Monday, August 6, 2007

No longer a gardener

Here in Georgia, we have been in a drought condition to one degree or another for about the last 5 years. We have watering restrictions, and in some parts of the state, homeowners can water only on Saturday or Sunday, and only between 10pm and 10am.

For the last 7 years, since we moved to our house, I had been a gardener, mainly into roses, hostas, irises, daylilies, all named varieties ordered from specialty growers. All the plants had their own labels that I made from wooden plaques. In the vegetable garden, we had tomatoes, okra, and peppers. I would tour the garden after work everyday, inspecting everything. Each time I planted or moved something, I would make a dated map showing the changes. I would hand dig new beds and add amendments to the hard, dense, Georgia red clay.

However, I have lost my interest. I admit I'm lazy and don't want to get up at 9am to water. Plus the mosquitoes are ferocious and the heat and humdity (despite the lack of rain, it's still humid) is unbearable in July and August and so slowly, my garden is dying, and I'm letting it.

The only things now that get care are the 4 tomato plants and potted plants and only because Husband does the watering. I mow the lawn, and that's all the "gardening" we do.

We had the 9 pine trees removed from our front lawn, leaving only the 2 dogwood trees. Prior to the tree removal, I dug up a lot of perennials and moved them to the vegetable garden and may the fittest survive. The first to die were the lilac and peony, neither of which do particularly well in hot weather anyway.

The front lawn is patchy. There are at least nine bare spots where the trees used to be, and then there's a quarter of the lawn that's just dirt. A few years ago, we used a lawn service to kill the weeds. Well, the weeds were what would grow and now that they're gone and the drought is here, the grass won't grow into that area and it's just eroding away. When I do mow the sparse tufts of grass within that area, huge dust clouds blow up.

We plan to have the front lawn torn up and sodded in the fall, when the rains return. I also had a landscape designer come out and give us a garden plan for the front yard. He recommended that we cut back the overgrown azaleas and holly bushes in the front yard to 6 inches, which we did. I'd like to dig up and remove the hollies entirely, but will wait for cooler weather to do so. I don't need to suffer heat stroke and sharp holly punctures.

Perhaps when the weather is better, my gardening interest will come back. But for now, I'm no longer calling myself a gardener.

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