Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Gardening in the 70's

Tuesday, 7/30/19--My old camera refuses to update until several photos have been taken.

The large red digits on the bedside clock stood at 5:15; the room was dark and cool.
I turned toward the open window, dozed, woke an hour later, surprised to find that shapes outside were still wrapped in murky greyness. 
[Bedrooms are on the west end of the house--we don't wake to the sunrise.]
Slowly colors seeped into the room--the star pattern of the quilt emerging, cream walls, the grain of knotty pine doors.

Jim was planning an early start for one of his wheeling/dealing ventures; the cats were stirring.
Time to open the living-room curtains, turn on the kitchen light, greet the day.

Jim opened the front door, stood sipping coffee, muttering about the predicted rain which had 'gone around' us. 

Charlie and his son, Chester, guard the doorstep while I crunch along the driveway.
The sunrise was subdued, melting into shades of pearly grey.
Jim roared off, the sound of the diesel engine shattering the morning quiet.
I trudged downstairs and out to the back porch, tipping kibble into the dish for the 'barn cats.'
Viewed from the end of the porch, yesterday's transplanted foxgloves looked unwilted and sturdy.
I considered taking a day off from gardening, then, with a glance at the sullen sky, got out the rake and wheel barrow.
I had two bags of brown mulch left, not enough to cover the newly forked over area; the thought of mud-spattered small plants should rain come was a strong motivating factor.
Mown grass lay in browning swaths the length of the west lawn [a complimentary designation at this point!]
Trailed by a retinue of felines, I began raking. 

Bagged mulch was placed around the plants; two heaped wheelbarrow loads of  half-cured lawn clippings will help to smother weeds in the strip behind the roses.
I have a vision now for a fence there to define the planting.

A brief shower of rain moved through, sending my cat companions to huddle on the doormat.
I remembered a tub of miniature 'tree lilies' that were in dire need of transplanting, stuck them into the ground in front of a rose bush.
A  bucket of weeds and stones carried off, tools put away.

Checking and watering some of the plants untidily waiting their turn for planting.

Having ruined a number of pairs of shoes while gardening, I now wear rubber 'crocs' which save my shoes but make for muddy old lady feet.
I hosed both crocs and feet before heading inside to the shower.
[For those who might not know, the '70's' are my personal decade, not the era of long-haired hippies!]

My love of gardening reaches far back to childhood; Grampa Mac patiently showing me how to sow seeds of portulaca in the faded wooden planter on the front porch of the farmhouse.
My Dad's efforts with lilacs and butterfly bushes; a dear neighbor's sweet peas in delicate profusion beneath a parlour window.
I garden for the beauty of color and form; for the anticipation of cherished plants breaking dormancy in the springtime; for the pleasure of nurtuing seedlings, coaxing a young plant.
My gardens are not the well planned displays in glossy-paged gardening tomes;  I never achieve the formality of paved walks along well-mannered 'borders.'
I don't anticipate strolling through my gardens clad in a whispy pastel frock, admiring a weed-free presentation.
Gardens in my 70's have become a jumble of plants that thrive here, plants that have sentimental connections, plants I can raise from seed.
Gardening in my 70's is all about creaky knees, muddy feet, cat companions , butterflies on swaying stalks of coneflower.
I am blessed, in my 70's, to be out there doing what I love.

A thunderstorm and pelting rain at suppertime gave way to a quiet misty evening.

Looking east at twilight.

Willis, who made the evening rounds of the gardens with me.

West and the afterglow of a muted sunset.


  1. Your flower bed looks nice. The mulching sure helps and at least makes the weeding easier. I can see Willis now feels at home.

  2. "I garden for the beauty of color and form...." How beautifully you tell the story of "Gardening In the 70's." I'm afraid I don't even own a "wispy pastel frock," but I do have a nice pair of muck boots! :~)

  3. I think by the time you are in your 70s (I'm getting closer to joining you there!) you grow what you want where you want and indeed when you want! I have tried in the past with things I wanted to grow, but the Welsh winters didn't agree with them. Now I know the Survivors, although I am still led astray by beautiful plants which ought to survive and give them a whirl, but nothing expensive!

    I am sure that the mulch of lawn clippings will work well. Anything to smother those darn weeds.

  4. Bravo for gardening in your seventies, and doing it so nicely.

  5. I turned 70 in March and I'm definitely not as young as I used to be, in my heart, but not my body. I do what I can when it is cooler out, which is mornings for me.

    Happy summer gardening ~ FlowerLady

  6. I always enjoy your posts. It's like reading a short story. :-) "Hi Willis" xo

  7. What a lovely view of your day <3
    Thank you for your kind comments, I wonder when I'll ever learn to pace myself!!! xxx

  8. I too am a card carrying 70’s gardener! It has been blessedly cool with low humidity these past few days and I have taken full advantage of it. Like you, I try to get out there early before the sun hears everything up. And when my mornings are filled with less desirable chores I’ll head out in the early evening when the sun has dropped behind the mountain. Your new garden is looking quite lovely; be assured that all those small plants will be growing like Topsey in no time. But then you know all about those growth spurts, your are a 70’s Gardener! I spent an hour or so dead heading the Nepeta in hopes of a second bloom and all the while I was looking for just one or two more vacant pieces of real estate to accommodate the few perennials that I couldn’t resist. It didn’t look very promising but I’m confident that I’ll be able to tuck them in ‘somewhere’....I always do. My dahlias are spectacular this year. If all goes well I’ll send you some tubers when I dig them in the fall.