One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

In The Rain

The rain didn’t hold off this morning, already falling lightly when I woke up. Only a single cup of joe was needed to get me out there, though. With a possible three days of rain ahead, it’d be a crime not to take advantage of it.

It wasn’t raining hard and it was still relatively warm (64), so I didn’t mind getting a little damp. In fact, its one of my favorite times to be out there messing around in the dirt.

I had just started selecting the right locations for those orange marigolds (which really brightened up even a pretty rainy and gray morning as this one), when word came via one of our dog-walking neighbors, Snoopy the min-pin’s dad (I’m amused by the fact we don’t know each other’s names, only the names of our dogs), that there was a big turtle come up from the pond and in another neighbor’s yard.

Of course, I set my digging tools in out of the rain and grabbed my camera for a little walk around the block, where I found this snapping turtle (probably almost two foot from nose to tail)slowly heading up the driveway into someone’s back yard.

It wasn’t clear to me if she’d have a clear shot at the woods going that way, but I wasn’t about to attempt to give her directions, either. She was following the beat of her drummer, and so after taking a photo or two, I headed back to the garden to listen to my own cadence a little longer and she made her way up the driveway toward the lawn and whatever place she decided was appropriate for laying eggs.

After finding the right spots for each of the marigolds, I managed another round of seed planting in a variety of recently-weeded sections of the garden. This morning’s mass sowing included the second half of those bachelor buttons, as well as some more cleome(*) and allyssum, chamomile and tall sulphur cosmos.

This meant another chance to draw patterns on the soil, but because of the rain, I used a stick today and not my finger. Hard enough trying to keep the seeds from sticking together without having muddy hands.

The rain was getting heavier as I planted and although I’ve more seeds to plant, I’d exhausted the free time I had this morning and it was time to get ready for work. But not until I’d enjoyed a long lingering look at the way the garden’s shaping up.

* So, I have a confession to make. I did a bad thing recently, not something a gardener ought to do, and I’m feeling a little guilty about it. Remember those lovely and strong looking cleome seedlings I had in the bedroom window? Well, I’ve grown accustomed in recent years to having partially shaded/protected garden beds, which gave me latitude to be a little casual with some of my plantings, as the surrounding trees offered some security against the stronger winds and even some mild frosts.

But for this new location, with it’s direct sunlight and gusting winds, I really ought to have taken an extra day or two to accustom my little babies to life in the Big Bad World (You may recall me having some misgivings after the fact that evening, actually.)for little bits of time before the big planting.

Instead, I just split them up and put them out there in the ground.

Some, I’m sorry to say, simply fell over and died. A few turned a little white, but look like they’ll recover…and there’s still a third group who took just enough shelter from nearby perennials that they are doing quite well.

Still in all, I ought to have known better. Bad gardener.

There’s another look at those yucca plants I showed you the other night, their flower stalks another foot taller than on Sunday. I was mistaken, actually: all three plants are doing this. What a show it will be!

The best reason for today’s rain being a good thing is the way it’s washed the pollen off everything.

I thought I saw a humpback whale in this pool of pollen, but then it seemed more like a dove maybe. Now I think it looks like Heath Ledger as the Joker, but that might just be me anticipating the new Batman movie this July.

Have you seen the trailer?


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