Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gardening Nightmares

If it hadn’t been for my near death experience in the garden this past week, I would not have considered bringing this topic up. It’s been discussed this season, although not by me and not in this most terrifying way. The day started off like any other, clutching my coffee cup like a life line, I made my way out to the garden to greet the day and coax my crusty eyes open slowly. I examined a bush, a flower, a tree while sipping my nearly black brew that I’d doused with flavored creamer. My world was as close to perfect as one can get when out of nowhere I was attacked. Screaming and screeching, I slapped at the monster that had hidden among my beloved plants. This was no ordinary assault; this was a premeditated, calculated (with precision) invasion of my personal space. Landing on the hand that held the cup that held my precious Joe was the largest, ugliest, most blood thirsty-looking grasshopper I have ever seen. With huge haunted eyes that I’ll never forget he pounced when I was most vulnerable. Pajama clad and barely awake; I was slapped, punched and nearly bitten as I attempted to extricate the erratic creature off my body. In the chaos that ensued, plants were trampled, coffee was spilt and I was deeply shaken. Now to be fair to myself, I have to admit that the grasshoppers around my place are as big as Chihuahuas and it’s amazing how much damage they have done. I’m doing my best to be as environmentally friendly as possible, but this incident has me researching methods of retaliation. I think I’ve been fair. I haven’t sprayed or suggested insecticides, pesticides, fungicides or staying-insides all summer long. Call it green gardening, organic gardening or natural gardening - the point is I’ve used limited or no chemicals in my flower beds and vegetable gardens. Like me, you may have suffered similar indignities and you may be perplexed as how best to get grasshoppers under control without killing all the beneficial insects that call your gardens home. May I suggest selecting plants that the hideous grasshoppers don’t prefer? Plants like; American beautyberry, Artemisia, Bridal wreath spirea, Confederate jasmine, Coralberry, Crepe myrtle, Dwarf yaupon, Dwarf burning bush, Dwarf Mexican petunia, Euonymus, Forsythia, Juniper, Lantana, Mexican bush sage, Moss rose, Nandina, Passionvine, Perennial dianthus, Persian lilac, Rock rose, Salvia greggii, Verbena (perennial.) Or you may be more inclined to purchase guinea hens. These pleasant poultry predators also enjoy ticks, Japanese beetles and crickets. Whatever you decide to do, remember my tormenting tale and be forewarned. Grasshoppers are out there. Lurking, plotting and waiting, for you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Garden Reclamation

So after a worthless weekend of laying around like a slug, I decided that I needed to get into the secret garden and get to work. I had already put in a full day on the job and burned some calories at the YMCA, but my jungle of a garden called to me. I had longingly looked at the garden through the writing room window all day the day before. So although I was practically spent, I knew the need was great and the call to action too pressing. So I put on my gloves, doused myself with bug spray, grabbed the rusty by-pass pruners, a set of loppers and entered through the first garden gate with much trepidation. The first few cuts with the pruners felt mean, but the longer I was swung the machete, the tougher I became. This garden had been my solace, my little slice of heaven on earth where I could hide myself away from the neighbors, uninvited visitors and sadly, even my family. But I had allowed the weeds to grow, the plants to escape and the critters to roam free. It was a mess and I was to blame. Pulling the hateful little weeds and stacking them in a growing pile made me feel alive. More so than I had in days, maybe weeks. Yanking and pulling, I stripped the raised bed of invasive plants that were out of place. That's the nice way to describe a weed. Something out of place. It didn't take long for the garden that I love and had missed, to spring back into view. My neglect had caused it to get overgrown and because of that, I was afraid to enter, afraid of what I would find, afraid of the work it would require to right the wrong. And it got me to thinking about the garden of my heart and mind. Often times, without forethought I will neglect my thoughts. I'll allow them to roam free, dwell on the negative, see and hear only the ill and then wonder why I feel so sad, so bad and so mad. Again, taking responsibility for my out of sorts inner garden requires that I suit up for the job properly, be committed to cleaning up the mess and without hesitation, jump in with both feet. It's not something I'm proud of, letting things go to pot. But I'm honest enough to admit when I've been lazy, neglectful or uncaring. Guarding your heart and your mind are the best defense. If those tactics fail or falter; then you must renew, refresh and replenish your garden with the good, the true, the honest, and the positive. I did tonight and it feels amazing!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Judge not, lest ye be judged!

Have you ever done something you were immediately ashamed of? Maybe you felt the spiking sting of guilt even as you were in the very act of violating a law, rule or guideline? I have. Its a crushing cyclic stab in your deepest being, its like clinching your teeth when you're angry only to hear them crack. What is it about breaking your own standards or not living up to expectations you have for yourself that deals such a lethal blow to your pride? Defeat, depression, despair and devastation...they follow your forever failures with a wicked, remembering smile. Telling you that you're only human and prone to error doesn't do a thing to change your lowly opinion of yourself. You are weak, pathetic, hear yourself think viciously. You always fall, fail or screw stuff up... Whispers of self-condemnation circle your head like tiny, invisible gnats. Swatting at them doesn't help. You aren't trying to drive away the truth anyway, it's just irritating and degrading to have your mistakes buzzing around non-stop in your face. So you swat and swing, curse and cry. You've heard that confession is good for the soul? I never believed it either, but I find myself standing here on the precipice of integrity, dangling precariously over the edge. Clamping my jaws together, I make a failing preposterous attempt to keep the sorrowful, seeping truth from escaping my mouth. Hanging my head from the weight of my shame, a single tear shouts in preparation and I begin to speak..."I ate a zebra tonight...(not waiting for your response, I rush on...)  A Little Debbie Zebra Cake." Don't judge me!