Okay, I have a lot of them, but in the spring, summer and fall, my passion is our gardens. I have worked less in the yard this year than any time previous. I feel like I spent the whole summer working, and my body has been telling me about it. I never realized how much I rely on getting out there and moving dirt and pulling weeds for a good workout.
My husband does all the mowing, and we have a lawn service for the treatments, seeding, aerating and all that, so my only task is keeping the flowerbeds pretty.
I have realized that I arrange the flowerbeds like I decorate my house—in vignettes. An area here, all perfected, and a section there, and this whole side strip with a theme, etc.. And each year the gardens change and transition, because things need divided or something is added or removed. When you keep your soil nice and loose with constant attention, it’s easy to move or divide plants.
Anyone wondering about the secret of beautiful flowers, the key is the soil. I keep a compost pile in a wooden bed, but it’s not kitchen waste. Oh, occasionally I toss in something to decompose, but it’s mostly a mixture of good soil, peat and compost.
Several of the areas have been designed to attract butterflies. From my living room window I can watch butterflies on the bushes and plants and perching on the butterfly bath. Okay, occasionally a bird sits there, but birds are mainly attracted to the backyard. We get flocks of gold and purple finches.
It took me three years to get a trumpet vine established to attract hummingbirds, but I’ve created a monster. A beautiful monster.
I love fall, but I’m always sad to see the flowers fall away and turn brown. I compensate by creating a fall display of some sort—pumpkins and cornstalks and a hale bale or two. We spent the entire weekend freshening mulch and dirt and moving a few plants. Mulch is the other key: Keep loose mulch around all of your plants, bushes and trees. It holds in the moisture and protects them during the hottest of the summer days. By turning some of that into the soil the nest year, you’re constantly keeping your soil loose and workable.
I often go outdoors with my camera in the morning. It’s the best light for photos and a good time for spotting butterflies, though they don’t mind the midday heat as much as I do.
And now…back to work.