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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Neglected Garden

If you have been reading this and my other blog,  Waverly to Tahoe  then you know that my husband and I spent almost five weeks traveling from the Ohio Valley to Lake Tahoe, Nevada and back again.  All you gardeners know what can happen in a garden in five weeks.
I had hired a high school boy to mow each week, telling him to err on the side of caution.  If he wasn't sure whether he should mow or not, then leave it.  We all know that sometimes it is hard for non-gardeners to distinguish prized plants from weeds.  I did not have anyone weed the beds because I don't trust anyone to do pull out just weeds. Besides, I figured that things wouldn't grow too much in September.
Sometimes I can be so-o-o- wrong!
I didn't realize how much work I actually accomplished when it felt like I just pulled a weed "here and there."  Now there were weeds "here" and "there" and everywhere else. 
Do you see all those paw paw sprouts coming up below. If not, then double-click on the photo so see them grow before your eyes.
Lack of rain did not hinder the weeds as far as I could tell but it was a factor in the fern garden.
I think these are cinnamon ferns.  Evidently they need water to grow well.
All was not bad, though.  There were a few nice surprises in my neglected garden.
It was a good September for the delicate white aster
I've seen them covering derelict fields near my home. They are actually quite nice, floating across the landscape like baby's breath. I won't be pulling these out until they have quit blooming. Hopefully I'll catch them before they go to seed.
Like the aster, above, these spiderwebs are a delicate touch that I would have missed had my garden not been so neglected. 
About a week after returning home we expected close to sixty people to come to our home for a concert of Irish music. Many of those visitors would be walking through the garden expecting to see some blooms and some type of order.  I felt like putting up a sign at the entrance, "Enter at Your Own Risk," but I decided not to accentuate a less-than-perfect condition. I put a battery in my Newton Mower and went to work.  The Newton comes with instructions to avoid mowing tall grass.  I wonder, does that include extremely tall grass?  How about the iris spikes? Escaped yucca? Virginia creeper? I will admit that the battery which usually lasts over an hour lasted about 20 minutes, but I had another one, and I had other days.  
The garden was finally mowed and the largest of the weeds were pulled out. I did not make it to remove the naked stalks adorning about a hundred hostas, many of which were simply mowed over. There just wasn't enough time.  I also have a job that had been mostly neglected for a month so had other work to do.
There were plenty plants that thrived in spite of the neglect.   
Dogwood berries still swelled beside next year's flower buds.
As did the rhododendron buds.

Apples were abundant
And our wildflower strips withstood the weeds to bloom profusely.
From many multi-colored cosmos . . .
to lavender-striped morning glories . . .
There was plenty of beauty to behold.
Besides . . . frost is predicted for tonight.  I can start over next spring.

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