Let me just say up front digging holes is not my favorite thing. It’s pretty much at the bottom of my gardening to do list. Even though I would rather spend the entire day in my garden as opposed to indoors, there are just certain things I don’t like to do, and I have had to become quite resourceful in finding ways to get them done. Luckily with digging the holes, I found out my friend Karen seems to like doing it. She also loves using my garden in the summer to curl up in a chair or hammock and read or fall asleep so she finds it a good trade-off.
The other thing I don’t usually do is mow the lawn and for over a month now we have been without a gardener to do this.
The gardener usually just mows and edges the lawn twice a month so as you can imagine Cheryl’s Garden is beginning to look a little scraggly. The new gardener’s start tomorrow and I feel like my friends who have housekeepers. They always clean the house before the cleaning person comes. I have the urge to run around and make sure everything is dead headed. Water all my containers. Put away watering cans, bags of dirt. Pick up all the toys-like that stray hula hoop in the middle of the yard aaaggghhhh how long has that been there? The grass has started to yellow and it looks like we have crop circles. Great.
Finally I get everything in some semblance of order. I think I won’t be too embarrassed tomorrow. I sit at my outdoor office (patio table) with a glass of icy lemonade. I hear the kids running towards the back door with a new armload of toys. Nooo I say, the gardeners are coming, the gardeners are coming!
Four and twenty blackberries baked in a pie…
I thought sure that was how the rhyme went when I was little. Maybe it just foretold my love of blackberry pie or maybe that I would one day have a “Great Blackberry Patch”. Behind my garden shed I have a good-sized piece of land. It would be the perfect place for a vegetable garden. It gets full morning sun and is really quite roomy at around 20’x 30′. Many times I have pictured the cherry tomatoes, zucchini, artichokes, green beans and lettuce all growing organically out there. Feeding my family from the land just like my grandma did when I was a little girl. But that, I have come to realize is not going to happen because that piece of land belongs to the blackberries.
There weren’t that many in the beginning (compared to now) and I actually thought I could clear them and the weeds that came along with them when we bought the house. The vines at that time hadn’t produced berries so they seemed relatively useless. I started small on my own digging cutting and going through about three gallons of Ground Clear a box of band-aids and a tube of neosporin.
It didn’t take long before I realized it didn’t work. I couldn’t believe it. How deep were theses roots? We tried several more ways over the following years to remove them, even going so far as removing 18″ of old dirt back there until finally I just gave up. The blackberry bramble had won. Now other than just keeping it under control as best I can, I have stopped battling the blackberries behind the garden shed. They have begun producing a multitude of sweet berries that make a yummy “Four and Twenty blackberries baked in a pie” kinda pie. My garden behind my shed didn’t turn out to be vegetables but it did become something maybe even better, The Great Blackberry Patch.
Cheryl in the Garden
August is almost upon us and sadly I can see that my beautiful hydrangea are starting to change colors. This heralds the beginning of the end of Summer for me. Now I will wait until the last moment possible because some of my hydrangea turn into beautiful red, maroon and dark blue colors that are even more vibrant the hot pinks that graced their stems throughout the previous months. But when that moment finally arrives It will be time to cut back the hydrangea bushes. Now to do it correctly follow these simple guidelines. Most hydrangea produce flowers on the previous year’s growth (two exceptions are ‘All Summer Beauty’ and Endless Summer, which bloom on new growth).To shape and keep up the plants’ size, and to avoid cutting off next year’s flower buds, prune them back right after blooms fade. Like I said though I sometimes leave my flowers on the bush until they have completely changed color. Cut stems that have bloomed back to 12 inches. To produce fewer, larger flowers next spring, cut back some of the stems to the base of the plant.
Hydrangea are one of my favorite flowers, and as with many things in my garden I often have my own way of doing things that works for me. I encourage you to find your way in your garden.
Cheryl in the Garden