The yard-changing magic of de-cluttering

Less is more, or so say the experts. Personally, I have not felt the allure of the new “tiny home” or other minimalist trends but can appreciate the reasoning behind them. Our possessions are often burdening us! Most of us could benefit by simplifying many physical aspects of our lives.

It is no different in the garden. It would be wise to let go of plants that are high maintenance in favor of a shorter task list. Maybe, just maybe, one CAN have too many daylilies. At the very least, one can have too many of the same kind of daylily or iris.

In the now-popular book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo instructs her devotees to hold each item in their hands and decide if it brings them joy. Continue reading “The yard-changing magic of de-cluttering”

All of us wither like a leaf

The proud colors of autumn are but a precursor of their own demise. The process that turns the tree’s leaves such beautiful hues is the very thing that causes the leaf stalk to separate from the branch.

The abscission layer – the cells at the base of the leaf stalk – stop allowing moisture and minerals to reach the leaves. When the leaf is unable to manufacture chlorophyll, the green color fades and the yellows and oranges are revealed.

Eventually, this abscission layer completely severs the connection, and the leaves fall to the ground…and on the driveway…and the porch….and into the house…. Continue reading “All of us wither like a leaf”

Daily dose of sanity

Thank the good Lord for the beauty and love all around us, which comforts us in troubling times!

These past few weeks have been more than troubling. A man opens fire at a church, and another mows down scores of innocent concertgoers. The world grieves deeply, and our Holy Father grieves even more.

Then the name-calling and accusations start flying over whose fault it is, and who didn’t prevent the tragedies, and over what each other is supposedly thinking and feeling.

In society’s rush to make sense of the senseless, fingers are pointed. Those fingers are then wagged derisively at some who don’t agree with those who vehemently shout their “I told you so” rhetoric. Retaliatory insults are then lobbed in the opposite direction. Continue reading “Daily dose of sanity”

Preserving the best

Autumn is in the air! Well, maybe not the cool, crisp feel of the first frost that looms nearer and nearer, because it’s still pretty hot in the sunny South. But the calendar has let us know that the days are now shorter than the nights, as we passed the autumnal equinox.

That means that many of us are still canning, freezing, or dehydrating the last of the harvest. I DO love the look of a pantry full of colorful jars of tomato sauce, peaches, jams, and everything good the garden and our good Lord had to offer this summer. Continue reading “Preserving the best”

Not so simple

The humble zinnia is still brightening up the garden as it weathers the late season temperature changes. It is only an annual, a flower that completely dies at the end of the growing season and won’t re-grow again from the roots.

Still, there is no need to plant them every year, in spite of their transient nature. The birds, while collecting the prized seeds after the blooms are spent, inadvertently scatter some seeds in their feeding frenzy.

The blooms themselves, in spite of the often vivid coloring, would appear to be the very essence of simplicity due to their plain form. At first glance, they appear to have the classic “petals around a yellow middle” type of shape that we all drew in kindergarten. Continue reading “Not so simple”

The glory of the moon

Those gardeners who plant moon gardens have my admiration. I never indulged myself in creating a place where we can enjoy the flowers that open as the sun goes down, but it sounds like a wonderful way to enjoy the best part of the day — the evening.

There is an unparalleled wonder in flowers that exhibit that rare characteristic of opening up AFTER the sun sets rather than when it rises. Continue reading “The glory of the moon”

Who says?

Those tomatoes and peppers really should do better.

For that matter, there must be a couple dozen plants that don’t thrive in the garden as well as I’d like. Many times it is just a matter of simply not noticing that there is a problem, before I have a chance to correct it.

Luke 13:6-9 tells us of a farmer who wanted to give one tree some special treatment before he gave up on it. It wasn’t bearing figs.

His solution was one that was tried and true. Continue reading “Who says?”

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda – The game our hearts play

Eleven new daylilies. That’s what came home with me when I went to a friend’s garden to pick up one or two, maybe three.

In the hurry to put them into the ground in my own garden, quick decisions had to be made before the plants became stressed for lack of water and nourishment.

The prettiest one of them ended up between the garage and a large stand of rather tall cannas and a crape myrtle.

Why would I put them there? Continue reading “Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda – The game our hearts play”

Isolate the cause

Green peppers are ripe in the garden! Oh, the possibilities — pepper pizza, fajitas, stuffed peppers, and any number of dishes with these tasty green fruits as a flavoring.

I brought in the first two bell peppers from the garden yesterday. One was perfect! The other was a terrible disappointment, after cutting into it and finding brown spots on the inside. I needed to know how to prevent the rest of my pepper crop from succumbing to such an unappetizing problem. Continue reading “Isolate the cause”

Garbage as food

The ultimate recycling technique consists of using your own kitchen vegetable waste to feed the soil in the garden where you grow more vegetables. Our family also adds the weeds that come out of that garden.

This week we enjoyed some sweet corn, although we didn’t grow it.

Corn husks are not the best thing for the compost bin, but they go there anyway. We wouldn’t think of eating them. If I were a better international cook, I would save them for tamales, although they STILL wouldn’t get eaten even after they were used to hold together all that delicious corn and beef goodness. Continue reading “Garbage as food”