Thursday, July 5

Round Two

Yesterday, I spent the whole day in my garden. It was so wonderful to finally have a day to do that (my first since March) that I want to type it again:

Yesterday, I spent the whole day in my garden.

Aaahhhh.... :)

Sometimes I forget how restorative it is to just immerse yourself in the yard. How many problems you can solve--or at least make peace with-- while you are weeding and mulching and moving plants. The parts of your brain that hum along while you work with your hands in such a way must fuel the thinking parts of your brain in a magically synergistic way.

Speaking of humming, I was very happy to see so many bees busily working away at the flowers in my yard. They seemed particularly fond of the drumstick alliums and the 'Caradonna' salvia.

The lawn visible below those allium flowers and baptisia foliage is approaching a prairie/wheat hue... beautiful, but very inappropriate for a fescue mix. I don't know the statistics off the top of my head, but I don't need numbers to tell me that we are very dry. The pictures say it all. I refuse to water my lawn, though. Watering is reserved for the newly planted--and things that show obvious signs of distress, like the cardinalflowers and cimicifuga that I found lying horizontal yesterday.

In addition to some emergency watering, I did get a few other projects accomplished. I built a small retaining wall and mulched the bed where the baptisia reside. I harvested the rest of my garlic and hung it in bunches downstairs to cure. That left me with several holes in "the canna bed," as you see in the second picture... to fill them I planted everything from clearance dahlia roots and gladiolus corms to pepper plants and beet seeds.

Sometimes I think that my blog title, "A Study in Contrasts," sounds too artistically snobby or grandiose. And then I wonder what else you would call a blog by a crazy gardener who grows tropical cannas, wooly thyme, native grasses like little bluestem, and brussels sprouts all in the same garden bed. (Well, okay, so you might call it a riot or a mess... but I guess I like to look on the bright side!)

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. (I contain multitudes.)"
- Walt Whitman


Today was my longest day at work this week, an 8am-10pm marathon. But if I just get through the next three days, round two of our big weekend events at work will be finished. The nicest part about the finishing is that three comp days will be waiting for me on the other side of this weekend, and then I can go out and drink in the joy of gardening... really and truly gardening, not just throwing my attention to one or two little necessary tasks here and there in an evening... once again.

Aaaahhhh......

29 comments:

Leslie said...

Kim...congratulations on having your day in the garden and more to look forward to...my friends don't understand why I think a whole day to do what I want in the garden is a gift but I can see you agree with me!
Your retaining wall and its bed look great...you accomplished a lot!

Marie (FKA Piana Nanna) said...

Isn't it wonderful when you get to that point in the summer, when the garden does not require so much of your time and you can finally sit in a chair and enjoy it? I sighed right along with you.

Colleen said...

Aah...I'm happy right along with you! Congrats on finally getting some time to recharge...and, you're right: time in the garden is the ultimate renewal. It's hard to describe, but it is.

I've said it before: the name of your blog is perfect. You come up with some of the most beautiful, unique plant combinations. Before I started reading A Study in Contrasts, I would have relegated the broccoli and kale to the veggie garden, "where they belong." Now, I think "the bluish-green foliage of that broccoli would look awesome with my artemisia." Thanks for helping me see the possibilities :-)

Me said...

Darn it all. I almost ordered some drumstick allium yesterday when I ordered some fall plantings but didn't...I wanted to save money.

Carol said...

Good for you, rejuvenating in your garden. Some people just don't understand how a long day like that in the garden can be so refreshing, but it just is.

Anonymous said...

are we allowed to know what garden center you work at?

Dawn said...

You're so right; gardening is the best therapy. Love your bumblebee photo, btw. Very sweet. :-)

Chitweed said...

Good for you! It feels so great to work in the garden all day. You got a lot done, too!
Your garden looks wonderful...especially the unusual mixes.
The drumstick allium is yummy.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Leslie, I know what you mean. I just try to explain that "it's a good tired," but even that only gets me so far. :) By the way, that retaining wall is one where I just put in a few pockets--not the one I built up yesterday. Sorry that was a little confusing.

marie, I'm still working on getting there... but at least I have my bench ready for me when I arrive at that point. :)

Colleen, oooooh. Broccoli with artemisia. I might just have to copy that idea--sounds lovely!

me, I was right there with you for the past 3-4 years. Why is it that the drumstick alliums are so pricey--if you can even find them?! (And that allium schubertii... oooh. I'm working up to that one, too.) I think they're better off being planted in the spring, anyway, though, so you have time.

carol, I know... my boyfriend understands the need to do "your thing" for a while each week, but he just sees what I do as work. I suppose it's different when it's a labor of love.

anonymous, thanks for stopping by! I actually haven't disclosed either of the places where I work, but if you're from Cleveland don't worry--you're not missing a fun garden center weekend event. :) The event that I've been working hard on these past few weeks is a special interest event held at my regular place of employment.

Dawn, thanks for visiting--and for leaving a comment, so I could in turn visit your blog! I have a bit of zone envy, but really enjoyed your dragon flies (and "dragons") and that lovely container water garden.

chitweed, I LOVE your Blogger name!!!! :) How fun. Thanks for finding me and letting me find you... I know what you mean about learning at both the garden center and at home. I think that the best employees at our garden center are those that experiment in their own yards--and chat about it at work. (Although it is a temptation to have all of those plants around at work, isn't it?!)

Kylee said...

The bees love my allium, too! Mine are all done blooming, though, and the bees are having a heyday with the liatris.

So now it's July...when is it that you're coming over this way? I can't wait! :-)

Me said...

Back at you about the butterflies. Last year I saw lots of monarch caterpillars and this year only this one (we brought him home and he is staying in a mesh caterpillar cage). Last year I had black swallowtail caterpillars in my fennel - so far none this year. Usually I have yellow swallowtail butterflies visiting my cone flowers. This year, I've seen none. What we do have in abundance (sometimes they almost seem swarms) are red admiral butterflies.

I am also short on bees although that is, in part, my fault. I had some living in a hole underneath my tomato bed and after one stung me on the nose I felt the need to exterminate them.

They paid me back. I had some stillbirths in my squash and cucumbers until new bees found my garden.

Beth said...

Enjoy your upcoming time in the garden! When I go out in the morning, I usually bargain with myself -- so that I come in when I need to -- that I'll go back out later in the day< But I usually don't have time. Those days are wonderful when you don't have to come in and can stay out as long as you like!

kate said...

I love the combinations that you've come up with ... a study in contrasts is a good description. There isn't a dull moment in your garden.

Enjoy your days off next week!

Ann said...

I love your blog, which I followed through from "Can you dig it?". I'm subbing right now. This is just a yummy blog. I live further south than you (though I gardened for many years in Buffalo), but you are an inspiration. I do not spend whole days in the garden anymore -- I get too stiff. I've decided, even if everything doesn't get done, that I'll only do it as long as it's fun -- that's an hour or two. But it gets to be 85 with 85% humidity here, too!

snappy said...

I like the title a Study in Contrasts.It sounds pretty good to me, and is linked to you.
I loved gardening after a long day at work, even just walking around in the darkness listening to the wind blowing, and the soft noise of a still night.
I am the same as you in a lot of respects.Happy Gardening Blackswamp girl (Is the Blackswamp still there?I wanna see it if it is)

Annie in Austin said...

The name of your blog is what you do, Kim - you really take the time to look at and see what happens each time you tweak the plant personnel. It's a perfect name!

Bees have been around but the numbers do seem down from last year. The cupheas - especially the tiny pink batfaced variety- are once again the biggest bee plants in my garden.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

lisa said...

Congrats on the much-needed recharge! I sure wish I could spend MORE whole days in my garden than just weekends...what I really want is to work 3 days a week! Maybe next spring, I'll just tell my employer that's how it's gonna be...ha! We are bone-dry here, too...I'll do a rain dance for you, too!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Kylee, I hope so! I'm still on the schedule for the garden center somehow, though, so I guess that they like me... might be August.

me, maybe it wasn't you. I noticed a dearth of bees in my garden this spring, but lately they really seem to have come on. Maybe the mites/colony collapse disorder and the late freeze here had something to do with it? Hmm. I would take any kind of butterfly, by the way--all I have in abundance is lightning bugs! (Yeah, it's fun to watch the kids next door run through my yard catching them... *grin*)

beth, yup. I have made that same bargain--and broken it many times as well. But I also admit to having it happen the other way: I bargain to myself that I'll come inside and dust after the front bed is weeded, for example, and that doesn't happen, either! lol.

kate, thank you! There are a few dull moments, though... maybe I'll show some of them in my next post. :)

ann, thank you for stopping by--and for the compliments! 85 degrees and 86% humidity sounds miserable... someone just kicked up the humidity here in the past couple of weeks, and I wish that they would turn it off already. You do better than me with an hour or two spent in that!

Snappy, we do seem to have a lot in common... I like to go outside and take stock of the front beds by moonlight (and porchlight) to wind down the day, myself. It really is so relaxing. :) I sent you an email yesterday with a link to Kylee's post about Goll Woods, which is one of the places left in the Black Swamp that is relatively untouched...

Annie, you Austin gardeners are so smart about those cupheas. We can't even find them here as annuals, unfortunately--I may have to order a couple or start them from seed, as I think that the batface ones are adorable. :) Thanks for the compliments... I do admit to tweaking a lot. Sometimes I think that I should just leave well enough alone and let the plants grow already, though! lol.

lisa, wouldn't that be great? Working 3 days a week and gardening 4?!?!! SIGN ME UP! :) (Think of all of the projects you could get done with two extra days each week... *grin*)

Anthony said...

Don't you just hate it when the little things in life like earning a living get in the way of the things that you really want to do? :)

Enjoy your comp days!

Kylee said...

August? I hope there's still a garden by then. Just kidding! But if we don't get rain soon, I think we're going to start losing some things for real. :-(

I feel like we're just treading water now, trying to keep things going.

I think we may have lost a Dawn Redwood tree that was over six feet tall. It really looks BAD.

Ottawa Gardener said...

i think that it's the reason I garden - peace, oh and because I love to mess around in the dirt and watch stuff grow! But that delightfully content feeling has a lot to do with it.

The County Clerk said...

I've read this several times. I love the Whitman. So appropriate for gardeners.

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. (I contain multitudes.)"
- Walt Whitman

We are allowed to contradict ourselves. I don't have a few gardens, I have hundreds. Each different but all on the same bits of land. Just like you.

A wildlife gardener said...

Kim, I have recommended you for the Bloggers For Global Change award. All the details are on my post of 10 July.

I shall be back to catch up on your recent posts to leave a comment :)

meresy_g said...

Last weekend I had two uninterupted days outside working on flower beds and the garden, so I know exactly how you feel. Precious indeed. And I think your blog has a perfect name. YOu are influencing me. I bought three Garnet Sedum over the weekend. Not for the color of the eventual bloom, but for the color of the beautiful deep red foliage! See, I'm learning! Thanks!

Carolyn gail said...

Good for you, Kim ! There's nothing more satisfying to me, either, than spending time in your own garden.

Like you I also work at a garden center a few days a week . I enjoy meeting and talking with other garden -crazy people like myself.

BTW, I'm taking your suggestion and sharing Matthew with fellow garden bloggers. Check it out !

kris said...

Hi Kim - I always say working in the garden is good for my soul. Of course I say visiting public gardens is good for my soul too! I know: GARDENING is good for the soul!!
We received 1 3/4 inches of much needed rain Sunday afternoon - so hope some of that made it to your gardens.
It's always fun to visit and hear your thoughts - thanks!

Pam said...

All of my garden beds are a bit chaotic, not very well planned out I don't think. But I like what happens in them - the unexpected is always interesting!

Your alliums look beautiful.

Heather said...

Kim, I love your site and think the name is especially apt. I have taken much inspiration from your work and as a complete novice (at gardening and blogging) find myself learning every time I read one of your posts. I'd be honored if you found some time in your incredibly busy schedule to check out my blog: http://heathersgarden.typepad.com/heathers_garden/
You'll see that you're on my list of daily reads and I have to admit that I've been going through withdrawal lately!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Yes, Anthony, I do! On the other hand, it does allow me to feed my gardening addiction... :)

Kylee, we're in the same boat, so don't worry. I can see my own garden through green-colored glasses, so I'm sure I would enjoy yours just as much! (Argh re: the Dawn Redwood. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for it.)

Ottawa Gardener, yeah... dirt under my fingernails and seeing plants "grow up" is nice, too. :) But the garden is my refuge.

Clerk, I think I may have to go revise it. When I googled the quote, that is what I kept finding... but I remember it as "I am large. I contain multitudes" and I like that much better. I like the idea of "I am large," and I also like the idea of each of us having hundreds of gardens, all on the same bits of land... :) I need to chew on that for a while.

Wildlife Gardener, thank you! I haven't heard about the Bloggers for Global Change thing yet, but I am looking forward to going to your page and finding out all about it. I have always loved the thought that individual efforts can make a difference.

meresy_g, ooooh... Garnet Sedum sounds wonderful! (Pictures, woman, I need pictures. lol.) Seriously, it is a great compliment to me to hear that I have influenced you... because I have learned so much from you and your blog as well.

Carolyn Gail, I do enjoy that part of working at the garden center, too. I don't know where else I could go to meet the guy who grows squash vines for the foliage!!! He picks them up off of his lawn before he mows and then places them back in different, artful designs after the mowing is complete. How FUN is that?!?!

kris, thank you for the reminder... I think that I need to visit more public gardens, myself. I keep meaning to, but it never actually happens for some reason. (And we're finally getting some rain this morning! I hope it keeps up.)

Pam I am so with you. The "happy accidents" are some of my favorite things in my garden, even if I can't take any credit for them. :)

Heather, thanks for stopping by--and introducing me to your blog! I appreciate the compliments as well... am probably blushing right now, I admit it. I'm at work right now (ssssh, don't tell) but I definitely look forward to checking out your garden and blog later tonight.

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