Thursday, June 6, 2013

THE NEW, OLD ME

It has been coming on for quite a while. The realization that things must change in my garden. Despite the fact that many days I am perfectly happy to spend 8 hours out there doing this and that, it is mostly doing that...I refer to pulling out.
I read recently that nature is no gardener except in the high alpine regions. You have to be tough to survive up there; fierce wind, little precipitation and short summers. All this makes for small, low growing plants who flower and make their seed within a few weeks. All stays neat and tidy.

Norton lakes, Idaho

 Apparently Texas isn't as tough, as we who live here, think it is. I pull out hundreds of mother natures misplacements. I wonder who would win if I just let them do their thing. Would it be the trailing wine cup. This one in the sunken garden is threatening to take over skullcaps and blackfoot daisies. I need to get it out of there but removing that turnip sized root from between the sandstone will not be an easy job.


Or maybe the takeover would be by plains coreopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria. I could just imagine my septic field covered with their blooms but somehow, no matter how many seeds I put out there they don't want to grow.


And then there are the blanket flower,Mexican feather grass, mealy blue sage. This is after I tidied up a little.


And the bluebonnets. They would much rather grow where I don't want them in the English garden.


So what will be the new me? Limited plants in the pathways. Just enough plants to trap debris when we have heavy downpours. The drains have to be protected.
I have been mulling over this for almost a year but recently I hurt my back. I think it was in a weakened state from years of gardening and the act of pulling out a root, which gave way, and falling backwards had me incapable of moving for 3 days. Now I am doing exercises every day. Something I should have been doing every morning for years. Tidiness is arriving on my doorstep very late in life but I am determined to make the move. I made my start in the vegetable garden. I'm even amazed myself at how much better this looks with most of the plants removed from the pathways.



As I mentioned I have to leave a few so that when we get a heavy downpour any debris will be trapped among the plants and not block the center garden drain.


I can now walk unimpeded to the water garden to admire my latest blooms.


Yes, I am beginning to like the new, old me.

27 comments:

  1. I look forward to following the developments of how the new old you does things. And I'm hoping you've fully healed from your back injury, sounds absolutely horrible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The back is so much better. It has been a few weeks and I am certainly being more careful and doing those exercises.

      Delete
  2. I've found as I get older that I prefer tidiness to mess. I've had back problems for years too, so I understand what you mean when you say you couldn't move for 3 days. That is no exaggeration. I haven't kept up with the exercises my physical therapist assigned me either. I really should. The tidy paths look wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you but I only see it when I do the tidying up and then I forget about it when the plants start to grow. I need to put the photo on my desk top as a reminder.

      Delete
  3. I usually have an untidy garden because I let everything grow. It's fun, but can get crazy. The wild plants will take over all the paths and crowd out everything. It seems that gardeners have to be ruthless sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Anna, and I have made a big start. I would rather spend more time planting vegetables than pulling out plants that shouldn't be there.

      Delete
  4. Ouch. I hope you have recovered from your injury. I love the native plants but they do need our intervention to keep them from growing out of control. I plan to always be able to take care of my garden, but I am also planning ways to minimize and simplify my garden because the two or three major clean ups each year can be hard on a body. That was the reason I removed the larger grasses, added more shrubby plants, and added or widened pathways. Of course, decomposed pathways are just an open invitation for some plants to colonize.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I am hoping that I will be able to keep the new look. I will have to be ruthless I can see. I don't think I could ever have a gardener come in here. I would have to stand over him all the time!

      Delete
  5. Sorry to hear about your back! Also a bit sad to see the "mess" of wild plants go, but from this vantage point it's easy to forget that your garden is something that you actually have to be able to live with an move through. I've made the mistake of letting plants "do their thing" and then I end up with no way to get a wheelbarrow into some areas of the garden.

    Besides if you find out you really miss the volunteers, they'll be back. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They wil be back next year but I'll be there with my handy dandy grubber.

      Delete
  6. So sorry about your back. I did exactly the same thing years ago, fell backward and could not move. Had to lie there in the dirt until the neighbor came home to help me into the house. So embarrassing! Bad backs and gardeners seem to be, sooner or later, an unavoidable duo. I love your garden, such an inspiration whether "messy" or neat, and wish you only the best of health!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The back injury made me realize that I am incapable of sitting down. # days nearly drove me crazy. Neat from now on and no more cross vine!

      Delete
  7. I like things to be a bit tidy in the garden. That's easier here. I don't have the great growing conditions you have....less sun, etc.

    As I get older, I know I won't be able to do as much maintenance. Trying to plan ahead, but it's not easy. So many great plants out there to try.

    Hope your back gets much better, very soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The back is much better, thanks, Linda. It was several weeks ago but it made me take a new look at my gardening style.

      Delete
  8. Mama used to say, "You have to come up with the times." She was referring to stay abreast of current fads and such. I think we have to come up to the time of gardening smarter, not harder.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm glad to read in your replies to previous commenters that your back is already better. I worked in a surgical office for years and know that care and time take care of many of the ways our backs get revenge on us for too much stoop labor in aggregate or even some days the less than optimal use of body mechanics. It might be the truest sign of a gardener - an aching back!

    I believe I'm seeing a well outlined series of stages for gardening in our area. At first we foolishly try everything everywhere. Then we begin to wise up and employ those (mostly native) plants that self-propagate and tolerate local conditions. THEN we begin to realize that those plants are typically not well mannered and will require a lot of maintenance and removal efforts to keep under control.

    I'm watching you to see what the next step looks like. Lead the way, Ms. RR!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, that's too bad about your back! I'm glad it is feeling better. I do prefer a tidy garden, but I don't have the time to really keep mine in that state! At least your seedlings all seem to be pretty blooming plants. (My wild weeds are usually crabgrass and other uglies!) Your garden does look so nice with its now tidy pathways! (And less likelihood of tripping over plants and hurting something!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I agree. I really like the tidy path and as you say less to trip over.

      Delete
  11. You are very brave to pull up all those plants~~~~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did it one plant at a time and it was not easy. I really hate pulling things out. My husband on the other is quite the opposite. If I set him about the task he would be in seventh heaven.

      Delete
  12. I'm sorry to hear about your back. I understand how the body can insist on change when the mind (or is it the heart?) wants to continue doing what its always done. My knee complains every time I head down the stairs of my slope and I know that, one day soon, I'm not going to be able to get down there often (if at all) so, unless I want to spend gobs of money to properly terrace the area, I need to grow more self-sufficient plants there. Still, I keep thinking, maybe a knee replacement ;)...I hope you're healing well.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm naturally ruthless and like things tidy in my garden. That said, I've always admired the seeding that you allowed in your garden. It's so charming to see flowers among your paving stones. It will be interesting to see how you make the transition to a different sort of gardening. You'll have much to teach us, as usual, I am sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well Pam I have much to learn for you and have done already. Stay tuned.

      Delete
  14. My winecup transplants are doing great. Thanks for your wonderful tip about those huge, edible tubers. I'll be sure to put them somewhere where they can take up permanent residence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad they made the transition. It is a lovely plant in the right place.

      Delete
  15. I used to rip every small seedling out of the ground as soon as soon as it appeared, assuming it to be a weed. Then one day, when I was having a moan to myself about how desired plants never seemed self seed in my garden, I had a revelation. I had been weeding out all the good plants with the bad! So now I have a rule that I have to let a seedling grow a bit so I can recognize it as friend or foe before ripping it out of the ground!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I now recognize the first leaves of a plant that pops up so I can pull the ones I don't want immediately. Most are flowers though and that is much harden, but most be done from now on.

      Delete