Ornamental gardens are forgiving, and mine has certainly had a lot to forgive this year.
The garden’s slump started with my trip to Houston in April for work followed by another trip to England in May with Bill. Great fun, but traveling put me behind the eight ball. Then, I went to the Garden Bloggers’ Fling in Minneapolis in July and on a family vacation to Mobile, AL and Gulf Shores in August. On the way back, we visited Eudora Welty’s garden.
I also hurt my hand.
I’ve been going to hand rehab for the last six weeks although the problems started much earlier when I scratched my cornea. Lord, I sound pitiful when I write this stuff, and that’s why I haven’t been blogging much. I’m not sharing this info for sympathy, but to help others who might have the same problem. I have cubital tunnel syndrome (CTS), and the symptoms started a year or so ago. I google doctored it and knew what was wrong so I began wearing an Elbow PM arm splint at night. The CTS was manageable until I held an ice pack up to my eye with my left hand for three days straight. I inflamed the ulnar nerve in the cubital tunnel of my elbow so my ring and pinkie fingers were numb all the way down to my wrist. Not good. Although I have problems in both hands, the left hand is worse. I know this because I went to the doctor when it didn’t respond to home treatment. The doctor did a nerve test called Electromyography (EMG) and a nerve conduction study (NCS) to measure if I have muscle damage, along with how badly compressed the ulnar nerve is. Through the tests, I now know the CTS is mild in my right arm and moderate in the left.
Hand rehab therapy is twice a week to avoid surgery, and things do seem to slowly improving. I also learned how to use kinesio taping on my arm, and I do this before I do any gardening. It helps support the nerve when I type too.
Which brings us back how forgiving ornamental gardens are.
Typing and gardening exacerbate CTS, and the rehab therapist asked me not to do much of either. I type for work with frequent breaks. It’s been very, very hot here so it wasn’t hard to comply about gardening. Everything is on drip irrigation which helps a lot.
This morning, the weather was milder from a cold front, and I went outside to see how bad things were.
I can report that the Phlox paniculata and most of the other plants in these photos bloomed on without any assistance from me. The pollinators were happily going about their business too.
My vegetable/cutting garden is a mess. I pitched an idea about cutting gardens to my publisher earlier in the year, and they weren’t interested. After that, I didn’t worry too much about how it looked because I didn’t need the photos for a book.
I content myself with the idea that the pollinators are still happy with the zinnias and other cutting garden flowers. The butterflies don’t care if it’s messy and overgrown. I remember reading that years ago in Theme Gardens: Revised Edition by Barbara Damrosch. It helps take some of the pressure off.
Next year, we’re putting in raised beds so I won’t have to work so hard in this garden bed. It’s really too much if you don’t till, and I don’t. Raised beds will make it easier to keep the Bermuda grass under control because they are much easier to weed.
I do love my cutting garden, and it hurts to see it so messy. Oh well, let’s look at something else like the bed facing the street. It looks good after this morning’s weeding and cutting.
The vegetable garden is so sad I’m not even showing it. However, the ornamental beds and borders are going great guns. I’ll show you some of my favorite plants this year.
I’ve done a little cutting back and weeding, but not much. I am trying very hard to comply. My friend, Annette, has been coming over every other Wednesday to help me in the garden. She knows a lot about gardening and is a hard worker, so that’s been great. My sister, Nita, has also come over two or three times. She’s learning a lot about gardening. I’m not sure she likes it much. She said it was like cleaning house. I guess it is except you do have birdsong and wonderful things to smell while you’re cleaning.
We’re at that stage in summer where the roses need additional deadheading. I know it’s a little late, but cutting them one more time won’t hurt them. For the last several years, we’ve had long falls, and I’m banking on that again.
Also, cut back your coleus and salvias to increase flowering. Pull out the weedy grass and give everything another good layer of mulch. We can’t make it rain, but we can insulate those roots.
Instead of spending my money on plants, I’ve spent the entire summer shopping for clothes. I still walk/run on the treadmill and walk at the mall on the hottest days to stay in shape. After I lost weight, I didn’t have anything to wear. Stitch Fix has become my favorite clothing service ever. In full disclosure, if you click on the link and order a box, they will give me $25 credit. I’m also doing Trendsend and Trunk Club. My daughter, Diva, calls them my little packages of fun. I may write about all of them later this fall because there are things I like and dislike about each service. I will say my wardrobe has never been better.
That last paragraph makes me laugh. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. How has your gardening year been?