Gardeners, Let’s Discuss Weeds, Philosophically

Okay, until today, when I weeded, I threw the weeds out of the bed, raked them up, put them in the compost pile, waited some unspecified amount of time, and then put them back in the flower bed as compost.

Today, though, I asked myself, “Why would I walk these weeds back to the compost pile only to walk them back to the bed after some unspecified amount of time?”

And so, I didn’t. I pulled weeds and then I left the weed corpses in the dirt to… I don’t know… compost, I guess? It sure felt like a kind of mulching. I put some weed corpses around the rose, especially, in a way that sure went like mulching.

Is there something I’m missing? Some reason not to do this? Except that it looks kind of crappy, why don’t we just leave the dead weeds in the bed?

Mysterious Growing Things and Bugs

Harlan Howard Says “Hello”

We went out to review a park this morning and the park wasn’t very big so I thought I’d swing by the city cemetery and see all the wooden markers they claimed they were putting up. I didn’t find any. But we did see Harlan Howard’s grave. Then we came home and I took some pictures of flowers, because that’s what I do.

Gary Moore, Get a Grip on Your District!

Every once in a while, I wonder, is Tony’s Foodland really so much better than the Bordeaux Kroger for when you just need like three things? I thought that today, especially, as I drove by the Kroger four times and still went up to Joelton to Tony’s to grab my Diet Dr Pepper.

But the Kroger is huge. You can’t just run in and grab, say, milk. And I wanted coneflower seeds for the sunny part of the bed where the tall coneflowers are growing. And people of the internet, I can report that it is indeed worth it.

First, the cashier, an old lady buying cigarettes, and I had a long conversation about coneflowers and hollyhocks. We were all in agreement that hollyhocks are the most awesome flower ever and we don’t care if that makes us old-fashioned.

But most importantly is also the community bulletin board where we learn that someone is missing two goats and that Tucker the pig is missing. Eh, goats, who gives a fuck, right? But once you name something? My god, Tucker the pig being missing cannot stand. Moore better be out there investigating whether people are poor fence-builders or if someone is running off with our pigs.

Sorry so many of these pictures are fuzzy. The camera seemed freaked out by the rain.

The Lingering Smell of Lavender

Let’s face it. Lavender smells soapy. Whether this is because so many people put lavender in soap or people put lavender in soap because it smelled like it belonged there, I leave for science to figure out.

But I cut some lavender this morning so I could dry it for the Professor, who claims she’s coming back someday.

And I can still smell it, very faintly on my skin, hours later. The soap smell has faded and all that’s left is this faint thick dark smell, like, if you met a man who smelled like that, you’d be unable to resist him.

I should start opening up my lavender for men who’d like to sleep curled around it on Thursday nights so that, by the time they go out on Friday, they smell irresistible.

Then I could mount a webcam and sell internet access to the livestream to appeal to people who have a fetish for men who sleep curled around lavender, which, as sure as I’ve typed it here, must be a real thing in the world. Imagine them, people of the internet, bare and sleepy in my front bed, the hairs on their chests and thighs wrapping slightly around the woody parts of the lavender, one arm curled under their heads for pillows, the other draped in the plant. They wake, wet from dew, to the buzzing of the early bees.

The most highly prized of them all would be the gentleman who slept nearest the steps. His hair would always smell like rosemary and, when you pulled his shirt off him, you’ll find the small scratches of the new rose on his back.

More Picture Evidence of the Coneflowers

People, I feel like I’m not expressing the strangeness of this coneflower situation adequately, because, when I got home from work, I noticed ZERO people standing in my back yard staring at my coneflowers.

1. They are tall. This is a picture of one about to bloom fully. Please note–it reaches to my boob. That is my actual boob and the actual coneflower. I know you can’t tell from this angle that it is in the ground as well, but trust me, it is.

2. These are growing, flourishing, apparently, in the same spot in my garden where the astilbe and the columbine thrive. You can see the columbine in this photo.

3.  I don’t know if the pale color is a result of them not getting much sun, but please note the hollyhock in the background which has never amounted to anything because it doesn’t get enough light. Usually, coneflowers and hollyhocks have similar light needs.

So, there you have it, folks, my giant mutant shade-tolerant coneflowers which I did not even plant here. How to explain this? Maybe they get more light than it seems like? But they’re under a big tree. The hollyhock hates it there. I don’t know. But at least, unlike last year, I see no signs of yellow aster on the coneflowers. But for the record, the yellow astered coneflowers I had to pull up last year were between 18 and 24 inches. They were also in a sunnier spot.

Let’s Talk Coneflowers

I was pulling out of my garage this morning and I caught a glimpse of something in my rear view mirror and I was like “WHAT THE FUCK?!” and I turned around to look and it was just these coneflowers I took a picture of this weekend.

Now, I may have said something then about how tall they are. But I feel like I’ve failed to get across their height. People, I feel like they have to almost be four feet tall. Now, I looked on Wikipedia and they said that they can get over a meter tall (for those of us who came up through US public education, a meter is just over three feet). So, I think it’s possible that they are just normal conflowers and not echinacea purpurea gigantopithicus, but I’m still keeping my eye on them. Because, hello, they are tall!

And here’s what’s even weirder. I didn’t plant coneflowers where these are and they aren’t getting direct sunlight most of the day.

If I could grow a shade-tolerant coneflower… I could make tens of dollars!!!

I feel bad when people give me plants because I know my gardening blogging gives the impression I have some gardening skills. But really, my whole gardening career consists of fighting with weeds and being shocked when things go well.

Beth gave me this awesome aloe a while back and I put it in some dirt and then I fretted about whether I was overwatering it or underwatering it. Today, I saw that it put up a green shoot. And I was so relieved that I hadn’t killed it, I can’t even tell you.

The white sage, however, was a bust.

Speaking of things that are a bust, they put in speed bumps at the Bordeaux library that are actually less traumatic to go over at about 40 than they are to go over slow.

Flowers and Beetles


It’s Hot and I’m Grouchy

Oh, so grouchy. So very, very grouchy. But I will say this for this weather–the pepper plants love it. I’ve been watering the big bed because it’s been so hot and I just… I don’t know… it’s not like I’m watering the roses, which might like it, or the willow. But I just want to eat some god damn beans fresh off the plant in my own damn back yard and if I have to stand out there every day because global warming has fucked my weather, I will.


Okay, calm. Deep breaths.

But the peppers are doing fine. Beans seem great. Tomatoes are munched on but not giving up the ghost. Okra is coming along. I guess the eggplants are fine. And I can’t remember what the other things are. I thought they were cucumbers, but they don’t seem to be vining. So, that will be a nice surprise.

The Joe-Pye Weed is doing fine. You all will remember that I bought one last year and I tried to transplant it and… no. But the butterflies LOVED it. I mean, if you want butterflies in your garden, just run out and get you a Joe-Pye Weed. And let’s take a moment to think about how there’s Joe Pye, rotting where ever he is rotting, and he’s got a plant named after him. And awesome plant butterflies love. I want a Betsy Plant.

The Blue False Indigo is doing fine.

But the white sage. Oh, just fucking forget it. I’m so bummed. I’m going to have to start all over. Glad I still have some seeds.

But that shit is hard.

The Cedar Was 52 Years Old, by Ring Count


It’s all in the eyes

Whew, doggie, too bad for y’all there’s no video of my attempt to walk the dog this morning. I was like a drunken sailor. The deal with the drops is that you put them in and then wait at least twenty minutes before you put your contacts in.

Perfect, I thought. I’ll throw my glasses on and walk the dog and that will be thirty/thirty-five minutes.

I couldn’t even get out of the back yard! Everything was curvy and not where my brain expected it. So, instead, I hooked up the hose and watered the garden, since apparently, we’re not going to have any rain.

But by the time I got done watering the garden, of course my eyes were used to the glasses, so when I put in my contacts, I felt off-kilter in the other direction.

I still think that’s going to be the right plan, though. Get up, put in drops, walk the dog, put in contacts.

I noticed the morning glories are up. I’m excited about that. I’ve been too nervous to look at my white sage. It was so big in the little containers, but it looked so tiny when I put it in the ground. But I bet it’s digging this heat. Unlike me. Ha ha ha.

White Sage

I put some of the white sage outside to harden off, which caused some that I thought was not going to sprout to sprout so I put all of the seedlings and potential seedlings outside.

Lesson one of the white sage–it’s hard to get started from seed.

Lesson two–it really likes to be hot.

I really need to just put it in the ground and let it go. As you recall, my plan is to put it up near the house, hoping that my terrible insulation will help it weather our Tennessee winters when it’s more used to near desert conditions. Though deserts get cold. The thing I’m more worried about is, though the bed I’m sticking them in is the best drained bed I have, I’m not sure if it constitutes “well-drained” since I live in a bog, as evidenced by all my crawdads.

Lord almighty, crawdads are another thing about the South that confuses me, right up there with squirrels. Southern squirrels are small. I haven’t tried to eat one, but I’m going to guess that, if you weren’t big into offal, you might need two, two-and-a-half southern squirrels to make a meal. Midwestern squirrels, by comparison, are enormous. One would do you right up.

And yet, which region eats squirrels?

And crawdads. It would take you all week to get enough crawdads for a meal. And yet, people still do.

Let that be a lesson to you–do not fuck with Southerners and their food, because they are patient and can kill and eat anything.

So, yes, the white sage. I’m going to put it in the garden, possibly tonight, and just let nature take its course.

Unless it rains. Probably not going to garden in the rain.

But get this crap! I hope it rains because the Butcher just put his cacti outside for the summer, as is his way, and he told me that he basically hasn’t watered them all winter.

I’m surprised they didn’t rise up and kick his butt.

I Have Complaints

I have complaints. And anxieties. Oh, so much fucking anxiety. I am a joy to be around this weekend, let me tell you. And I’d have liked to spend more time outside in the garden, where, after about ten minutes, you can’t think about whether your dreams are stupid and unreachable for reasons you don’t quite understand and have no control over.

That’s what’s nice about the garden. In the garden, there is no hope. No dreams. Just you and the dirt and the stuff that’s growing there.

But, you know, when it’s not 100,000 degrees out, there are ticks. Last night, I pulled two seed ticks off me. You know what a seed tick is? It is literally, for real, not making this shit up, a baby tick that needs your blood so that it can grow another pair of legs. Maybe this is my anti-bug bias showing, but I don’t care how tiny you are, if you need blood in order to add fucking appendages, you are a monster, a hideous monster.

I’d like to Sevin dust the whole yard, but I don’t want to fuck up the bees and butterflies.

So, I’m sulking inside instead.

The Park and More Hollyhocks

I wonder if it would be wrong to tear up all the grass in the yard and just live in a field of hollyhocks?

Hermitting Up My Weekend

I got the big bed weeded and planted, though I am running massively late in that regard and am not sure if anything will come up. I also accidentally pulled up a coneflower, which, ugh.

The dog stayed inside all morning, which concerned me, because if there’s anything she loves, it’s baking herself on the driveway. But her back leg is hurting her, the one we paid all the money to have them fix. I gave her some baby aspirin and a bath and that seems to have helped her mood.

Also, she ate an M&M that fell on the ground, which is apparently the weirdest, most awesome thing ever.

I drove around Robertson county trying to sooth my soul a little. It seemed to work.

I have a bunch of marigolds to get in. I thought it wasn’t quite hot enough for them yet, but I saw baby marigolds in the big bed, so it must be. Oh, and my astilbe has a bloom. Not quite the spires I expected but I’m wondering if it’s too crowded. I think I should put one at the end of the bed this fall. I think I’d also like to put some lilies of the valley in the big bed.

Anyway, gardening is just a constant fight to keep the ratio of things you like to things you don’t like in correct proportion.I easily pulled ten, fifteen pounds of weeds out of there over the past two days, but that’s much less than last year.

I also read this post, which I really liked. The only minor quibble I have is that I don’t think the spiritualist crazy was just a bunch of hooey until the end. I think at first the crushing weight of being silent and proper often made these women unaware of their own con, since they so desperately needed for it to be true in order to be allowed to speak and move freely. In that way, I’d say they were closer kin to Maud Gonne, selling herself to the Devil in order to have control over her own life.

Shoot, I want to read Yeats’ memoirs now.

Are These the Best Photos My Camera Has Ever Taken?

It’s a crappy little camera, but I guess the stars aligned. I mean, shoot, it even caught a bee at the lavender.

And my new Tennessee coneflowers are blooming! And they look great.

And my white sage was all acting like it’s ready to go outside, so I’ve started hardening it off. Boy they are not kidding about it not being easy to get from seed to seedling. Out of all those seeds, I’m going to have five plants. I hope at least one of them survives.

Gardening Joy

Tall Things in My Garden

I knew putting the hollyhocks against the shed was going to be perfect. First one is blooming today. Also, the foxgloves are up and happy.

Beans and Eggplants

My adventure in having a tiny vegetable garden is being aided by the weather. The only things that look happy in my garden this morning are the beans and eggplants, which have suddenly really taken off after languishing since being planted. The tomatoes refuse to die, but they refuse to flourish.

The okra has been too wet and too cold and is kind of brown spotty. And the cucumbers are like “bleh.”

I see no sign of the basil.

We saw a turkey again on our walk.

They’ve actually posted a speed limit on Lloyd–30 mph. Now they just need to get a cop to sit out there, just beyond the curve and ticket the shit out of people. In your car, 30 feels way too slow. But believe me, when you’re out there walking with your dog, you’d like for people to be going under 50.

And we tried to go to Taste of N’awlins for lunch on Saturday and they’re closed. Honestly, I’m confused why the area between Clarskville and Nashville hasn’t taken off like the other spurs out of town.  It’s a beautiful area, not too far from downtown, but still, there’s just not a whole lot of density, even though it’s between two major Tennessee cities.

On the one hand, I don’t mind. I like the semi-rural feel of it. On the other hand, I’m bummed we can’t support a good Cajun restaurant.

I Have Become the Kind of Person Who Takes Pictures of Buzzards

I didn’t realize they made noise when they flew, but they were close enough that I could hear it. It sounded like a helicopter just starting up–whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. And they have to take some running hops to get in the air. We have two kinds of vultures in Tennessee–the bald-headed ones and these. These are these. Also, if you want to know how long it takes a cat to go from road kill to dinner, I can tell you about 24 hours.

That’s disturbing, but comforting. I don’t know. It’s weird, but I kind of hope that’s what happened to Stella. A quick death and then she took to the sky.

Talking to the Rose

I went out to finish weeding the front bed up by the house. The Tennessee coneflowers seem to be settling in nicely. I thought they would. That’s a much sunnier bed than where I have them in the back yard. I’m tempted to maybe put some poppies in there, since I never have gotten them to grow well in the back.

I pulled a ton of weeds out of there, which is always disappointing, but it’s also nice to be able to get in and see up close how things are doing. I’m still not thrilled with how the rosemary is doing, but at least it has some green on it. I gave a pep talk to the smallest lavender and cut some of the dead off of it. Up close, you can really see that lavender is a shrub, not a flower. It’s got woody growth, for sure. The small lavenders have a few buds, but the big ones are gearing up. I forgot how much the bees ended up loving the lavender, so I need to be sure to keep an eye on that so that the Professor can get some without getting stung. Also, if I’m going to put poppies in there, I want to do it before the bees take up residence.

I think the rose is doing fine. It’s putting out new growth, which is as good a sign as any that it’s happy, but I still am not sure. I feel like it’s leaning towards the front of the bed. Part of that, I know, is just going to take those roots getting down and getting established. But I worry that it doesn’t like the soil, because that’s where I dumped the fireplace ash in an emergency this winter. I hope it’s not too base for it. I wonder if I should pile some pine needles around it to balance it out.

And I talked to it some, about my plans for it, about how it needs to get big quick and shade out the weeds, about how it will be the centerpiece of the garden, that kind of thing, as I was picking the weeds around it and digging in the dirt.

I rarely feel more pagan than when I’m in the dirt, talking to things that, rationally, I know, have way of even paying attention to me.

Still, I love it.

I wonder, when I’m old and I die, if they’d just lay me in the garden and let me slowly turn to dust. They could put me near some vegetables so that the smell of me slowly rotting dissuaded the bunnies from bothering the tomatoes.

I hope to get in the big bed tomorrow. It needs weeding and Beth gave me some seeds I want to get in there.

The Blue Egg

There’s a blue egg in the middle of my vegetable garden. That kind of bums me out on the one hand. Poor lost potential bird. But on the other hand, it’s very beautiful next to my tomatoes, which are coming back even after being eaten.

Did you see this?

Sometimes the roar of stupidity in this country is so loud it hurts my head.

Well, Okay, It’s No Farm & Fleet

But I would marry Tractor Supply Company. I went there today and got a pig’s knuckle for the dog (verdict? Ten whole minutes of barking at it before she has settled into gnawing on it), morning glory seeds (for use only in planting, according to the package), plant food, Frontline for dog and cats, a cool basket to put a wedding present in and a wedding present.

It’s not until I go into Tractor Supply Company that I understand my parents’ love of Wal-mart. If I didn’t have to drive clear to Ashland City, I might go to Tractor Supply every day.

Had to come back to Bates’ for rose food, though. But only because Tractor Supply was out, not because they never had any.

I meant to try to mow the lawn today, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.