Sorry to be late to the party. I’m in the midst of kids going back to school and high school football practices.
If last week’s post theme was “Do Not Despair,” this week’s is “Do Not Panic.”
Instead, rejoice that most of the state finally got rain from a cold front which moderated temperatures. Hallelujah, and thank God.
The don’t panic part comes in when you go outside and see what the garden has become. Yesterday, I did and thought, Ack! Crabgrass, bindweed and wild morning glories invaded. They and Bermuda grass love the heat, and while I was inside reading, they snuck into every patch of good soil.
I can see you breathing hard. Grab a paper bag, breathe into it and don’t panic. Just grab your hand weeder and pruners and jump right in while applying the FlyLady method to gardening. Have I not explained FlyLady gardening before? It’s like this. FlyLady and her friends created a great method to clean the house which I use most of the time. One of these is to man the battle stations a bit everyday (my wording not hers). Then, each week, you have a zone to more deeply clean. Currently, in the house, we are in Zone 3. I’ve now incorporated these ideas and zones to my garden. I consider each section of the garden as a separate zone, but the main thing to remember is: It doesn’t need to be perfect. That is FlyLady’s rule no. 1 (well that, and the shiny sink).
Perfectionism is a killer. I believe many people don’t garden because they want their homes and yards to be as perfect as the guy’s down the street. You know him. He has a perfect Bermuda Lawn. It is green in spite of three weeks of over 100F weather. He has just the right number of shrubs in front of his house which are trimmed within an inch of their lives, and it’s all this soothing shade of green with red tips because most of the shrubs are easy-care nandinas. (I like nandinas, but there is so much more to gardening.) His driveway is always blown off and is perfect, smooth, white concrete with no stains. As long as we’re creating this fantasy, his wife is naturally blond and beautiful, and he has two perfect kids who are sport stars, the boy in baseball, and the girl in volleyball.
Ugh. Okay, just stop. Doesn’t it all sound impossible when I put it down in writing? I’m not your therapist, so I’m only going to approach the gardening aspect of this fantasy, ‘er nightmare. A perfect lawn and molded perfect shrubs are not gardening. They’re bad landscaping. Those lawns are kept fresh and green with lots of work performed by a landscaping crew who manicures that puppy twice a week while your neighbor works as the president of your local bank. It’s artificial to think any lawn would look that good after the weather we’ve had without lots of water, chemicals and a work crew. If that’s what you want, good deal, but it’s not gardening, and it’s not reality.
Gardens are messy creations, and because they are created by humans, they are also contrived, but hopefully, in a more natural sense. Nature is always trying to take them back, and in my case, nature wants to go full-on prairie style. Therefore, gardens require the maintenance of deadheading and weeding especially after such a long summer.
Nevertheless, they don’t have to be perfect.
Someone asked me the other day how I keep up with it all, and as I looked around, I wondered the same thing. How do I?
First, I don’t. Like bad juju, crabgrass and other weeds continually creep into the beds. I just don’t let it keep me up at night. Instead, every morning I go out and take the garden’s pulse (when I worked outside the home I did the same thing).
What’s working? What isn’t? That’s what I ask myself, and I don’t get too hung up on any of it. I stand back and look at the whole and think it looks pretty good.
- Like Flylady, I pick one zone and work on it every few days. I can’t wait an entire week because it would be too long this time of year. Overall, I water the containers, then deadhead and weed the garden for 30 minutes each morning or evening while checking for problems beginning to start.
- Then, I may spread more mulch in Zone 1 which is the potager and the bed facing the street. Because the beds are raised, the soil heats up, and mulch disappears like magic.
- Zone 2: the tiered beds on the side along with the new bed against the garage.
- Zone 3: the side rose bed and the small walkway by the deck. The side rose garden is a nightmare and needs a lot of help right now, but I’ll work on it on Friday.
- Zone 4: one half of the back garden.
- Zone 5: the other half.
- Zone 6: out front, and because it’s in the shade, and I live in the country, it doesn’t get as much care. Plus, the chickens get into it everyday, and I haven’t quite figured out how to keep them out. They drag out the mulch. I put it back. Very frustrating, but once again, I’m not trying to achieve perfection. By letting them out most days, I have very few ticks in the yard naturally. I just wish they ate fleas too.
So, that’s my FlyLady style of gardening. I want to thank the entire FlyLady crew for teaching me both how to clean my house and tend my garden.
Til next time, I suggest we all stay calm and think zonally.