In My Garden (Zone 9-10)
I’ve patiently waited all summer to take by five month-old son into the garden to hang out and help with little chores like weeding, but it’s been so hot and buggy that instead I’ve been cooped up in the air conditioning with him all day.
Yesterday I was shocked to find that it was about room temperature outside, and shouted to my son “It’s gardening day! It’s gardening day!” I set him up with a comfy chair, grabbed a big pail for the weeds and started pulling them with a big smile before looking up to find an even bigger smile looking right back at me through the flowers and lemongrass. My baby was laughing at me! He might have thought it funny that I possessed the power to pull apart the world outside the window with my hands, or maybe my popping up through the flowers was like an elaborate game of peekaboo. Either way, we were two very happy gardeners. Neighbors driving by probably got a kick out of seeing a baby and his dad laughing out loud together.
Last month I had to have a tree removed, right in the middle of the newly planted bromeliad garden. I moved as many plants as I could and watched as a team of workers carefully tried to dismantle the tree without damaging my plants. Then, while holding my son from the living room, I watched large branches plummet onto my garden, flattening trees, shrubs and perennials under their weight. Over the next few weeks I turned the remaining four foot tall stump into a mount for bromeliads, replanted the garden around its base and watched most of the other plants make a speedy recovery.
This month I’ll plant vegetables between the shrubs while I wait for them to form a hedge, since the area is moist and gets plenty of sunlight. I already have roselle and okra plants growing in this area, but I can plant peas at their base to climb up the stems as they decline in the cold.
Where my back yard and side yard meet, I’ve installed a copper rain chain to replace my downspout and planted a small garden to catch the runoff and distract from the weedy work-in-progress in the side yard beyond. Out front I haven’t really done much other than my brief weed-pulling excursion, but the purple lantana, angelonia and melampodium have given me so many blooms that I haven’t had much need to interfere.
This month I’ll probably replace the latter two warm-season annuals with alyssum and some tall and imposing greens like kale or collards, and while I’m at it, maybe I’ll expand the front yard’s flower bed so that I can fit in more vegetables. The weather will be nicer and I’ll have a little assistant to help, so why not? It is gardening day, after all.