|The color has left the Crepe Myrtle bush as the|
flowers turn to seed to complete their work.
Thousands of spherical seeds will remain on the bush most of the winter to feed birds, and Cardinals love them. That is why two Cardinals set up their love-nest, hidden away, in the plant. I discovered that by sitting on the porch motionless to watch the garden. I saw the male, and soon after the female, emerge from the Crepe Myrtle, so I walked over to find a nest - and there it was.
Cardinals were the first to visit the feeders after I moved the hanging one over to accommodate our viewing. Mrs. Ichabod said, "There is the female Cardinal!" - pointing. Mrs. Cardinal saw the motion in the room and flitted away.
Those who made growing roses an onerous task, awash in toxins, missed this fact of flowers turning to seed and the plant becoming dormant. The old rose books had gardeners trimming canes lest "they be whipped around by the winter winds and damaged." But pruning rose canes just before winter is a fine way to promote new growth that will freeze in the predestined frosts. Instead, the flowers should be allowed to turn into rose hips (seed pods) for the winter, the rose dozing off for a few months of rest.
I have a little more time to harvest roses, and I already found a brilliant orange rose hip from a flower that was never removed by pruning.
I visited a spectacular corner garden recently set up by a neighbor a few blocks away. I looked at all the seeds developed by the flowers that grew there. The dried up seed-heads were gone, and new autumn plants were sitting there to lend color to the yard. If I had that kind of ambition, I would gather the dried stalks and their copious seeds and pile them in the back yard as a spare birdfeeder.
Four areas are enjoying a layer of cardboard over the soil, to let the soil creatures convert grass and weeds into compost. Those gardens have six months to get this work done. If the soil creatures grow cold and sluggish - and even freeze - they will have locked up nutrition and water for the spring growing season. Their descendants will take over and enjoy explosive growth in the warm, rain-soaked Spring.
Vines are shriveling and dropping seeds (Morning Glory, Honeysuckle) or building a tough root system to promote Hummingbird attracting flowers (Trumpet Vine), or merely trying to take over the world (English Ivy).
Our neighbor wants a bunch of Morning Glory vine to lay down on her fence, seeds for a new season. Buying the seeds is expensive, but if we pretend we do not care, the vines will spring up and display their flowers each morning. Mr. Gardener and I enjoy the vines on our shared fence, and they make a great backdrop for the roses in bloom.
Gardening can make the most impatient ready to wait for Creator's schedule. Vines quickly change their growth patterns from "Don't stop" to "Don't! Stop!!!!" Now my eye is on the English Ivy as it creeps into the rose garden. We actually cut all the vines off the porch floor and all the ambitious tendrils from the edge of the roses. They will return for more sun, more water, and more soil to conquer.
I hoped for instant Trumpet Vine, but I learned they take as long as Asparagus to produce well. My strongest vine of the three bloomed with a huge orange flower on the neighbor's side (Mrs. Wright's fence). All three should be productive and seductive for Hummingbirds next spring.
Entire denominations have been swindled by marketing people from Fuller Seminary, who took the view of the chemical gardeners. "Boost the soil with factory chemicals and you will get instant growth!" This siren song lured all the denominations - even the Church of Rome - to founder on the rocks of marketing gimmicks:
- Drop the liturgy.
- End the Creeds.
- Eliminate the hymns.
- Yank out the pipe organ.
- Turn sermons into life-coaching talks.
- Install a praise band.
- Harvest thousands of members and millions of dollars in the instantaneous aftermath.
|Finally, a kind word about fungus.|