Thursday, August 11, 2016

Playing in the garden

Today the heat index was predicted to be 100.

Since we planted some bedraggled clearance hydrangeas a couple of weeks ago, I figured some proactive watering might be in order.

It was already about 80 when I went out this morning, in basically the garb I had worn to bed the night before.

Back in the day, I always used to garden in the morning, in pajama-like garb.  I would feed Jonathan his breakfast, park him in front of Sesame Street, and go out to water, fertilize, weed and deadhead during the hour of Sesame Street.  Somehow, doing it before I was "dressed" for the day made gardening feel like play instead of work.  I remember working peacefully alone, feeling thankful and amazed that I had perennials and they were actually blooming.  I hummed as I toted the sprinkling can from bed to bed, front and back.  Around the time I figured Sesame Street was wrapping up, I'd head back in, and there would be Jon, usually rolling around on the floor in front of the sofa.

Then one day my neighbor, the one on the southeast side, nonchalantly mentioned to me, "Did you know that Jonathan comes over and rings my doorbell at about 8 every morning, and asks to come in for a snack?"  A lovely person, she said it kindly, perhaps with a twinkle in her eye.  "No," I replied, aghast.  "Really?"  She chuckled and said, "I didn't think you probably knew, since he usually only has his diaper on."

That put a bit of a damper on my gardening habits.

Here, in our "new" house, the gardens were rather unruly when we arrived.  We've worked on cultivating the front gardens, but over the three years we've been here, we haven't given much attention to the back, and this year they have progressed from "rather unruly" to "totally out of control."  So we started trying to tackle one bed at a time.  Our most recent project has been the upper terrace behind the garage, a shady spot with good access to a water spigot.

I'm on the lookout for a rhododendron.

In the meantime, we've put in hydrangeas, astilbe and columbine, as well as a bleeding heart.  I'm getting excited for next spring already!

But yes, right now the name of the game is to keep these little guys alive in the heat and dry weather we've been having.  They wilt in the noonday sun every day between 11 and 2.  Today I watered early, and I hope I watered well.

Besides putting in the plants, we've mulched and placed some stepping stones to help us get around in the garden and access everything.  I cannot tell you how much I love stepping stones.

This morning I cavorted from stepping stone to stepping stone, swinging a full sprinkling can, watching the water cascade in an arching spray, dazzling white sparkles of light caught in droplets dampening and refreshing my plants.  I felt like a ballerina.  I felt like a woodland fairy.  I felt like a child.  Barefoot, wearing pajama capris and a pink tee shirt, I immersed myself in water, dappled sunlight, fragrant cedar mulch and rich black dirt.

I get dreadfully dirty in the garden.

Of course I took a shower in the end.

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