Quality is not an act, it is a habit. ~ Aristotle
I have been getting into the habit recently of strolling my gardens every day after my long work day…to catch the blooms and take in the sights, sounds and smells. I recently braved the mosquitoes and went outside at dusk to see the fireflies or what we called lightning bugs as a kid. They were everywhere, and looked like a night sky of twinkling stars. One of my fondest memories from early childhood is that of running and catching fireflies marveling at how they glow.
The deer have an annoyingly bad habit these days of jumping the fence and eating the dogwood bushes. As you can see this is the same doe that was looking into the yard from the meadow a while back. Now she is looking into the meadow from inside the yard. I don’t mind if they chomp on the dogwood bushes. It keeps them pruned so I don’t have to. I think I have sprayed everything else with a safe deer repellent. I have to go about half way across the yard before she decides to jump back over the fence. I don’t think she will be changing her habit of visiting my yard anytime soon and come winter she will bring her young one to find the dogwood bushes yet again.
On a positive note, today I spotted the robins in the front tree again. After 2 failed attempts, we felt the area was not safe from predators (snakes and other birds) and we took down the nest. They left the area or so we thought. They have been flying back and forth from the tree today, and I suspect they are building another nest. Perhaps it is habit for them, perhaps it is shear tenacity or something born in them, but whatever they put my work efforts to shame. They do not give up, and put in whatever labor is necessary. I admire that.
So as I think of our robins, I think of my garden and life. Of how I am trying to do so much that I am just spinning in place or completely paralyzed. This past week an unfinished post was scheduled in error and posted for about 12 hours until I took it down. Embarrassed, I realized something needs to change. I need to take another personal inventory and cultivate better habits. They say it takes 21 days to develop a good or new habit. Even longer to make it part of your routine. As a child, I was a nail-biter. That habit is gone, but it took many years. We can all list our bad habits or habits we wish to change. I can sit and watch old movies for hours and lose track of time as I veg out on the couch. I got out of the habit of exercising (walking and biking) and desperately need to get back to it. But deciding on what to change, how to change it and taking it slow are the keys.
So for the rest of July I will start on one personal habit and one garden habit. Perhaps adding a new habit or tweaking one each month. Personally, I will read and write more and stay away from the TV limiting my time by slowly reducing it.
As for the garden, I will attempt a half hour of weeding each day. I think that may help even with the drought, some of the weeds will come out easily. The front and side beds are weeded, mulched but still need deadheading and occasional weeding. The back beds are weed covered; some worse than others. Try as I might, I cannot get to it all, but I will keep working at it.
With little to no rain this summer here are what is still growing in the garden these days.
Shasta daisies galore of all kinds are growing profusely. I have a habit of collecting many different types of plants. Shastas are one of these plants. I just love the many sizes and different flowers. Some look like coconut (bottom left) and some look like you cut their petals with scissors (bottom right and top right).
Daylilies are another plant I love to collect. I have more that are not shown here, but the bright colors are charming and make my summer garden come to life. Of course the deer got to many so they will probably not flower this year. I have daylilies everywhere I can tuck them in. They grow in any conditions and faithfully bloom for a month sometimes more if they are re-bloomers.
This garden I call my Red Garden. It is just out side the fence next to the pergola on the right side of the house. It gets hot sun and stays pretty dry. The monarda against fence is a fuchsia color and the red phlox has not bloomed yet. The astilbes there glow fiery red even in this hot, dry spot. There is a honeysuckle that has red stems and has red and yellow blossoms. The newest addition is the echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’. It is a gorgeous bright red flower.
The veg garden has its ups and downs. I check it daily; a good garden habit. Unfortunately we are experiencing some tomato blight that I hope I can keep at bay with Neem Oil. Two tomatoes from last year seeded themselves and are growing nicely in the big veg bed. I moved the hybrids to the new smaller bed where the blight now is appearing. I never seem to have much luck with hybrids. I am noticing the blight on the container tomatoes suddenly too.
The good news is I have changed over the large bed yet again. I pulled the 24 heads of garlic we grew, and planted more scallions (top center). I also planted curly endive, more beets and mild mustard greens. I have summer lettuces coming up and the carrots are showing top growth.
My first attempt at eggplants may yield some fruit as you can see in the picture top left. Purple (top right) and wax beans (bottom center) are flowering and setting up beans I hope to pick soon. I transplanted these and am thrilled they are doing well so far. Pumpkins are flowering (bottom left) and the cayenne peppers are growing strong (bottom right). My other peppers look awful and some have died back and are re-growing. I have no idea what I am doing wrong with them, but I will keep trying. My sweet poatoes may also be getting blight and I am spraying them with Neem Oil.
The meadow continues its slow change to yellow. As the echinacea and asters come up it will add some purple and pink. The center bottom picture is native monarda that grows in the meadow too. We are slowly taking out the large overgrown weeds and replacing them with Obedient plant. In the fall, I also hope to seed the other half of the garden where it is still very weedy with natives liatris, blanket flower, yarrow and coreopsis to add more variety. Don’t you just love all the different rudbeckias in the meadow?
Today is my reluctant garden helper/copy editor’s birthday (a.k.a. my wonderful husband Robert). Without his help in the garden and with the blog, I would have nothing growing. He faithfully waters, mulches and weeds the garden. And nothing gets published without his OK. Friday will be another Garden Bloggers Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens, and Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time. Check out what is blooming around the world. Hopefully I will remember to link in.
Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them, either. They keep you. ~ Frank Crane
Special Note: Monthly (usually around the 10th) I guest blog at Walkabout Chronicles.
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