable cold frame in this area and try to grow some spinach and kale in the fall and maybe early winter.
One thing done – Two to go! Ted said “You cut down the cherry tree!” I said, no they are bushes. It took me a minute to get the reference….”I cannot tell a lie, I cut down the cherry tree”. I guess George Washington really didn’t say that.
This big bug I know: Cicada. They come up from the earth, grip a branch, then shed their outer skin . He must of been drying his gossamer-like wings before flying high in the trees to start his song. Ok, so I don’t know the details, but I am sure some of you do! Please share.