Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gardening in the Heat

The weather people say it got close to 100 today, heat index of about 110.  It didn't feel that hot to me.  It was foggy and overcast for the morning, and I spent from 9 until 2 working in my back and side gardens.  I have missed my time in my gardens while Christopher was here, but I wanted to spend time with him, and so made the decision to let the gardens go until after he left.  I weeded and trimmed and planted and watered and bent over the gardens stretching out my back.  The filtered sun felt good on my limbs and the three dogs played around me as I moved from one garden to the next.  Ednarose loves to dig and garden and pull up plants freshly planted.  It is hard to get upset when one of the dogs simply mimics my behavior, only backwards, pulling the plants out instead of putting them into the ground.  The four of us had a very pleasant morning, the temperatures were slow getting started, but by 1:00 when the cloud cover had burned off, the heat shot up proving that it is August in Florida.  I loved getting down in the dirt on my hands and knees and pulling out weeds and moving the soil around as I determine how much room I have for a couple of new plants from Tallahassee Nursery.  Just a couple to freshen up the garden.  I have a flat of mums that I hope to plant tomorrow and I need to trim the mums in the ground again, plus the Mexican Sunflowers, to force these bushes to fill out instead of just being straight up.

I trimmed the hydrangeas for the first time and planted the glorious blue one I received at my retirement party.  I could still use one more hydrangea in that garden.  Maybe something a little different like a variegated one.  I have put some of the cuttings into pots and my main objective tomorrow is to finish planting cuttings of the hydrangeas.  I am setting up about 5 times as many hydrangeas as I could ever use, but I have no idea how they will come out.  So I will set up as many as I can and then see who makes it.  I also have some roses that need to be prepared for cuttings, and I want to try doing some cuttings of the olive tree and some azaleas.  Why not?  I love learning about plants by trying to propagate them.  And I can always share them with friends if I have too many, or go up to the flea market later this fall and see about selling them.  I also have a flat of milkweed coming up as seedlings that I hope to transfer into bigger pots.  I have a shade house and a glass house, and the glass house needs to have everything taken out of it, and completely cleaned out and weeded.  I am going to try again this year to use it during the winter as a way to protect my more delicate plants.  I will purchase the large Christmas lights to use as a heat source.  I have friends who managed to keep all of their plants alive this winter by moving the pots closer to the house and then wrapping them in the big Christmas lights.  The lights provided just enough heat to keep them at a temperature they could survive.  

I still need to spray the 2 veggie gardens with roundup to do a kill off of the weeds in those  gardens.  I don't use pesticides, including herbicides or fungicides anymore often then absolutely necessary, but the only way I am going to start getting control over these gardens to do a big kill off of the largest most hardy of the weeds.  Then I can decide from there what to do next.  I would like to have a fall garden.  It has been too long since I had a veggie garden and I miss it terribly.  I love fall veggie gardens, you can grow some of the hardiest summer plants and  get a start on some of the winter veggies.  These plants tend to use less space then the plants of summer, and I would like to get back to growing most of my greens and beans.  So many different varieties of greens grow here, collards, kale (my favorite) chard, salad greens like arugula and lettuce.  They are lovely and if protected against the coldest temps with either a drop cloth, or a tent, you can have winter greens through the fall, winter and into the spring.

I ran errands this afternoon, called my Dad and took my walk.  My walk is only about 2 miles and I try to do it with a brisk pace, but in this heat I also want to be careful not to over heat myself.  I will be starting the exercise program in 2 weeks, and that should help me considerably.  In the meantime, I am trying on routines.  Seeing if I can get out early enough to get some real work done in the garden, handle some of the bills and correspondence, do a little house work, and take time to read and rest each day.  I want to get back on a healthier diet like I used to eat, mostly fruits and veggies with fish and eggs and cheese.  Yes, I know eggs and cheese have fat in them, but they are my main source of fat, and that was the diet I ate in Spain and came back to such great results.  Moderate exercise, eating the food I love the most and getting rest.  
oh and 
Being happy,
and gardening while my dogs play around me is just about the best way to make me happy.

But first I want to finish the 2 Gerald Durrell books I have.  I am almost done with a Zoo in my luggage and then I have the sequel, Whispering Land.  I so enjoy reading his books, and can't believe that I had never heard of him.  It was Mary introducing me to Mr. Durrell's books because she had received a copy of My Family and Other Animals.  I adored it and have since obtained copies of four of his books.  He is like Loren Eisley, you can read his beautiful writings over and over.  

Now to get ready to bed and maybe read a few more pages.  The sky is glowing as dusk settles in, the heat still clings to the houses and plants and ground and the humidity sticks to me like a another layer of skin.  A cool shower and to sleep with the fan blowing on me.  To rest and tomorrow to wake and have another day to try out a routine to see how it fits.  
I really like where I am in life.
I had a wonderful break with Christopher here, where all of my attention was focused on him or the play
and now it is my time
time to focus on me and what makes me happy
and gardening makes me very happy


  1. Sounds like you have the secret. I felt your contentment. Lovely.