Our distant neighbor, two houses away, stopped her car and rolled down the window.
"Still interested in our pine needles?"
"I sure am, all you can give me, plus cones."
"Yes, that is part of the mulch treatment for the Hosta garden."
Today she came over with her daughter to deliver the needles and cones. We already had most of the cardboard placed, and somewhat blown around, for the Hosta garden. Bermuda grass was growing in the cracks, but the old pile of needles had no growth under it as they were moved on top of the cardboard.
Her young teen daughter wanted to earn money for horseback competitions, which made me put in a good word for horse manure. Some opportunities develop slowly, as the needles did. That started last year with the mulching of the Blueberry bushes. At that time, the wood mulch was still on top of the corn garden. Ha. The best crop I got from that area was Poison Hemlock. The corn did not get enough sun, and the squirrels wiped the stalks clean of what did grow, leaving the stalks bare. Nothing is wasted. The stalks rotted into the ground and became mulch.
When I bought field corn cobs to put on the squirrel feeder, they put the empty cobs in a place that would remind me of their need for more. Much later the cobs were still appearing from time to time, as if to say, "We still love our corn." Squirrels have no sense of irony, but I do.
Hosta already has a start, thanks to Mr. Gardener. Our neighbor looked at the wall of Morning Glories (climbing the chain-link fence) behind the roses. "How did that happen?" All I have to do is give her a basket of Morning Glory vines, and they will drop seed for free.
"Oh, Blackberries!" They will be easy to dig up and plant in her yard. They spread easily and require little care. They not only spread through stolons underground but also by rooting their own tips into the soil. A few Blackberry plants started on one side of the house now grow on two more sides.
Easy to grow can become "Invasive!" But I like them.
Cardboard itself is an ugly mulch and blows around easily - though nothing like fresh, dry newspapers. Topping the cardboard layer with pine needles gave the Hosta garden a fresh pine scent and a pleasant forest look. Hostas also spread on their own. Norma Boeckler is very fond of them.
I suggested used that approach in her backyard, where a maple is now mulched with those needles. Hosta and Wild Strawberries would probably grow easily in the shade. Hosta provides blooms for Hummingbirds. Wild Strawberries bloom steadily in the shade and provide berries for birds.
While the last load was being brought over, I cut roses for them. The mother and daughter caught me giving roses away on Mothers Day, and now they have their own Veterans Honor rose, which is doing well for being transplanted twice.
I had a Big Purple rose, a Veterans Honor bloom too big for its stem, and a perfect Falling in Love rose. They debated which one was best, because the mother said, "I love them all." But the daughter said, "I know my favorite. Falling in Love."
That was another sweet moment in our little cul-de-sac.
Sassy and I rescued another dog today, the new neighbors' Dachsie. She found us and followed us all the way home, happily entering our backyard, where she had no escape. Later I led her over and she became bouncy as she recognized her owner's voice.
|Falling in Love|