The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Sassy and I Garden Together - She Wonders Why I Water Before a Thunderstorm

Sassy's missing leg makes her appealing to children and adults.
She loves to talk, using various growls and yips to manage my life.

Almost Eden said his dog tends to get underfoot when he works, but Sassy normally picks a place where she can watch in the shade and supervise. She enjoyed digging with me near the front porch. Once an area is opened up, she sniffs it and sometimes tests it with her paw. She ended up under my arms as I planted some new arrivals. I was stretched out on my stomach and she was beneath my arms, not quite in the way, enjoying the closeness.

We have an unspoken agreement now that afternoon walks are around the cul-de-sac, which is shaded late in the day. Six is a good time in the morning for a cool walk around the neighborhood, and six a great time to walk around our street in the early evening.

Sassy lets me water the new roses at the end of the day, even if rain is predicted. Yesterday she thought I was being too tedious, so she barked to go in, waiting just inside on the cool floor. She likes to be outside for a time with me, but not too long in the heat and humidity.

We had definite rain predicted, and I saw lightning blinking north of us later that evening. Why water? The new roses have to leaf out, and they dry out too much in the breezes and bright sunlight. If they have moistened canes and roots, the rain will be working on healthy rather than stressed roses.

Sometimes Sassy flushes out rabbits. I told one neighbor there is a rabbit for every yard. He said, "No, a rabbit you see and 12 you don't see - in every yard." We watched an adult hop away last night.

Rugosa roses are known for their hips,
ragged leaves, tolerance of shade and dryness.

Rugusa Roses
I have been using rain-barrel water to get the Rugosa roses going. They showed life as soon as I soaked them overnight, before planting. Now three of the five have those ragged green leaves popping out.

The Hosta plants I bought with those roses were tiny. I soaked them too, now they are growing well in the shade of the house, amid Wild Strawberry plants.

I obtained some Willow bushes for a screen - from Almost Eden. He said, "I can see why you want to screen the view" as he looked at the view toward the West. Willows also tolerate shade and dryness, but they all needed a boost before the rain came. Once again, Sassy said "Enough of this," and barked to go inside.

Beautyberries feed birds at the end of the season.


Last Year's Bushes Flowering
Last year I bought samples of various plants from Almost Eden. I saw very little from them last year. They either had too much rain or too little, and their roots were not fully established in the soil. Many perennial plants do a lot of root growth in the fall and winter, and ours was perfect for that, with various mulches decomposing into the soil to feed the plant growth.

I planted a number of little Bee Balm varieties. My reward was seeing a hummingbird sipping from one (1) flower last summer. I wondered how Bee Balm could call itself a mint - where was the pervasive growth through the roots? I found out this spring when the red ones showed up like relatives and friends after a PowerBall win.



A tiny Bee Balm all last year, planted among the roses on the fence, grew to a large bush and flowered with purple frilly blooms, smelling like a jar of Vicks Vapo-rub. I cut some for the altar flowers. A few of them overpowered the rose fragrance, so I can see why various creatures are attracted to them.

White Profusion Butterfly Bush


Plant Them Where They Will Be Seen
I have learned to try plants in the places where I will always see them, even if the placement seems to be wrong at the time.

I tried out a few plants in one sunny but neglected area, in the West corner of the yard. Nothing grew well there and one Butterfly Bush barely stayed alive. Since then I have learned that Butterfly Bushes are rather fussy, so it almost finished off a Bonnie, destined to be 12 feet tall. I transplanted the midget bush to where it could be watched and watered from the rain-barrel. At first it wilted, as these flimsy plants tend to do. I used some logs to hold it up straight and gave it daily doses of liquid fertilizer (rain). Now the plant is established and ready to join its giant White Profusion partner.

I thought the White Profusion would be fun to watch in bloom from the  bedroom window, thinking it would be six feet tall or so. Instead, the plant is nine (9) feet tall and reaching upwards. One reward was seeing a pair of Chickadees land on the platform feeder, move to the Jackson EZ Bird Swing, and rest in the large Butterfly Bush. Each one sang "Chicka-dee-dee-dee," so I filled two feeders for them.

Ministers would be a lot better at their jobs if they gardened and fed birds. Most of Jesus' parables concern His own Creation, which is fitting. He used examples that everyone could picture and see in their own work - wild flowers quickly blooming, the lowly sparrow, sheep, sowing seed, the harvest, the seed that grows while we sleep, the early and late rains essential for growing food.

Learning often means unlearning. We are immersed in business talk and ministers easily pick that up from our culture and the Tony Robbins of Church Growth. They talk about their vision, reaching critical mass, and numbers. Tis strange how I feed them my numbers, like 4.7 million total views - and it only makes them angry.

Ministers and laity need to lay aside those business bromides and pick up the language of the Word. Wear a rubber band on the wrist (sales tactic) and snap it hard when mentioning SAM goals (Specific, Achievable, Measurable). Snap! Bad habit. Instead, speak of the efficacy of the Word and trusting in the Means of Grace.

Holy Mother Sect is perfect. Snap! Jesus did not die on the cross and rise from the dead to let people make their own institutions the Gospel. Faith in the Creating Word or faith in the manufactured organization? That is easily answered from examples outside, from the birds who start the day cheerfully without knowing where their next meal is, from the plants that germinate, grow, flower, and fruit to feed Creation and beautify our lives.

Matthew 6

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Doves are very good at gleaning seed from the feeders or the ground below.
Messy birds and careless squirrels keep doves in business.