~ Lewis Grizzard
It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.
~ Lewis Grizzard
We had BLTs tonight with my first tomato!! So exciting!
This weekend in the garden was all about maintenance. Some of the weeds, particularly the thistles and the clover had taken over. I would rather pull out the huge thistles plants at this point. I have figured out that if you loosen the root with a shovel and then pull at the base where there are no thorns, they come out easily - with the help of some good gardening gloves! The clover's roots are tiny and spread everywhere. After pulling out tons of little plants I then had to turn over the soil to expose the roots that I left behind. As you can see by the collection of lawn bags on my curb, I had lots of weeds to pull.
I ending up using some weed killer in some of the areas. I have been trying to use less poison in the ground. I want to nurture the ground as well as have beautiful gardens. I do not want that to be my first line of defense. But my yard is so big. I care for it by myself and so I have a hard time getting ahead of the weeds and care.
The day lilies are beginning to bloom. It will be a good year. There are lots of buds. I included pictures of the two types in my yard. The solid yellow ones are Stella de Oro. They are small compact plants. I think if I moved them to a sunnier area, they would bloom more.
The other kind is called Orange Daylily. It is a variety that grows well in the wild. It spreads and can take over. It is considered old and dated and not sold in nurseries anymore. People favor the hybrids now. I received these plants from my mother-in-law's yard years ago. The flowers are brilliant and can be 3-4 feet tall. I like the flower but I need to keep the plants at bay. If anyone is in the area, I would be happy to give you some of this ordinary but beautiful Daylily.
My Yucca plants are flowering like crazy this year. Some years I only get stalk or two. As you can see, there are many this year. These are planted near the road. They are very hardy. They don't seem to mind the salt residue from the winter road crews piling up snow in our cul-de-sac every winter. The flowers from both a distance and up close are striking.
The tomatoes are coming....slow. I thought they would ripen faster. (A rookie assumption!) My Poblano pepper plants are finally getting some little peppers on them. I can't wait!
It was a good weekend. I am sore but as I sit on my back patio with my morning coffee, I can enjoy my hard work.
I haven't been able to get out in my garden for two weeks. A combination of rainy weather, lots of work getting ready for Vacation Bible School and a painful treatment on my fingers has kept me away. I check on my tomato plants everyday. It is so gratifying to see them just "do their thing"! I have a cherry tomato plant that has at least two dozen green tomatoes, another plant that will yield about 8" tomatoes and an heirloom tomato plant.
I have such great childhood memories of going out in the garden, picking and eating a tomato warm from the sun. I can't wait to do that!
I took my first Garden Field trip last week. As part of my quest this growing season to look new at the ways I see and interact
with the created world, I decided to take some field trips to motivate and inspire me.
I went to Adams Park in Wheaton over my lunch hour one day this week. The park is named for John Quincy Adams who lived in Wheaton in the late 1800’s. He is a distant relative of the Adams Presidents. The fountain pictured used to sit in front of their home on this same property in Wheaton.
The park is beautiful. It has lots of benches that never seem to all get full. There is always a place to sit – even in the shade. It is beautifully cared for. The scent of the lilacs permeated the whole park. It was a perfect way to spend some time outdoors.
I know my own gardens will not achieve this level of manicured beauty but I did appreciate the simplicity in which they designed the space. There were small groupings of flowers mixed in among all the trees. In this park
the trees share the spotlight. There are of varying heights – and ages. I was struck by the unique look one tree’s leaves and took a picture. They were not green but variegated pink and dark red. Beautiful.
This was a great first field trip. It will help me see my yard as a whole, complete with lots of shade trees. I need to remember the simple beauty of Adams Park. Simplicity in my gardens – that is something I can achieve!
This blog was initially inspired by the book The Fragrance of God by Vigen Guroian and a soon to be published cover article concerning global warming and care of creation in the Lutheran Magazine by my friend Jim Honig. It is my way to keep focused on the joy of the process in gardening.
I gave my mom two copies of The Fragrance of God for her birthday, one or her and one for me, so that we could have a book club discussion. I connected with so many specific passages, but it was the overall reverence with which the author spoke about his garden that touched me. He made me expand my definition of vocation in seeing that I could have many places in my life where I use my heart and talents to serve God - even care for God's creation.
Or as Fredrick Buechner puts it, "The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's hunger meet."
I love the beauty of the created world but I am far from a master gardener. I do not know the names of most of the plants in my yard. My care for them, however good intentioned, can be a bit inconsistent. It was after reading
the Lutheran Magazine article by Jim that helped me see my yard and my gardens differently. In the context of caring for creation within the overwhelming problems of global warming Jim wrote about The Little Way and Thérèse of Lisieux, "The Little Way challenges followers of Christ to look at the small things that each person can do, especially when doing small things seems to make no difference at all. Adopting The Little Way requires giving up the need to control outcomes and to embrace a trust in the effectiveness of doing small things." It clicked for me...again. Gardening is not about keeping the weeds at bay. God is in the physical act of gardening. We participate in God's creative process. Gardening is art. As Guroian says, "No earthly garden is ever just an earthly garden, for God is in the garden."
So now I am reframing how I think about my yard. I will try not to think of it as a battle each growing season; me vs. the yard. When I think of it that way, it seems neither I nor the yard really wins. This is what I have learned in my work and in parenting and now will apply it to caring for creation: When we make that switch from focusing on the product of our work to the process, we become inspired. We are inspired to use our talents not only for an end result but also for the extravagance of experiencing them for beauty or peace or usefulness in the world. Using The Little Way as my guide in gardening, I will try to give up the need to control
the outcome and will "embrace a trust in the effectiveness of doing small things."