When I walked Sassy, the veteran's brother stopped me to ask about her. We talked about the weather and the downed branches. I saw a very large one and asked to have it. Once Sassy and I were done walking, I casually grabbed it and dragged it home.
Earlier this spring, I wheelbarrowed leaves home from the same house on the corner. I wanted to drag the branch anonymously, which is difficult on a cul-de-sac. My friendly neighbors drove by, stopped, waved, and laughed, probably thinking, "Crazy gringo." I thought, "But I have the roses and you have grass."
The veteran's brother agreed that dead branches are good for gardening. I am fashioning a wild area, using logs and heavy branches to provide a rustic border plus food and shelter for the creatures. We are going to have fun with leaves this fall. I am now keeping cardboard boxes, opening them up, and using them for the newspaper layer in Jackson Mulch.
I noticed some people were throwing away old wood they had used to border their garden. So far I have resisted the temptation to grab it. The wood is a few blocks away, so I would have to explain a bit.
Once I began gathering wood and making rough borders, the wild area took on a new look. The bushes each have logs around them. Now another set of logs and branches stretch across the area to serve as a low border, for toads, slugs, earthworms, spiders, arthropods, and birds. I sowed buckwheat just before a rain and now have that cover crop, bee friendly plant, growing in the back where only weeds and sparse grass grew before.
|Queen Ann's Lace always has a spot of blood on it,|
or a bug to draw more bugs.
|When the seeds are maturing, a bird's nest seems to form.|
Queen Ann's Lace is already blooming, so I have another bee and butterfly plant in the back. I found that at Lowe's, free, in a patch solid with the stuff. I gathered and sneezed at the same time. The flower is nicknamed Bird's Nest because the umbrella-like seedhead looks like a bird's nest as it matures.
We had mulch but not enough newspapers for the front rose garden touch-up, where some grass erupted through the mulch. That happens with a new row of plants, because the grass is even more vigorous and stages a breakout before composting. When the Friday paper came, my first thought was not the news but the mulch. "Saturday's paper will do it." The Sunday paper goes to the fours sisters for their mother's coupon collection.
Once a good use for trash is discovered, a shortage arises. In cleaning up one area we found an enameled pan, just right for a bird bath. That began my search for more shallow pans and bowls.
I knew I had toads from last year's surprises under the spigot bowls, which I used to capture extra water for Sassy and various creatures. Invariably dumping the bowl for clean water meant uncovering a toad.
When I moved an enormous log in the wild area, a large toad sat there royally. Looking at our minor insect damage, I wanted more toads and bought inexpensive clay pots to crack and deploy around the yard, front and back.
The potatoes are flowering and producing seed, something missed by many. They are in the straw bale garden, the sunniest part of the yard.
|Cinco de Mayo floribunda rose.|
The bargain roses bloomed before the fancy hybrid teas, perhaps because they were older bare root roses. They are worth far more than the $5 each I paid. One reader corrected me when I said Cinco de Mayo was not an attractive rose. "All God's roses are beautiful." Now in full bloom, Cinco is one of the best of all the roses in bloom.
|Veteran's Honor is a vibrant red and fragrant.|
Peace roses are blooming - vintage and Pink Peace. I am waiting for Chicago Peace to bloom. Veteran's Honor may be the best red rose ever, but Mr. Lincoln has many great qualities, fragrance, and turns purple as it ages when cut.
|Falling in Love, hybrid tea, fragrant.|
Forever in Love, which I thought died during winter, bloomed in its new location.
The vines are growing, from Honeysuckle (rapid) to Trumpet (leafing out) to Passion Flower (green and struggling).
Lessons Learned So Far
The heat loving plants should be started after Memorial Day. Early planting means either poor germination or no growth for months.
- Sweet potatoes.
Cold loving plants do well in the cool, damp, rainy days:"
Let the weeds grow. They have many surprises and good things to offer. Exception - poison ivy, full of surprises with nothing good to offer.