Monday, September 16, 2019

Rookie Gardening : Grow together or wither apart

Since, in the business of those days, I missed labeling everything I planted in June, some of my Student Reward Seeds cups, over the next two weeks, became 'mystery plants.' What's growing here? What survived? I had a list of seeds my students had chosen - they looked at the packets I'd put on screen that day and tell me which one they liked. I became uncertain, however, which seedlings were which type!
I kept it all living, and most of them made it into other pots.
I'd had two plant I thought were Cantaloupe, and a couple of flowers, all growing in this one pot. I transplanted the cantaloupes onto little mounds- the higher one gives the best foliage yield. Anyway, this is about the three plants that remained.
There was one tiny sprout in there, and two big survivors. I realized, in July, I had one flower, for sure. What I didn't realize is how a common weed in my yard looks in its early form. I would get a chance to appreciate the stubborn roots, when given the same potting conditions and care as, say, a 4 o'clock.
When I did realize I had a piece of grass, I began to think of transplanting the 4 o'clock, to represent the student flowers in a long tray I'd bought for that purpose.

Transplant trauma happens during many attempts. I wasn't worried about the grass, but I did take it to the spot where I'd once been growing a single watermelon plant. That was my first pH-tested choice for the patch, by the way, before I took the advice to keep the remaining plants together in their tub, and found a spot even slightly better, with the most hours of direct sun.
I buried the prodigious roots, to see how hearty this grass might be.
The flower, however, of such a fast-growing breed, did not fair so well as its siblings. The ones I'd taken from a root ball, together, and placed in the sunrise-facing garden, shot up, over three feet high! So many flower stems, too, from the stalks- and the other two 4 O'Clocks were also thriving. One had required a stone to buffet its early trunk, when first transplanted; now that was a bit tree-like, sturdy still beside its stone companion.
So, those flowers were all transplanted first from a cup, then to a pot, before going into the ground. This time, however, the work of taking loose the grass root, to free the flower, may have just been too much, from the looks of things.

The lesson on my reflection, of this naive sort of quiet cruelty, is, in the pot, I still had the grass and the flower. Maybe only one was desirable, but taking them apart did neither of them any favors. They grew together. Plants value their lives together. To keep the flower, sometimes you leave the weed.

It reminds me of kinfolk. Ha!

Next: The resourcefully-recycled Jade Brigade. You can start several plants for one price, as you'll see!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Gardening: the Hobby Begins!

In April, we started a few plants, and gave the lawn a cut with the new mower.They say nothing beats going outdoors. You really want to feel better, consistently, then allergies be danged! The heat hadn't arrived yet, so who knew how many things we'd later realize made good April seedlings?
We figured out where were the holes. We filled in many, especially on the path to the swimming pool.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Letter on a friend's birthday

So, it's September 13th again, and that's when I always think: "Happy Birthday, T.J., brother!" When we re-united over the 'Net in '09, I told him I'd start this blog, to spin him stories and keep a window into what we found, made and experienced, you know, in San Diego. That was a fun idea. I never grilled him about reading it, but T.J. gave encouragement like no one else could. We had a lot of people sending support in those days; you find them in these posts, too.

This spring, we not only did yardwork- we started new jades, and a little garden! We began to realize, we could use this yard and an array of pots to put the life and beauty we feel out there to the world.
My sister was here a lot, and fortunately, I think we built the best rapport we've had since we grew up.

This letter's a re-convening of the Stump Meetings, there in the trees on the hills beside the old GA-53. I didn't want to spend too much of the summer online. I don't mind telling of it, afterwards. To me, it's mostly a story of plants and flowers.
I wanted to do some new things. I didn't want to feel obliged to write about plants. Truth to tell, I do have a concept for a Kid's storybook, which is about right, as our peers will be looking for things to give their grandchildren.

This summer, I first officially graduated Univeristy of Alabama. That, to me, is a funny story, and it's rather easy to recollect your laughter-but it did assemble more Paynters- and my sister and her squeeze Lenny- than this yard's ever before survived!

You know, right? You were there in spirit! It was a day for spirits, drank and spilled alike. I invited a friend of our own ane Everthing! It was a good Sunday over at Mom's- as memorable a Cinco de Mayo as the day Anj and I hopped off the Greyhound in Escondido and flipped a coin in the sprinkling evening mist- I never saw more people have a good time here!

You always loved coming over. Imagine if we'd had the nurturing temperment to hang out in my yard and grow things! Mom, Anj and I started modestly- a few tomato plants, and Angela's Jades, for bonsai. The inspiration for more veggies came a bit late for the proper growing season; I had to do another round, leading to many little cups. I started cantaloupes, though, and even watermelons. Why? i picked out rewards one week from the packets of seeds at hand. It was late for some flowers, but here in September, the ones who were in time give radiance to the sunrise side of my family's yard.

I fondly remember having friends over to spend the night, and no one came over more, or first, for that matter! I felt a bit of nostalgia for those times, when we tried to help out a fellow I'd worked with, who hit a rough patch. It's a long story, but this guy, sad to say, didn't have the fight in him you did, and he didn't turn out to be ready to use anyone's help to get estalished. But he did come out to join me in yard work, which must've made me look so much like Dad, you'd laugh again.

See, as kids, Deb and I took in what Grandpa knew, but we weren't really taught, so much as obeyed the family activity or played in the yard. Even if we had taken notes, only watching could begin to tell you of the labor involved in a garden, large enough to sustain a household. Our pal Nena has been at this in her own yard a few years, now, if not longer, I'm not sure, but I'll bet having a yard was a big draw to establshing the life she has with her family- and many organic experiments!

I think I learned a lot along the way, but I didn't try writing much at all about my new hobby, all summer. I let the plants speak for themselves. I'm under no illusion of their prize-winning qualities, but hey, I lost like ten, twelve pounds. Around this house we push mow!

I still think up songs as I do yard work, or if I'm alone, errands. Pieces, really. It's more amusing than depression, right? I remember, after you lit out for Oklahoma, basically for good, you'd write about summers there, and band camp, and the farm. I wouldn't be shocked if some of those letters have remained, even after I helped Mom with the Herculean Labor of unpacking the Disharoon residence.

Well, in this present day and age, even we two hicks would've had more pictures together. Those are few and far between, and I may dig one out when I finally open that huge photograph cart with Mom. My memories will have to stand in, but for every picture I want to describe, there's at least the proverbial thousand words.

I know your family misses you sometimes, but you envisioned a life for us all that would outlast yours. I'll spend your birthday, writing about kid friendships, and this Drawn Into Adventure will be every bit as fun- and easier!- than the Seeds story. I will even see how much I can draw, but I already find myself hoping for gifted illustration collaborators!

The year you died, TJ, we spent your birthday, days later, on the beautiful, unique top of Screamer Mountain. When I used to first think of a time I'd be no more, I would vaguely see my ashes belonging to such sky-reaching wilderness and mossy basins. I was happy to be invited. Geez, then we were in our only car accident on the way home! Whew!

I'm a bit sorry I never sent that painting to your aunt Marty while I still had it, but wasn't technically great. But, I know she felt differently, because it was you and Steely. I'd love to make her a new one. I'm just happy that playing guitar and writing are taking the time my gardening did.

Angela and I, great, of course. Her plant work informed a lot of my own, and I'll share her pictures and process, too. It was a quiet summer...even if we did finally take our first Just Us Two vacation after all this time.

Thanks always for being a good friend. You inspire me still, like, often!

Be chill, Cease ill