Posted in Monarch Guardianship, Plants, Progress, Seeds

Garden Growth–4th July, 2019

Somehow my brain remembered to pull up the month o’ posts from last year, and WOW…suddenly I realized exactly how far behind I am in finishing just about any type of post lately, compared to last.  Sadly, not just this month.  I’ll keep trying to do better. 

Falling out of step with the daily garden notes has been painfully embarrassing to me.  I used to be a daily “everyday” journal writer, but after our whirlwind of moves and job hops for many years, that habit I used to have that I hoped I could apply to the garden version has proven much more difficult to pick back up than I had thought.  It could be that an everyday journal is easier because and everyday is a stream of conscious process until you run out of time or things you want to write about, whereas with the garden journal, part of WHY I do it is to keep records.  So I find myself going over a mental checklist of what I should or usually write about or not.  Then I get hung up in the details, and often find myself running back outside because I’m second guessing my memory or even my quick penciled notes on a mini clipboard about progress that day, further eating into the time I should just be writing the darn thing to get it done.

Sadly, although I’ve kept sporadic specific notes in draft dailies when I can during this unexpected busy spell for various reasons this year, as time slips by, the details not recorded blend and are harder to discern what happened when.  Counts, whether successes or failures has especially been taxing, and I admit that with the tiny seeds, I’ve pretty much given up the ghost on counting!  I find myself cringing when I see how wordy my targeted “easy to read” planting list has grown with side notes about whatever came to mind when I was adding the latest info as well as notes to myself about what I need to fix or double check.  If nothing else, I still need to find my rhythm for this process.  I sincerely look forward to the day when I don’t have to work at it nearly as much as I do now, or worse, can’t seem to find time at all to record much of anything beyond updating the 2019 planting list.

  • We finally made it outside once the afternoon heat had passed.  We hit nearly 90°F.
  • One thing we still struggle with is my partner will get a notion in his head before he realizes how much work will be involved to get it done during that gardening session.  Today was a classic case of this when we were planting the dusty miller, and despite my desire to not do a lot of “balanced” planting, in our tiredness we decided the easiest thing to do was two on each side of the porch beds.  He then volunteered to finish removing the upper vegetation level of the expansion on the westernmost bed I never finished last year.  As usual, he thought it would be something that would go quickly, and once he realized it, wound up shortcutting.  It was hot, despite trying to avoid being in the front yard in the afternoon when the sun is setting, there we were–so I get his frustration.  After I finished with the other planting bits, I ended up focusing on the section we would plant the dusty miller and doing as best I could as tired as I was.  He watered everything in the back while I did that.  The weather forecast pushed back the rains we were supposed to get tomorrow, so perhaps I can finish expanding that bed the way it should be and that will be one more thing off the list.
  • As to the other planting bits, in my heart I want a “cottage style” garden, but keep falling back to more rigid additions.  It also doesn’t help that we’re often squeezing in what time we can, so it’s harder to take that step back and do it “right”.  It also doesn’t help that anytime we do something “new” to my partner, I end up having to stop what I’m doing several times to help him do whatever it is the rightest way I can manage to get him to do it.  The upside of this is he did learn some lessons from his shortcuts last year, but now that the heat is high and he’s often tired to begin with…results are often less than optimal.  Still!   We managed this year to amend some things that weren’t quite right last year, so perhaps next year there will be more of that.  As we slowly spread our work around the space we have, less and less is untouched since who knows when, so it does get easier.
  • I had read about growing morning glories in harmony with evergreens last night.  Since the hollies still haven’t been moved, and I’ve not yet braved a deep pruning to the more damaged one yet, I thought it was worth tossing a seed down on each side just to see.  I tried to pick an opening in the branches where it would get sun to start, but we’ll see what happens.  I still want to trellis them off the garage, which is the main reason we bought them, but we have to do more than a little work to get those antique garage doors inside the garage for now.  I’m just not ready to build the shed with them, and they take up  over half the west wall where I want to plant the otts.
  • I still can’t find the tag for the one plant we bought at the local nursery sale, and the receipt doesn’t say anything other than “perennial”, so whatever it is..that was one of the beds I worked on today.  I expanded the bed a bit on either side of the plant, and hoed the entire bed as well as I could manage around it.  Then I added some butterfly weed seed and a smattering of marigold seeds that looks like a floofball when grown.  I’m trying to force my head to think of broadcasting as a good thing because flowers are not carrots!
  • I still have not divided the bee balm, and it’s probably too late now.  I also have not addressed the either erosion of dirt around long standing additions (could be partly due to deteriorating landscape cloth issues from the former owners or do crowded plants just push upwards more?  Need to research more.)
  • As to the dusty miller, the pack was a four–not a six.  So we had to change our plans and as I mentioned above, wound up doing a rather boring two per side just outside the afternoon shade reach, but still leaving room for something in front.  They frame the lilies that are center to each side (which desperately need division).  Between the dusty millers, I broadcast the johnny jump-ups.  I have to fight myself for all I’m worth to not try to perfectly balance out how many seeds went on either side.  I may be somewhat organized in other aspects of life, but I’m that person with the very messy desk that still knows what is in which pile.  So WHY do I care so much about how many seeds are on each side?  *chuckles*  I still have a ways to go to understanding “random” clump grouping where planting is concerned.
  • On one hand, I know I’m being hard on myself.  On the other hand, when I look back at not just how much we’ve done, but how different (and often involved) those things have been—if I’m not I’ll never even keep my minimal notes!
  • Speaking of doing so much, when I was adding today’s plants to the planting list, I realized we have almost doubled what we planted last year as to variety of plants overall–and in many cases, much more of whatever variety than before.  We have definitely (and happily!) had more successes this year overall, and not just if you double the success of last year to make things “even”.  We really have learned a lot, and I am very, very grateful for those hard lessons.  I hope each year we get a bit more done, a bit more planted, and a bit more success!  So far, so good–and this is only our third year here, where the first year we did very little beyond remediation and planting the blueberry bush.
  • Saw another adult Monarch today.  Did not see any tigers.  I did look for eggs, but honestly was tired and with all the new milkweed that has grown, did not look very hard.  I’m glad I didn’t spend much time on it, as later today I checked my Monarch Guardianship posts from last year and it’s likely still too early.
  • Speaking of, I really need to get things set up in the spare room we’ll be raising the Monarchs this year.  I’m not happy about doing it in an out of the way room, but with two rambunctious young boy kitties and one just turned 11 but still playful gal…we’re not going to risk the chance of them trying to play with with creatures we’re trying to help save.

Care to share thoughts on this?