Friday, September 2, 2016

Little Flower Garden, Autumn Evening

To pull weeds, cultivate dirt, plant new leaves and flowers - I find very relaxing. My favorite gardening tool I call Chicken Foot - is shaped like a big claw and is perfect for digging and scratching out weeds.  Next favorite looks like a large fork and is good for poking all around, loosening dirt and making space for roots. 

My gardening has gone through phases: First, along an old stone and concrete wall, I planted a very large packet of seeds specially mixed to attract butterflies, bees, and birds. I never weeded the garden because in the beginning - I couldn't discern between weeds and wildflowers. The mix did attract a lot of butterflies and also I remember the birds liked the sunflowers. 

Second - I planted a little herb garden, with dill - for tuna salad, and oregano - for spaghetti sauces, and I had spearmint, and apple mint and chocolate mint. Several times I've planted lavender, but it never returns. 

Next, I tried a rock garden - which was on a little hill - very hard, sweaty, sunburnt work! I noticed the slope had several rocks jutting out of the soil and so dug out around them to emphasize their structure. Then I scouted the property for more rocks, big ones, which I carried in both arms or hauled uphill in my wheelbarrow - huffing, puffing, grunting, and hoisting them into the perfect place. Then, big mistake, I planted some cactus - which took over - and will very carefully someday have to be removed.

One year I planted purple and pink morning glories everywhere, giving them sticks and twine to climb. They're beautiful, but quickly take over a whole flowerbed.  The mint does the same thing, so I learned things of that sort are better in containers.

Another year, zinnias and sunflowers were my fascination and they are both adored by bees, butterflies, and birds. The sunflowers like to have support, so I loosely tie them to tall sticks. 

Roses I haven't much experimented with - imagining them to be difficult, but I did transplant one from another location where it would have met its demise. It seems to be happiest when I remove its blooms - and produces even more. It's a beautiful creamy orange color, with a soft and sweet fragrance.

Gladiolas are some of my favorite flowers, but this year I didn't have many. They're another flower that sometimes needs a stick to prop against. They grow quite tall and have a multitude of blooms which get heavy with rain. 

This year, I'm off to a late start in tending the garden. Sometime, when I wasn't paying attention, my mother planted bee balm in my flowerbed. It has become one of my favorite additions - as it attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. And, it has an interesting, sharp, herbal smell. This year, since it's so late - the flower options are limited, so the garden has to rely on strong perennials which are still appearing - and the few things I recently added: dark pink Gaura, yellow mums, purple aster with yellow centers, and some pale pink dianthus with a magnificent, soapy, rose-scent.

Some photos from late in the evening - after adding new plants. You'll see the lily-of-the-valley, red bee balm (mostly seed heads now), purple spike, and a pale frosty green foliage with light orange flower (name forgotten). Also, a few photos from this morning - including a grumpy Number One after I warned a bird of her presence.

pale pink dianthus - soapy, rose-scent

purple spike

dark pink Gaura - bumblebees love this

purple aster

dark pink-red bee balm - beloved by bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds

orange butterfly weed, wild

aggravated expression of tabby, bird warned of its presence