4-13 Progress Report

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Basil, our 130 lbs male French Mastiff. Marking is a real problem for young plants in our garden.

I planned to spend the morning weeding the drip lines around the new plum and apple trees.  In the last year, sod has managed to creep closer to the trunks than I like to see in trees this young.  Plus, the pee-guards I built to keep Basil (our mastiff) from marking them  took a winter beating.  I need to rebuild the pee-barriers, then treat each tree with dormant oil spray before the temperatures break out of the 50’s.

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Pee-barrier demolished by 1 year of doggy damage and 1 wet Illinois winter.

However… the electric weed whacker, which I like to use to slice through the sod has been snoozing in the garage all winter, and I forgot to recharge it.  Duh.  But I’ll be damned before I dig sod out of that greasy, grey, compacted, housing-development clay by hand.  Nine hours to charge the weed whacker.  I decided to find some other garden task to fill my morning.

The front of the house is an eyesore, so I decided to tackle that.  It is going to be more of an eyesore before it becomes less of an eyesore, so I figured I’d jump right in lowering my neighbors’ property values.  There are still about  6 more metric feet of finished compost sitting in the driveway.   There are now, in addition, several square feet of oak leaves that I raked out of the front perennial bed.

By the time I dug up and moved the plants in that bed that needed digging, (Purple cone flowers,  grey-headed cone flowers, swamp milkweed, inland sea oats (a native grass), and creeping flox) my arthritic back had pooped out, the dog had escaped the back yard, it was lunch time, and I was in one heck of a growling mood.  Even as I write this, there sits a leaf pile next to a compost pile on my front driveway.  And I straight up have NO intention of dragging that leaf pile to the rear compost pile, and sho’ NUFF I have no intention of moving the compost pile from my driveway.  Not today.  I know you don’t think I’m lying:

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If the neighbors think I’m going to rake that bed smooth and mulch it this weekend they’ve got another think coming.

Errr… suddenly I am wondering if you are wondering why I would post photos of my yard  looking awful?  It’s because sho’ nuff gardens cared for by Sho’ Nuff gardeners look like this from time to time.  Sho’ Nuff gardens are spaces that feed the playful, passionate, deep needs of the harried gardeners who tend them.   These, in my humble opinion, are different from landscaped spaces  planned by professional designers, installed by professional contractors, and tended by under/paid laborers so that wealthy home-owners can successfully perform their class standing and identity in public.

The truth of my organic gardening experience is one of limited physical strength,  mobility, and resources because of  very real medical issues.  My organic gardening experience is also shaped by the need to mother a 6 year old and a 13 year old while making progress in a career that guzzles far more than 40 hours/week of my life.

This blog is not about gardens,  but about gardening.  This is a blog about unfinished processes rather than finished products.  I want to speak into the wind of a culture that markets images of false perfection, playing to our fears of personal inadequacy in order to get us to buy more “stuff.”  “Want a garden like the one in the photo?   Insta-garden-o-matic Spray, guaranteed to give you the garden you want, the garden you deserve for just pennies a day.”  “Your neighbor’s wife will admire your masculinity if you drive the all new four wheel drive Insta-garden-o-matic!  No interest payments for one full year.  Financing available!”   Did you ever notice that the burger in the fast food wrapper never looks like the one on the television commercial? These days, even hamburgers wear make-up!  It’s the same with the images I see in gardening magazines and books.  This blog, this blogger?  No make-up.   Sho’ Nuff.  Knotty-Headed.  Straight-from-the-hip.  Telling it like it is.

On a less combative note, I am happy to report that the seeds I worried about last week have met their muse!  The beets, dill , deer tongue lettuce, and  bulb fennel have finally begun to sprout.  The onions and leeks are sitting up proud,  push new growth toward the sun.  It’s always a relief when seeds begin to germinate.  “Garden Powers, Activate!

The driveway perennial bed in summer.  Mother-Nature made the spring uglies go away!

The driveway perennial bed in summer. Mother-Nature made the spring uglies go away!

By the way, my neighbors love my garden.

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