Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Foodie Friday: The Good Earth

"Land is one's flesh and blood."
--Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth

Last weekend, I planted a few perennials.
The false dragonheads looked like something that would grow in a pasture,
tall and weedy. They're called the "Obedient Plant," because the gardener can shape them any which way. They can also spread like crazy (viral obedience?). The variety I planted is called "Miss Manners" and isn't supposed to spread. I kinda hope they do. When (if) they bloom, the delicate white flowers will seem to float over the garden.
A few days later, wildness rose up inside me, and I decided that the false dragonheads needed something in front of them. Something low and sprawling.

At Home Depot, I reminded myself to buy in "threes," knowing full well that that I would never follow this good advice. I packed the Jeep with flowers and took off. I wanted to dig the holes myself--no help from the menfolk. So Bandwidth kindly offered to take photos with his iPhone.
He was rendered speechless.
I may have mentioned my poor hole-digging talents.

I had brought two shovels--a farm tool and a girly shovel--and a trowel. A long while later, I'd made little headway, what with the network of roots and irrigation hoses that snake through the ground.

Sweaty and frustrated, I finally found a patch of earth that was obstacle-free. I sat down in the dirt and attacked the hole like a burrowing animal.
"What are we, like, having for supper?" Bandwidth wanted to know.
"Go on now," I said. "I'm digging."
"I didn't think you were in the mood for gardening," he said.
"I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that.
Your mind must know it has got to get down to work."
-- Pearl S. Buck

Placing the liriopes 12" apart was dicey. I was lucky to find a patch of object-free earth.
Okay. Good.

I was red-faced, breathless, and half dead.
How did I let myself get into terrible shape?
I kept going.
I had a huge "to-do" list.

"But still one thing remained to him and it was his love for his land. "
--Pearl S. Buck, The Good Earth
I planted five purple cone flowers...

... and three more white cones.
The goal was to create a streak of floaty white blossoms.
I tried to plant them in a pattern:
The good earth would not cooperate!

Next, after dousing myself with the hose, I gave the flowers a drink and put out deer repellent. 

 Sometimes life is like an obstacle-filled flower bed.
Take root where you can and don't worry about what might have happened,
or what stood in your way.

Last weekend, the guys had helped me plant a few white cones.
I added newbies where I could. 

"Growth itself contains the germ of happiness."
-- Pearl S. Buck

Bandwidth helped me deadhead the lavender--we pulled up the long wands
and snipped.  (I've still got some trimming and shaping to do.)

The cuttings will be tied with twine and purple ribbon.
Won't they make fragrant Thanksgiving gifts!

I pulled juicy weeds and left them for the deer.
Tired to my bones, I gathered my tools and empty pots.
I looked like I'd been rolling in Devil's food cake crumbs, and I didn't care.
(I enjoy getting my hands into flour and dough just as much.)

Who knew that I would love gardening this much?

It's a gift.

"To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth."
-- Pearl S. Buck

Now I am pondering the empty spaces.
What would you plant in a sunny spot?
A dovecote? Flowers? Colors?

I'll fight roots and rubber hoses, and even electrical cords.
That's okay. I can't wait to step into the nursery, load my red wagon, and
sink my hands  into the good earth.

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  1. Your garden is looking really good and your doing a terrific job. It's such a great feeling when you get all your plants in and they are growing and you want to do more.
    Stop by and see my gardens.
    Have a wonderful week.

  2. I'm with Mary. You garden is looking great. And just think, next year you'll be way ahead of the game. We've also been filling in our perennial beds with new ones for next year.

    I had to smile when Bandwidth asked what's for dinner. Every time we visited my late FIL, as soon as he finished his breakfast, he would ask what's for lunch. All of his boys do the same. Good appetites make the cook happy, n'est pas?

  3. Your garden is looking terrific. All that labor is paying off with beautiful color. White cone flowers are new to me. I'm going to ask the local nursery if they are available here. I have the pink, but they had a sad showing this summer. I need to plant more. Your lavender harvest was abundant. Your bundles will make welcomed gifts indeed!

  4. Lovely post, filled with the germ of happiness :-)

  5. I love to follow your journey. A bird bath popped into my head when you contemplated the empty space.

  6. The flowers are looking good! Thanks for hosting!

  7. I admire your spirit and determination! Pearl Buck is quite a mentor! I've decided I hate gardening. I am terrible at it and hate to get hot, sweaty and dirty. Yesterday I picked basil, brushed the jalapeno plant and my skin was on fire until I took a shower. It is just not meant to be! Your flowers and garden are lovely, I will enjoy watching them grow from a safe distance!

  8. Your gardens will be lovely and all the hard work very rewarding. I understand the relationship with the garden and the earth, it is very comforting. I am most content in my garden. Have a peaceful weekend and thanks for hosting.
    Miz Helen

  9. Just below the surface of our perennial garden rests the cable connecting us to the internet. Almost every time anyone digs there, well, you know what happens....zap goes the internet.

    Thanks for hosting each week. Have a good weekend.

  10. Kudos to you, it is WAY to humid even first thing in the morning to dig holes here! You're my gardening hero and look so cute planting! I'm a hot mess when I just pull weeds :) Happy Planting to you!

  11. Thanks for the party! Have a wonderful weekend!

  12. What a beautiful garden!! Wow! Thanks for hosting!

    ~Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

  13. Such a lovely garden! So much space, very nice!
    Thank you so much for hosting the party, Michael!!

  14. I do wish I could plant something and expect it become something beautiful but my thumb is far from green. It's good to see you digging in and with such determination. Beautiful job!

  15. Thank you for hosting such a great link party!

    Raven J. True Blue Baking

  16. I do wish I could plant something and expect it become something beautiful but my thumb is far from green. It's good to see you digging in and with such determination. Beautiful job!

  17. I dig the most horrible holes when planting. I barely get them big enough to stuff the roots in. I figure you have to be tough to survive in my yard, so I start them off right away with a challenge! Love your flowers, we plant a lot of the same ones.

  18. gosh, i thought i already commented on this, i read it so leisurely i must have thought i was just chatting with you ;-) you are such a little slip of thing no wonder gardening is hard for your itty bitty self. EAT UP GIRL, finally an excuse, so you can muscle your way around the garden... just what you husband wants to read!

  19. I love this post. I started to choke up at the poetry of it all. And I feel a little silly suggesting you find a part-time gardener to help you. I had not realized you really wanted to get your hands in the dirt. Your garden is progressing nicely and that is what counts. I read years ago where a woman went to her garden to renovate it and it healed her. I have never forgotten that.

    Thank you so much for hosting a lovely party.

  20. The garden is my next project Michael Lee as spring has well and truly sprung and if I don't do it know, another year will have passed since its had a good clear out. Thanks for hosting!

    Anne xx

  21. Your new plants look wonderful! Since fall is coming quickly, the empty spots could be filled with mums and pansies or ornamental cabbages...although I don't know how deer resistant they are, but I'm waiting for the weather to cool down so I can fill in my empty spots too! Love all the Pearl S. Buck quotes you shared. Your place is a dream!
    Miss Bloomers