Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fumbling Garden Witchery

I took a break from synopsis writing to play in the yard for a while. I pulled some weeds, watered a little, argued a bit with the crab grass.  It's so wonderful out there. The weather is perfect these days: warm during the day, with bright sun and clear skies. Nights are getting cool.

I can tell the soil is changing, shifting toward its winter softness. It hasn't rained yet, and the soil is still hard as cement, mind you. But its different than it was a few weeks ago. Like it's breathing. Getting ready to wake up. Around here, summer is a time of hibernation because it's too dry and hot for critters to move through the soil. Spring and autumn are the living times, with flowers popping out, and worms working their way through soft, loamy soil.

Time to reflect and admire and yes, work, since it's cool enough to be out there for a few hours.

But look what I found!

There are THREE limes in this picture! Can you see them all? There are five on the tree, for the first time, ever! They are still hard, so I didn't pick them. I'm not sure how they'll turn out - this poor tree has struggled all its life, due to my neglect. For one thing, I've kept it in a pot, and I've been awful about feeding it. In fact, I haven't fed it at all, other than to occasionally throw some diluted coffee water into the pot. There is no doubt I don't deserve these limes. But I jumped for joy anyway, and told the little tree how lovely it was, and took its picture.

Excitement abounds.

Here's a garden question: we have this tree, a silk tree (also called a mimosa). My husband likes it. Me? I admit it's a gorgeous tree in the spring and early summer. Those flowers can't be beat, and the hummingbirds and bees love them.

But the tree does this:

All that Brown Stuff on the ground? Dried flowers and pods from the tree. This is a BIG tree and its canopy spreads over half the yard. This stuff is everywhere, several inches thick. Good mulch, I suppose, but the problem is that it covers all the other plants. It sticks to the leaves and flowers and branches of everything. It looks awful.

I shake, rake, or brush it off (more like pick it off, it doesn't really do "brush"). But it's such a hassle. And until I get to it, it just sits there looking ugly.

Then there's this:

This is my jasmine. As you can see, it's surrounded by the Brown Stuff. It WAS covered with it, but I just finished shaking and picking.  There's still a lot trapped in the inner parts of the plant, but I'm concerned about black widows living in there. Not sticking my hand in.

Anyway, this plant is amazing. It started life in a little pot picked up at Whole Foods. I never water it.  It's now about four feet across and three feet tall. It's a spreading plant and would probably be happier on a trellis. I thought it might climb up the fence, but I guess it wants something to wrap around. So it just sits in a tangled clump and grows bigger. Should I go ahead and give it a trellis and try to untangle some of the branches? Or try to get it to spread out along the ground? Should I rake up the Brown Stuff, or leave it there as mulch? It's okay on the ground, I just hate it covering up the plants.