Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Few Yard Blooms

Garden books lie around the living room for most of the year, inspiring me to dig at the first sign of warm weather. However, these tomes don't push me into the yard, place gloves on my hands and pads on my knees. I'm not a gardener. My yard produces the same flowering trees and shrubs that we planted ten years ago because we had to have something blooming seasonally.

What novices we were the first year we feverishly dug, planted, watered and fertilized! Tomato plants put into the ground at the roots we discovered later should have been planted deep so only the tops show. Our choice spot for a pecan tree became overshadowed by faster growing bushes killing it before we ever saw a nut. The fruit trees refused to grow, despite the book advice for fertilizing. Two hickory trees caught blight and died, their skeletal remains standing 36 months. After a few years of a yard full of pine needles,and the difficulty of raking them from a vast area,the Boss gave the orders to workmen, who felled over 75 pines, their limbs lying in the yard for a year. Trunks went to pulp mill. We couldn't make a dent in clearing the twigs and dead needles. No one would take the job for 24 months, despite decent pay.

We bought the property because of over a hundred trees. During house construction, we dared the contractor cut a single tree! After the Big Cut, our adult kids fumed. We had destroyed the country look of our home, they sobbed. Pleas were ignored. Starting over, we planted one tree or shrub at a time, carefully listening to the nurseryman explain the size of the holes, and how to fertilize and water. Somehow this time around we became wiser to the ways of nature. Today we're proud of our Japanese maples, the two Grandfather Graybeards, a few dogwoods and the azalea bushes that keep blooming, despite our neglect.

When spring arrives and I want cut flowers, I buy them arranged in pots and scatter them in the yard. The fun is in selecting the colors and types of blooms I want to greet every morning when I pick up the morning paper.

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