Friday, June 3, 2011

The writer plants a garden

I haven't written much in the last couple of weeks because I've been spending all my free time trying to create a garden (or a few reasonable facsimiles of such).

It's been so hot here lately that I race against the impending sun, working steadily from 8:00 until about 11:00 am—and then the sun rushes out of the shadows. Immersed in the heat and humidity (we've had several 100 degree or near-100 degree days), I retreat to the house, busy with necessary work.

Yet the sun is coy—it hides behind tall oaks in the neighbor's yard at key times throughout the day, depriving edible plants of sufficient light to thrive and grow in open spots. So I tore out part of my backyard where the sun lingers longer than anywhere else and put in a tiny garden —and doubled up use of that space by hanging homemade upside-down planters above it (see above—no it doesn't look that pretty). Elsewhere, I've put in shade-loving plants, nurturing them with composted manure, mulch and water.

The urge to do this is greater than the urge to sit at a keyboard right now. I know that July is coming, too late for most planting (though it's already too late to plant most things—any new plant in the ground requires a pledge of sufficient watering).

I suppose I could say at this point how gardening is like writing, in that, you weed out the unnecessary, you focus on one project at a time, you nurture what you've written/planted. Maybe how you garden is comparable to how you write. I hate to weed—specifically, I hate to take out seedlings even in a crowded pot, a Sophie's Choice decision for which plants get to survive. So, sometimes, my plants choke together, all surviving but none thriving exactly, until I finally snip off seedlings to eat or, worse, transplant a select few with a teaspoon, urging them into new ground. I simply cannot tear out a seedling and throw it away.

I've got lots of words in notebooks everywhere. Some have been transplanted and have grown to full size, but most are crowded together, static and puny. They'll have to stay that way for a while longer, I've got thyme to transplant and a blueberry bush to put in.


Julia said...

I totally understand your passion to garden. I went to a day lilly farm this weekend, that is going out of business. I was looking for the advertised Crinums that are deer resistant. Sadly they were sold out. But I could not resist and bought 10 different varieties of day lilly, fully knowing that I had no place to put them and that the deer would eat them anyway. So, Sunday I was up at 7 while it was cool enough, scraping weeds and grass off the brick hard clay of my yard. Then I knocked down the rotten stumps there to mix the peat into the dry clay, haul compost and cow manure and dig it all together. And then mulch with pine straw we had raked up. Later I had to go to Lowes to get trellises to hold the deer netting. So, the $100 lilly bed is complete, and I am aching from the digging and my weekend is over. What is this obsession?

jublke said...

a day of pruning 
this overgrown plot
finally ripens

-- Julie Bloss Kelsey