A couple of weeks ago, I got my 10,000 steps seeding and feeding the fescue lawn. The lawnette always looks pretty pitiful this time of year. How did I get 10,000 steps? I mixed Milorganite and grass seed in the walk-behind seed spreader and worked the lawnette in a crosshatch style. I walked one direction back and forth, and then I did the same in the other direction.
It’s boring, but necessary work so let’s look at The Rising Sun™ redbud against the Oklahoma sky instead. See, doesn’t that feel better?
You can use whatever grass fertilizer you like. I don’t suggest weed-n-feed because it will kill all the lovely little flowering weeds including Dutch clover, henbit, and common violets. Pollinators like these weedy little bits.
Boring, but necessary, is how living with Covid-19 feels at the moment. It is simultaneously boring and scary. Even in Oklahoma, we have a Stay Home/Stay Safe order with Oklahoma City having even stronger requirements. Each day the number of ill and dead climbs, and I’m sure the number is actually a lot higher because many sick people are not part of the official count. I am 57 and have asthma. I am taking the stay-at-home order seriously. Bill works in an essential industry so he does go to work, but he isn’t around very many people. He did stay home last week while we had log home repairs. Yes, there was a crew of three out here. I stayed as far away from them as possible because with this virus you are often. contagious before you know you’re sick.
Last weekend and most of last week, I worked in the garage border and back garden clearing away more leaves–there are always more leaves–cutting back perennials and pruning shrubs. I pruned my roses, smokebushes and some of the hydrangeas including my sweet ‘Annabelle.’ On hydrangeas that bloom on old wood, I only discarded the dead blooms. On the others, I cut back wherever I wanted. For my smoketrees, I cut them back to three feet. I don’t care if they bloom (smoke), and I like them best with a full bushy look. I learned this technique from my friend, Wanda. Here is what Continus ‘Grace’ looked like in previous years.
In my potager, I sowed seeds for Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce, two types of mesclun, radishes, sweet podded peas and snow peas. These are some of the best and easiest vegetables to grow in Oklahoma. Cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are hard in an Oklahoma spring because the weather is fickle, and the cabbage moths are legion.
I also planted more Berried Treasure Red Strawberries and another variety with a pink bloom. I love these strawberries. The red blooms make me smile, and we’re all looking for something to smile about these days.
In the cold frames, I transplanted the sweet peas I started inside the greenhouse. I keep the sweet peas far away from my other edible-podded peas so I don’t get confused and accidentally eat them. Sweet peas are pretty but poisonous. I also cut back all of the lavender that edges the potager beds. It looks like I only lost one lavender plant. That’s pretty good. I think the only reason I’m successful with lavender in my garden is that I grow it in a large raised bed next to a concrete wall.
Lavender gives me hope, and hope is what we all need right now. Lavender always looks half dead in spring, but at its base, you see new growth. Ladybird Johson once said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope – and hope is the precious, indispensable ingredient without which the war on poverty can never be won.” Although we are still fighting the war on poverty, for the time being, you could substitute “coronavirus” for the word “poverty” in her quote. We all need hope, and we need to remember to take care of each other in these troubling times.
With that in mind, I want to thank all of those in healthcare, the doctors, nurses, PAs, nurse practitioners, CRNAs, EMTs, and others on the front lines. Let us also not forget the police officers, grocery store employees, restaurant employees, warehouse workers, truck drivers, street maintenance crews, sanitation staff, mailmen and women, delivery drivers, and others who are keeping the country running while many of us work from home. Not everyone has that luxury. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.
A shoutout too for parents who are trying to educate their children and keep peace in their households. It isn’t easy.
I’ll admit that my emotions range from bored and a bit bummed out–which is funny because I always work from home–to terrified if I watch too much news. Much of our network news is sensationalized because of the whole 24-hour news cycle–which started with Ted Turner’s launch of CNN in 1980.
The truth of the coronavirus pandemic is hard enough to bear without sensationalism.
Maybe you don’t agree. Maybe reading all of the news makes you feel better. I wish it did for me. I try reading the news, and I can do one or two articles. I do check every day on the numbers of people with Covid-19, especially in Oklahoma. I pray for those who are sick. I check on my mom who is really isolated at her assisted living center. Since I live out in the country, I do have to go to the grocery store once in a while to stock up on certain things, but so far, we’re just fine. I wear gloves, and I have hand sanitizer, and if I had a mask, I’d wear that too. I’m not taking any unnecessary risks, and I hope you aren’t either. I care about all of you.
Carol, my co-podcasting friend on the Gardenangelists, our gardening podcast, shared an interesting article Of Mantelpieces and Pansies, by Annette Januzzi Wick, about citizen diarists in the UK during WWII. Their diaries helped Erik Larson research his new book, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz. Bill is reading it now, and I’ll read it too.
I bring this up because my blog is a kind of diary of the everyday. I’ll keep sharing pictures of my garden and what I’m doing, and perhaps it will help you in your gardens. So many of you are starting your own gardens for the very first time. I know because you write me emails. I answer every single one, but you may want to also buy my book, The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: A No-Fuss, Down and Dirty, Gardening 101 for Anyone Who Wants to Grow Stuff, because it has nearly everything I know about gardening in one place, and it’s easy to follow. It’s like having me in the garden with you as you take those first hesitant steps. It’s also for everyone, not just those in their 20s and 30s.
I’ll make a deal with you. Y’all stay safe, and I’ll keep writing. Feel free to write and ask me questions. As I wrote above, I care about you. I want you to stay well, and I want your gardens to grow. As long as we remember what matters, we will get through this.
It is a kind of war, but one we understand far better than our forebears did about the 1918 flu pandemic. That reminds me, thank you to the scientists who are striving to find a vaccine, quicker, less-expensive tests, and medications that fight this virus. We owe them a debt of gratitude too.