Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall Thinks About Sneaking In

I suppose it's fall here now but the wisteria is putting up the good fight. A plant after my own heart! Looking at the front path, however, I see the beginnings of the leaf inundation which will indeed come in waves. It was easier to rake leaves back in the days of lawn but now it's just a meditative experience to ease the masses out from around plants. And if a few remain it's all good anyway...they just compost in place!
Back in the garden I'm trying to get the winter veggies going and I've succumbed to the allure of the Gardener's Supply plant covers. The sparrows just aren't satisfied with the seed I offer them...they need greens for the first course. My greens. My carrots. My beets. My spinach. My peas. They've already finished off one round of lettuce that was not under cover...guess I'm a slow learner. Every year I've jury rigged a cover out of window screen or bird net. Nothing has been totally successful so this year I asked for these nifty covers for my birthday and my dad came through.
So we've got spinach, broccoli, carrots, beets, swiss chard, cippollini and scallions gathered safely under the covers. I'm hoping they will be easier to use and do the job well. The peas are still making do with bird netting...once the plants are of a certain size they seem to be less appealing to the sparrows. If these covers work as well as I hope they will I'll be ordering a few more next fall. And the sparrows will be looking elsewhere for their greens!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

GBBD October 2008

I often say I garden because I have to…it’s a compulsion or addiction for me.
I love working in my garden. I love eating from my garden. I love looking at my garden.
I love looking at my garden while eating a snack picked in my garden when I’m
taking a break from working in my garden. But just recently I’ve come to understand a bit more about the gift of being a gardener.
Ten days ago my 77 year old father suffered a hemorrhagic stroke while
visiting his sister 2000 miles from his home. He spent 6 days in the Cleveland Clinic, was discharged, flew home to California accompanied by one of my brothers and one of my sisters (thanks Mom and Dad for making sure there were enough of us to handle this!) and immediately admitted to an acute rehab program. We have run the gamut of emotions and fears, been told one thing only to learn another and texted/phoned each other in one week more than we have for 10 years. Right now we are cautiously optimistic that he will eventually return to his normal routine…a routine that includes going from one of our homes to the next fixing what needs fixing and building all kinds of things. My yard alone boasts a fountain he bought and installed, a lamppost in my fern corner, and the banksia arbor, side shed and patio roof, all of which he designed and built.
Right now he is, thankfully, physically in good shape. The stroke did not affect any of his motor abilities and his years of hard work have kept him strong. However, he cannot read or write (much) and is understanding about 30% of what is said to him. His speech is confused although improving. What does any of this have to do with being a gardener? I flew home from the weekend at the hospital mentally and physically drained. I’ll be heading back this next weekend with the possibility that we will spend it in his apartment beginning outpatient life. What got me calmed down and back on track was sitting in my garden. Out on the patio, unable to think, I just sat. And in doing so my garden began to calm me. Just being in the place I love to be, watching the birds and cabbage whites, the voices in my head slowed down and I knew that the patience a gardener learns was going to figure into the next few months. I’m glad I have my garden to come home to and I’m hoping my dad will be here helping out again before long. Or maybe just enjoying what he’s helped me create…a peaceful place to sit and be calmed…and maybe eat a freshly picked snack.
What would he see if he were able to be here today? Cool nights have not stopped the blooms and I started making a list. But after trying to focus I gave up and decided to just let it be. Instead, here are some photos I took. I hope to be able to pull a list together…next month!
To see lots of actual lists visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens who each month invites us to join in her Garden Blogger Bloom Day extravaganza!