Our attorney in Phoenix said, "You are moving TO Arkansas? I can see moving FROM Arkansas."
I said nothing, which means, "You are too dense for a response." Since then I have attended about 80 Walmart Saturday Morning Meetings, met three CEOs and the surviving children of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart. Little Ichabod and I have listened to movie stars, politicians, and real heroes like Sully, who landed his passenger jet in a river and saved all their lives. Famous Medal of Honor winners? - they have been honored only 15 feet from us, since we get the front seats by getting there early. We saw the notorious Senator McCain at one meeting, and I never saw him (or tried) in Phoenix.
Yesterday, I posted a video and these pictures on Facebook, from the photography session with Sassy. A classmate wrote right away, "Greg, would you please sell me a cutting?" I was willing to give her some, but she soon learned her location was too cold for Crepe Myrtle.
And "that's what I like about the South."
This odd photo, above, demonstrates how a Crepe Myrtle will re-bloom after being pruned in the summer, if it has enough time. I pruned the lower half and put the cuttings below for mulch. I left the upper portion alone, since Cardinals are nesting there. Now the upper portion is going through its cycle of pollination and seed production. Birds love the seeds, so the plant first feeds the pollinating insects, then the birds for winter.
Adult beneficial insects usually need pollen and nectar for their meals, letting the babies eat the pests. Having early, persistent, and late blooms will keep that population around, generation after generation.
The stumps in the front yard are not from cutting down our trees, but from numerous rescue operations, grabbing them from the curb before they are hauled to the dump. They serve as perches for birds looking for food among the roses, and they feed the soil by creating a zone for the creatures that live from darkness and decomposition.
Our rustic fence is made from the limbs of a tree cut down across the street. They were also on sale at an antique market. I did not ask the price, since I had plenty.
The seeds framed by the blue sky are a small indication of what a fine bird-feeder this Crepe Myrtle is, only costing a little labor from time to time. Most of the energy comes from its position in the sun, watering when it was ready to bloom, and constant mulching year around. Every organic tepee underneath has flattened out from decomposition.
New rose growers often think that pruning means taking blooms away, but veteran growers know that every prune (dead wood or green branch) spurs growth above and below.
One British gardening book taught me that organic matter on top of the soil will be pulled down until the soil is enriched as much as possible. The remaining mulch on top serves to protect the treasure below. Red wiggler earthworms are the best for decomposition and thrive in this environment. Our yard was heavily sown with red wigglers from the beginning, including the place beneath the Crepe Myrtle.
Good gardening methods take advantage of
- God's Creation,
- Engineering, and
- Management - whether the gardener acknowledges this truth or not.
Bad gardeners thwart the Creation and supplant it with man's ideas about
- Chemical fertilizers,
- Fungicides, and
- Herbicides - four ways to poison the soil and limit plant growth.
|Sassy supervises all my gardening efforts.|
Do not clean up the garden, rake away the leaves, or do anything else to disturb the expert engineering on display in the yard. Hordes of beneficial creatures depend on leaf litter, dormant or dead plants, logs, branches, and other ornaments of organic gardening to survive the winter and protect their young.
I have a green jungle along Mrs. Wright's fence, a tangle of many plants and weeds. We could mow or weed eat it down to a green porridge, but the density of this growth is unlike the density of the attorney quoted above - good for something.
Every spring our helper wants to rake up the remaining leaves. I stop him with stern warnings and helpful encouragement. "Soon the leaves will be pulled under the soil." The piles in the back were deep but they are a fine mat now, no longer knee deep. Where did they go? Earthworms and mites reduced them for the microbes in the soil, the foundation for the root hairs of all the plants.
During that time, bugs good and bad matured, some eaten, others moving about to do their assigned tasks. Many beetles prey upon the worst pests. The work of spiders is impossible to calculate. They want the trashy style of the so-called lazy gardener, who knows more is done from not cleaning up than can every happen with the tidy, monoculture look of green grass and nothing else.
I knew a pastor who rototilled his autumn leaves into the garden, when leaves are frosting on the cake, a blanket of warmth and food for God's Creation. He did not trust God to use the leaves in the best way possible, like ministers who do not trust the Word to do God's will.
|Sassy is always listening and watching.|
Here she is looking toward her home
from Almost Eden Gardens and Nursery.