My wife was visiting our next-door neighbor Mrs. Gardener when she was asked, "Do you have plans for your front yard?"
Everyone else has a solid mass of bright green grass in their front yards, thanks to warmer weather and some substantial rains. We have nothing but brown mulch. plenty of brown tree stumps, and slightly growing rose plants - but no grass. The English ivy provides green on the house and a bird's nest. The future butterfly garden has a layer of...mulch.
|Crepe myrtles are more colorful later.|
The new row of crepe myrtle is not yet sprouting leaves, nor is the grandfather crepe myrtle plant. Like many plants and people, they wake up late. No one will ask about front yard plans when all the roses and crepe myrtles are in full bloom. Their eyes will be fixed on the flowers rather than the mulch, but the mulch makes the flowers by feeding the roots and holding in the moisture and nutrition of the rain.
|Slugs feed the toads that eat so many other pests.|
The plentiful stumps look like solemn sentinels - "like a graveyard," our granddaughter said. They are perches for birds, who like to stand above the soil and look for movement. The stumps will be re-arranged in the near future. I consider them a ton of slowly decaying fertilizer for the soil, feeding fungi that feed the flowers.
The prized stump is hollowed out by storms, age, and decay. I will place that one near the faucet, so water can hasten the decay and invite a heavy-lidded toad family to pursue slugs, bugs, and worms. Clay dishes under the soaker hoses are intended to hydrate the creatures that need something smaller than an olympic-sized pool.
The neighbor's chihuahua - we called Little White Mouse - used to race around the yard, stop at a water dish for a drink, and reach full speed again. His constant need for speed and more water was always comical.
|Falling in Love is stunning from every angle|
and is fragrant, but it is the thorniest rose of all.
I wish I could recycle rose cuttings. I have a tangle of thorny canes cut from the largest shrubs - the KnockOuts. They will be followed by trimmings from the smaller roses.
My wife and I never grow tired of the rose blooms. When I look back at last years blooms, featured in Creation Gardening, I get that same gasp of amazement that others have when seeing their size and perfection. I simply turned over the labor to God's creatures. They turned the soil (earthworms), fed nutrition to the roots (fungi), digested the organic matter (bacteria), and kept the pests under control (spiders, beneficial insects, birds).
| Creation roses are easy enough to grow.|
They are like getting an A for attitude in a difficult class,
without doing much work.