Day 111: Yesterday I planted and watered a twenty-five foot by three foot row of forty-seven Excelsior foxgloves, just before they began to suffer horribly from being crammed in their seedling flat together for four long months. I have reached the end of the beginning up here. Everything to follow will be progress approaching a moving target, or it will be maintenance. Along with a perpendicular trench for ten delphinium and the parallel iris walk, the approach to the barn now has mild definition. The foxglove trench produced glass, rusted metals, and half a cubic yard of stone. It was given a hundred and sixty two kilograms of plastic bagged manure (where are you farmers?), as a bare minimum to keep the seedlings alive until more nourishment can be built in.
By the house I converted a weedy old herb section into a flower garden that contains Apricot Beauty foxgloves, two types of delphinium, deep red snapdragons and scabia, one Velvet Queen sunflower, and a border of lavender. The herbs for the time being are in box planters.
The river here needs serious attention, and August is the time to do it. Two trailer loads of river silt have already been relocated from the swimming hole to a fallow quadrant of the vegetable garden, and much more needs to be cleaned out: when added to the soil already in the garden, it makes for a velvety loam.
I am past the stage where madness and physical stamina was required to see past the vast impossibility of the vision.
Day 101: To persist with gardening is to finally get used to doing as you are told. If you have an extreme aversion to obedience, you likely won’t stick with gardening. I did not fence in my brassicas, as I’d been warned to do, only partly because I was overwhelmed with too much to do simultaneously. Partly. The other part of me wondered “who but someone trying to be hip would honestly choose to eat kale?” …and …”really? broccoli?”…but last night at 9:30 p.m. precisely, I met the likely foe (note this shot is of another of my visitors) that had two weeks ago “disappeared” my entire brassica section, the first night doing the vanishing act with all the cauliflower and broccoli, the second night, the relatively repulsive kale. Last night, what I surmise is a hare (too large for a rabbit, but the ears were too short for a hare), decided to first stare me down, then quite clearly befriend me. We spent about half an hour together, about four yards apart, the hare doing a little nibbling tour of the perimeter of my garden, me inching so close I couldn’t believe the hare’s decision to just keep a watchful eye on me and keep munching. Perhaps it was a form of thanks for all those yummy muffins I’d provided earlier. It was such a privileged experience to have, but today I will spend the time necessary to fence in the little kale stubs that remain.
I am still working flat out every day, beginning my work at anywhere from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., quitting sometime between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. I have mastered the art of working through often intense heat, but am pretty surprised at how little one person can accomplish within a month and a half of full time landscaping and gardening. I estimate another five days of full time work before I’ll feel I can relax this schedule to let in some other parts of my life again, while still keeping things slowly progressing here. But in this month and a half, I have entirely altered my relationships with plants with the growing practice of obedience.