Saturday, December 31, 2016

Save some resolve for the garden, would you?


Sunset in Alaska

Not all my New Year’s Resolutions are for the mind, body, and money pit that is my home. I have some for the garden, too. In no particular order, here they are.

1. Put some edging in. I am getting tired of the “dance of the edging tool,” performed by yours truly, every year. Sometimes the dance is a long one, other times only a few egregiously encroaching feet of turf grass are whittled away and tossed into the compost pile or at a nearby brushy spot in the yard.

This year, in a burst of energy, the dance took me out of the garden and down the sides of my driveway. I have regained quite a bit of drive space. It’s amazing how tough grass is, growing right over and into the asphalt.

2. Prune those competing central-leader branches on the spruce trees the former homeowner planted. Of course they are over ten feet in the air and require a ladder. And have you ever leaned into a spruce tree? Those things are mean. They scratch me every time I mow the lawn around them.

What I would really love to do is to cut down that very blue spruce that they planted. It is just there with no rhyme or reason amongst the green spruce. I don’t have a prejudice against the color blue on a spruce tree, and have grown several blue semi-dwarf varieties at my last garden. It’s just eye-catching when/where it shouldn’t be.

3. Plant some trees. I’m thinking some tall ones in scale with my house. We need some more privacy from the street. When the neighbors’ dog takes a dump in my lawn, I want to be surprised by it.

There is no fun at all in knowing which beast did the deed because you just witnessed the cheeky devil relieve himself from the living room window. I get to speculate based on size of droppings, distance from road, and whether it’s firm/crusty/mushy. Points awarded if I step in it while mowing the lawn.

4. Grow some herbs and other goodies for the ladies. We have three amusing, disgusting, lovable, productive, fluffy chickens. They love watermelon and will take one down to the very rind but those don’t grow so well here. Carrots and potatoes do well here, but our chickens don’t love them. Hmm, what do grow?

To stave off chicken obesity and just because she wants to, my kid takes them on walks in a harness and leash for small dogs. Some chickens enjoy this more than others, or at least, some can run faster and escape from the prospect of being a spectacle. Cars have stopped in the street to watch. Our “pet dogs with feathers” deserve a home-grown treat or two. We’ll see what I come up with.

I did start this list with two items and seem to be adding and adding so I’d better wrap it up. I don’t want to get overloaded with projects outside. Nothing kills resolutions faster than apathy, right? Or is it injury? For me, the real fun is still just being in my garden, whether with a shovel or a lemonade, it’s all good. Happy New Year!

What needs doing in your garden? And will you do it in 2017?

Monday, October 31, 2016

Apocalypse now…or at least by November 9


Image result for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Last Frontier Gardener checking in here. The kids are all telling me that the country won’t last beyond the next election. Mayhem, violence, government overthrow, you name it. I’m also reading about my fellow Americans’ opinions on our descent into doom, deviancy, and destruction. People across the land shaking their heads, clicking their tongues, and stocking up the pantry and/or gun cabinet.

Poor America, having to choose between Candidate Baggage and Candidate More Baggage. Or is it Candidate No Way and Candidate No How? But, I reassure myself, every country has its troubles, right? Right?? I don’t remember feeling quite this despondent about voting before, my thought processes running thus, “that one I’d just have to wince and hold my nose and check the box, the other one I’d gag and maybe throw up a little in my mouth.”

Perhaps a write-in campaign is in order. I’ve heard/read that, too. But whom to pencil in? I say it doesn’t matter, it couldn’t be worse than what we already have (cough, Congress, cough). You all know I love lists, so here is my top ten list to give comfort to those who fear this election may result in The End of America.

(Ten Reasons Why) America Will (Probably) Still Be Standing After Elections on November 8…

1. …because they both can’t win. We only have to have one of them as president.

2. …because we don’t have to feel bad for the loser. Speaking fees and book offers will no doubt cushion the blow, and righteous indignation will be theirs forever.

3. …because Alaska, at least, is probably safe from any looting/armed takeovers, despite high population of impulsive/reckless persons (according to my made-up statistics, 63.4% of Alaska’s population is made up of hotheads). It’s too cold out for that nonsense. It was icy and about 25F today. Stay home and watch World War Z in your flannel pajamas instead, ok?

4. …so we can all enjoy the sound of silence; the robocalls will stop. Praise the Lord.

5. …because we are a forgetful people when it comes to politics. Or maybe it’s pragmatic, or apathetic. Whatever! We will all be able to enjoy Thanksgiving on November 24, without Grandma creaming Uncle Joe with the gravy boat or Cousin Right Wing spearing Cousin Left Wing with the turkey fork. At least for reasons related to which bubble on the ballot to shade. Long-standing family vendettas and grudges, rage on!

6. …because I’m told The End will be ushered in by 4 Horseman. If we can but keep Newt Gingrich off a horse, I think we’re safe.

7. …because I predict, in cooperation with Homeland Security, will have a big online promo November 9 to keep everyone distracted.

8. …because I still haven’t seen the last Hobbit movie. I refuse to participate in an Apocalypse until I know what happens to Bilbo.

9. …because we owe too much money to China. They are never gonna let us get away with some phony-baloney bankruptcy due to civil war.

10. …because it’ll be a Wednesday. Everyone knows The End will come on a Monday, it’s the worst day of the week.

Don’t worry, my fellow Americans. It’ll all be over soon (or is that, it’ll all be over in four years when we have to do this again?). As for the rest of you lucky readers in other countries, enjoy a Trump-less, Clinton-less November.


What are you looking forward to after Election Day?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

That day I never look forward to….

Look ma, frost!

Yep, we had a frost last night. A very official one, too. My lawn is silver with frost, even at 8:30am, as I write this. Fortunately, the hop vine is still perky, and my orange dahlias on the front porch are only half brown and dead. Those are my bellwether plants.

Mostly dead is a little bit alive, too

I used to plant Coleus, and that is a very sensitive plant at my place to any cold at all. And Ipomoea, the potato vine I used to buy in all sorts of obnoxious colors, was also touchy about the low temperatures. Thus those two, though very useful and beautiful, are not a part of the scheme anymore, I can’t afford the losses.

Porch plant becomes houseplant, for the third year!

I already brought inside my Carex, my beloved variegated sedge that doubles as a houseplant all winter long. The lavender plant I tried on a whim this summer got pulled into the house as well, if only to see if it would do something over the winter, which I am having my doubts about. I got one, count it, one bloom out of the thing, over the course of a record high temperature summer (so for us, lots of days in the 70’s Fahrenheit).

Dry river bed section of garden

Not much is still blooming or pretending to bloom out there. That Gaillardia blossom looks a bit too perfect for me to believe it’s not frozen to perfection, waiting for the wind, snow, and truly cold temperatures to turn it brown. Or maybe a moose will walk by and eat it. My snow-colored Alyssum, which seeds around with something quite a bit less than enthusiasm (two seedlings, sheesh!), is still a mound of stark white. A few purple Penstemon blooms ignore the cold, Achillea, Papaver, Viola as well.

Diascia lives...for now

Waiting for death, or the long winter’s nap, any day now in my garden.


Frost/no frost? When does your garden rest for a season?


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