Progressing in the direction of summer

This year, the biggest part of my spring work has been in the flower beds—that’s where I tend to my roses and continue to add to the collection of perennials I hope will be the biggest part of all those beds. I’m also carefully starting to learn about ornamental grasses and have planted a few in the newest bed. We’ll see how it goes.

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About a month ago, though, I had a pound of wildflower seeds and a quarter pound of mixed sunflower seeds I sowed into the area in our wildflower patch that was nothing but red Alabama dirt. Each year since we’ve been here, we’ve added to the patch, and now, the perennials that were sowed in earlier years are flowering. The hollyhock is especially lovely this year, in two vibrant shades of pink. These are biannual plants that seem to be reseeding themselves so hopefully they are now a more permanent fixture in our garden. By next year, the whole section we had designated as the wild flower patch will have been planted and our job from then on will be an occasional reseeding.  I have come to love the patience of slow work that I measure not in months, but years.

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Sherod has been busy with the vegetable garden. Okra, squash, onions, zucchini, lettuce, eggplant, cabbage, spinach, strawberries, asparagus, basil, peppers, chives, and tomatoes are all in the ground. So far, the strawberries and carrots have been a bust, but everything else is thriving. I asked for two San Marzano tomato plants and one already has fruit on it. We’re hoping to can some serious pickled okra this year.

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Then there are the volunteers and the left-behinds. Our blueberry crop will not be anywhere near as abundant as last year. Sherod is an exuberant pruner and had at the blueberry bushes the fall. We do well with a smaller harvest this year, especially with the promise that 2018 will return us to the kind of crop we saw last year; we used our last package of frozen blueberries just a few weeks ago and they tasted especially wonderful! Along with the gift of blueberry bushes that was left behind for us, this year we have some unexpected volunteers. Sherod put up a little shelf on one of the big trees in the back yard and stocked it regularly with sunflower seeds for Buddy. Along with him, other squirrels and lots of birds feasted on them. Not all the seeds made it into bellies and instead, fell on the ground. We now have a circle of sunflower volunteers blooming and bringing us great joy.

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Spring is progressing in the direction of summer…

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