Gardening After Work

We’ve had some mild days that just call me to the garden.

Returning from my morning walk with Clover, I spent a good 5 minutes watching this bee work my allium.

After finishing work, I returned to the driveway garden. I’m digging out the last patch of grass to plant lavender, rudbekia, and coneflowers. That is a work in progress.

On my way to the garden, I saw this guy on the lavender that is already established.

I was making notes in my garden journal of the seeds saved, plants cut back, and other goodies when I felt a splat on the opposite page.

After recording the event for posterity, the page was torn out cuz eeeeew!

June 18th

The word for yesterday was “minute.” I’m not sure if that is supposed to be the small segment of an hour, or a descriptor of a very small thing. Words out of context, as we well know, are open for wild interpretation.

Doesn’t matter much because yesterday I spent the afternoon working in plants instead of paints.

Several minutes were spent working on two minute gardens when considering the whole of the planet.

Forgot to get a “before” picture, but this will do. Taken from the public sidewalk side of the garden.

When I moved into my home, the gardens were all up next to the house. The front yard consisted of two large slabs of lawn with a tree on the north side. Not terrible, but not particularly wonderful either. I prefer not to use chemicals on my lawn—my pets eat grass, and I’m partial to dandelion greens, plantain, and purslane.

This little band of a garden went from holding 4 varieties of grass and weeds to 8 varieties of plants. I’m quite sure some of the weeds (and probably grass) I pulled out will return as well. I have no real objection as long as they play nicely with the others. This small patch could potentially hold 12 varieties of plants—biodiversity. Some will flourish and some will perish.

The squirrels will look at my work, and collaboratively edit my choices. When the weather is dry, birds will take dust baths next to the post edge.

When the plants have filled out, the possum in the neighborhood will have a new lookout. The bunny living under my neighbor’s porch will have new snacks and shelter.

In the fall, the leaves that fall there will be held by the plants, protecting the roots from the bitter cold of winter and feeding the soil for the next year’s growth.

In the spring, the emergence of the new growth will bring delight.

In the summer I’ll bury my toes in the warm earth and know my home. I’ll look into the garden and enjoy the accomplishment of establishing a space that nurtures.

Lysimachia

Calibrachoa

Spike plant

Red daylilly

Rose of sharon – will come to dominate this bed but provide summer blooms in the front yard where I have a preponderance of spring and fall-blooming plants. The other plants growing it it’s shadow will be moved to other beds, sold in the FSGC plant sale, or given to friends.

Yellow spurge

White lace plant

Sun drops

How did the pot become a birdbath?

The pot was covering a sewer clean out, and when I leaned on it to plant the calibrachoa and spike plant, the base disintegrated. I tried to pick up the pot by its rim to move it out of the way and the rim came off in my hands. I’m afraid it is well on its way to becoming micro plastics—anyone collecting those yet? Apparently, there’s a lot of raw material to work with.

Anyhoo, the previous owners of the home left the birdbath behind. It used to live up near the house, but I moved it when I planted that garden bed. It has spent several years under the oak in the hosta garden.

Now it has an opportunity to shine. However, it has a mortal crack in the bowl which prevents it from performing its primary function. I patched it once, and I’ll try again. Or maybe I’ll put a plant tray in the bottom of it to hold some water and pile it with stones for a butterfly/bee watering station. Project for another day.

Happy Father’s Day and fatherly day to all the gentlemen out there!

Monarda

If you’ve reached this page via a QR code from the FSGC plant sale, welcome! You would like to learn more about this plant.

Photo by Nan Mellem 2014.

Monarda is most often referred to as Bee Balm, and the bees do love it, so do Monarch butterflies and hummingbirds! The picture above is of the variety in my garden—I’d describe the bloom color as a pinkish red, or light magenta.

Full to partial sun
Average/moist soil
2-4 feet tall
Zones 4-9
Native plant

Mine are prone to powdery mildew, but I am a bit crazy about watering my garden so the additional moisture can have that effect. They also have late afternoon shade.

Here are the Monarda a bit earlier in the year with newer blossoms.
Photo by Nan Mellem, July 2020.

New plants return pure every spring, and can be cut back in the late summer or fall. Cut the seed heads separately and drop them in the garden bed to reseed.

The Spruce has a detailed article on Monarda: https://www.thespruce.com/red-bee-balm-plants-2132327