I decided to spend just a few hours this morning cleaning up. Just a few, since we had plans in the afternoon.. a couple of hours, before that gardening backache sets in. Just enough to tidy up, because I have essentially let my garden, and the entire yard actually, go to hell.
It started with pulling out some weeds and overgrown stuff, which morphed into cutting back the dead and finished flowers and stalks. Because the S.O. had taken the loaded dump truck to the dump, a full view of the space at the back of the driveway that I have not seen all summer suddenly became visible, allowing access to what has been hidden for months – an incredible mass of overgrown, smelly, I-don’t-know-what. So I started ripping that out. Once there was an open area in the beds along the fence, I began transplanting the baby Rose-of-Sharon plants that have cropped up beneath the mother plants growing around the house – the original mother plants courtesy of my lovely garden friend L.
As you can see, I get side-tracked easily.
My mother once said that I was “like a Little Bee, flitting from flower to flower, being distracted by the next interesting thing“. Actually, she also said this about my sister-in-law after an exhausting day of accompanying her on some intense clothes shopping at T.J. Maxx. Said sister-in-law happens to thrive in the shopping arena. I do not possess that skill, do not have the patience to dig through racks of clothing like that, actually hate it. I melt down in a place like T.J. Maxx.
But already, I digress again. My mother had a point I guess. Back to this point…. I started pulling up some of the defunct tomato plants…. but since some of them still seemed to have a number of Last Gasp Tomatoes desperately hanging on, I left them in hopes of getting a few more salads out of them. So the clean-out was not totally complete. However, I did make some interesting discoveries beneath the whole mess, which included yet another mutant Zucchaloupe, and a small pepper plant with one green pepper dangling from it, which I did not plant – probably another surprise volunteer from the compost pile.
Once again getting distracted, I ran inside to grab my camera and take some photos of the ever-mesmerizing outer space Passion Flower vine with purple blooms growing up the fence. Since the camera was in hand, I started taking photos around the garden…until I noticed that the wormwood has taken over my front yard…. so I began ripping that out. In retrospect, I should have planted it somewhere in the back where nothing else was happening….probably behind where the dump truck is parked. Since wormwood is a key ingredient in absinthe, I thought that might be a rather cool plant to have – not that I was even remotely planning on making any absinthe, but I find the idea of the connection somewhat appealing. But the stuff has gone rampant, and since there is not any distilling of the Green Fairy going on here, really, what is the point in having it?
I digress again…
With clippers in hand, The Little Bee then flits over to the brown, dead, bent over hollyhocks against the side of the house. One of them had the most lovely of creamy peachy-pinky-yellow colored flowers this year, and it is from this plant that I suddenly decide to gather seeds for next year. Cutting them back, I held the stalks upside down and started shaking and pulling them loose when suddenly, a crazy mass of earwigs came pouring out amongst them and began crawling frantically around in the container.
OK, I find garden pests interesting, but there is sort of an Ewww factor to seeing a bunch of crazy earwigs scattering. Finally got rid of them, only to realize that the chaff from the hollyhocks is making me itch – very much. That’s a first. Next thing I know, my arms above my gardening gloves, my neck and my collar area are covered with an itchy rash. I don’t even remember touching my neck!
Trying to ignore this but definitely winding down now, The Little Bee then flits over to gather some of the Last Gasp Tomatoes, picked some kale and brought it into the house, and then tried to wash some of the chaff off to stop the itching. Washed the kale to prepare my usual kale recipe, only to discover a nice, fat green worm that came rolling out of the leaves……prompting an even more careful inspection. More Ewww factor too.
Finally, into the shower to try and stop the hollyhock itch. I am leaving for a wedding in two hours, and am now covered with a dotty rash.
Adventure, adventure… adventure and distraction in this Autumn Garden on a Saturday afternoon…….