This Or Something Better

Michaele AlexanderOur Yarden

The saga continues as the sun rises and sets upon… Our Yarden

What started out as a barren post winter wasteland embracing a color palate of scraggly browns has now burst forth in not only greens, but a myriad of other colors. Of all the miracles wiggling around in the Yarden though, I have to say I am partial to the one that is the Sunflower. Not to omit my growing (okay, only a little pun intended) passion for all the other wonders there, I just can not help but gravitate to such a cheerful, plentiful and rapidly changing plant. By rapid and plentiful, I do mean rapid. And plentiful…

About a month ago:
“Honey, what’s this sticking out from the crack between the wall of the greenhouse and the concrete pad?”
“That looks like it will be a Sunflower.”
“Really, hmmm. And here? To the left of the walk way?”
“Probably a sunflower.”
“By the other doorway to the greenhouse?”
“And in the middle of the raised beds? There, there and there?”
“Look honey! Here’s another one!”

Thus began the game of Sunflower Spotting in our Yarden. Pretty soon we had identified little green leaves in just that pleasing shape sprouting from out of the most unplanned places due to the fact that we share our Sunflower enthusiasm with a host of birds. Birds fly. Birds perch. Birds drop seeds. Birds Yarden. Works for me, I love nice surprises.

And then, from the sleeping creatures they once were, they began to unfurl their small arms and stretch in the morning dew. All right, that sounds good but really it was the aftermath of the dog’s lawn sprinklers going off. But to say in the morning droplets from the dog’s lawn sprinklers just doesn’t have the same je ne se qua. It is a bit dry here and other than a small patch of lawn in the front and this one in the back, Hubby put in the oozy leaky type of sprinkler pipes that have holes and then buried them under mounds of tree and leaf chippings he had scored a couple of years ago. So the sprinklers on the dog’s lawn are it for “morning dew” in the Yarden area these days.

The wood and greenery chips have been really useful though. All manner of fantastic things happen under them. He had great plans to have another truck load dumped onto our drive from one of the local tree trimming services again, but one thing led to the next and it was not to be this season. We are absent any spring chippings because he put off calling until almost May. (But don’t tell him I noticed, a cranky hubby is no fun to be around.)

However as luck would have it, and my husband has a fabulous way with Universal timing coming to his aid, it was totally okay. This was due to the fact that we had copious branches after the great Felling of the Poplar when we removed it from our Yarden along with a super duper chipper that has been living in the garage like a college kid rent free for what seems like the last year because both my husband and the friend who lent it to us probably had forgotten where it was over the winter. At least I didn’t need to feed it.

A great deal of noise came forth from said machine and before I knew it the wonders of wood and leaf debris, along with an added community of mycological fun guys (fungi), happy bacteria (also part of the good guys team) and worms had begun to ooosh together to make a great place for our plants to live. For in his restless quest for greater and better Yarden ideas, Hubby scans the world. It is inevitable that a couple of days after a bout of contented research on his part the dogs will go wild as a delivery person places a package at the door. And before I know it another soil enhancing resident will be moving in somewhere in the Yarden.

Hubby is always making new discoveries of unusual things to mix, pour, smoosh, slather and dribble into and on the soil. Take worm “tea” for instance. It is actually worm pee, but that did not stop him, it’s great for plants. So we have a great bevy of worms in a double plastic bin with holes that he feeds ground up table scraps to in the garage peeing away. I still do not understand why they can’t just live in the garden and pee like all the other wild worms. I have come to accept that there are just some things that will remain beyond my comprehension. But I digress. Back to the Sunflowers.

I began to see Sunflowers everywhere. “Another one!” I would decry. So in their young and plentiful stage I had formulated a plan and proposed it to my husband, who thought it sensible (as long as he didn’t have to do it) to lovingly remove them from many of their random accommodations and place them in tidy rows along the back fence in what I had deemed “the flower garden”. How was I to know that in the midst of my plans they would begin to exceed a 5 gallon buy it at the home store status so quickly?

But that was all right. The ground was soft enough to get at them with a spade easily and I imagined their sunny yellow heads creating a perfect row giving height to my intended project much like arranging relatives at a family reunion for a picture. I went to work. Soon all of the transplants had made the switch with only a bit of droopy comment and a snide remark or two before rooting into their new homes. It wasn’t much to look at yet, but I was willing to be patient.

We also happily awaited the growth of the “wildflower mix” seeds that had been sprinkled at their feet to burst forth in a riot of glorious splendor just like the pictures on the packets from which they came. My daughter and I had carefully placed each seed, measuring the soil depth at 1/4 inch, respecting the instructions on the labels at her insistence (sometimes she is sooo like my husband) until her friend came over and they ran off to play (as kids do and should) and I was left to complete the task in the hot sun. Really, really hot sun.

Overcome by tedium and the justification “Nature doesn’t measure seed depth!” I decided that to “broadcast” the rest of the seeds was the most sensible course of action. Try to measure a half an inch in dirt that has leaves and bark all mixed in, let alone a quarter. No one was looking. It was all very scientific. Besides, who would know?

As it turns out however, I had angst over nothing. Apparently the seeds were so old they were from another epoch, perhaps when dinosaurs roamed the earth and may or may not have grown no matter the depth. Well, maybe some of them might have, but Hubby did not get around to installing the “drip system” there for another week and we hadn’t quite arranged who was doing the watering in the meantime. My project, my oops.

But I wasn’t to be disappointed. Although short lived in the heat to come, just outside of the area where the domesticated “wild” flowers were to reside was a rogue patch of beautiful purple something or others which came to life and sent forth lovely slender stalks of tiny clustered flowers for the bees to play upon. Worked for me.

I am going to meander the tree trunk slice stepping stones between them and the Sunflowers and call it a day. Tomorrow. Or maybe next week. But it will happen. Because if I can see it in my minds eye something will come to pass. Just not always what I see. Probably because my mind’s eye can change its mind. “This or something better” as we like to say in our household, “This or something better…”