Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Just like a real garden

Robert Frost famously wrote in his poem The Mending Wall, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall..".  I maintain the same thing applies to paths.

No sooner have I cleared our walkways of weeds and overhanging branches than they repay my opening up of the space to the sun and breeze by growing right back in.  Under some circumstances, I'd swear the regrowth begins in the space of a day or less.

Lately the mornings have not been particularly cool and the humidity is punishing. The hours I've spent weeding and pruning and digging out under the circumstances are what I consider "hard labor".  I'm quite pleased with the results but fear they won't last long, so up go these photos as a record of the work done so far.

Two BEFORE views.  There are an equal number of weeds and self seeded garden plants at play.

As you see, these portions are half cleared.  As is so often the case I nearly forgot to take a "before" shot at all!

And now the AFTER shot.  Reasonably pristine and for all its brevity, a thing of beauty:
The side and far back paths still need work but they remain in shade a greater portion of the day and so are easier to address.  I'll spend 90 minutes each morning there until I finish, while entertaining the hope a majority of the weeds have called it quits for the summer. (I know - that is a ridiculous presumption but I need to pretend or I'm afraid I'll simply throw in the trowel!).

Why bother to show such nuts and bolts, potentially boring photographs of something as simple as a cleared path?  Because I feel many blogs are often filled with spectacular photos of garden successes alone, presenting a deceptive idea of what it takes to garden.  Some blogs remind me a bit of Disney properties, where teams of clean up crews appear from underground tunnels, do their work out of the sight of the public, and then disappear again leaving behind the impression the grounds have somehow maintained themselves.
I am here to say it outright.  These spaces do not maintain themselves! For most of us there are certainly no tunnels, and potentially no "teams". There are only our own hours to spend and our willingness to do the work, whatever it is, when it is pleasant to do so, and as importantly, when it is not.

In the meantime, I'm focusing on the parts of the path already cleared, and enjoying the view for as long as I can.  Weeded! Trimmed! Just like a real garden....


Tina said...

Real garden indeed! I love garden writers/photographers with their pristine universe! As if those gardens spring up from magic fairy dust. Phooey! I've thought that much garden writing(in blog form and/or with books) is often a disservice to the average home gardener because the photos and information don't delve into what really makes the garden: the gardener and his/her efforts. Gardening is hard work. Whether you're doing it yourself, like you do, or hiring a team, it takes effort--blood, sweat and tears. Thank you for reminding this blogger to show the dirty part of gardening--the mistakes, the overgrown this or the covered up that, and the bare spots because something didn't work. Those lessons are important. Oh yeah--drink lots of fluids while you're working!!

TexasDeb said...

Tina: Staying hydrated is really important, isn't it? I suffer every time I forget that lesson and vow, "Never again!". The Hub and I are good at coaxing each other to take a water break, often bringing a glass out to whichever of us is being recalcitrant to stop. Some of the time we just get so focused on FINISHING.

I've also noticed when I get to a certain level of overheated thirst? I get stupid and often make mistakes that lead to plant mishaps and/or minor gardener injuries. This last go-round I might have, MAYBE cut through an important sprinkler system wire with my shovel. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

Tina said...

Yup--been there, done that. Or similar. It's been so hot and humid--argh!! October, where are you????

Linda/patchwork said...

Good job.

Maybe it will inspire me to clean up the veggie garden, before it gets even more overwhelming.

Good to remember those water breaks.

TexasDeb said...

Linda: I read there is a bit of cooler and potentially wetter weather heading our way. Perhaps that will give us both the break we need to get out and finish the clean ups around our garden spaces?

(and maybe your veggies need help but the rest of your spaces sure look good!)

Rebecca Newcomb said...

Ah, the necessary evil of weeding. A constant in the garden. It is a time of year when it not particularly enjoyable to be in the garden due to the heat and humidity, however, the weeds have been growing like crazy with the rain and warmth of this summer, so we must get out there to get the job done since the garden isn't going to weed itself (but that would be nice, wouldn't it?). I guess the silver lining is still having that sense of accomplishment after cleaning up an area - kind of like cleaning a house...you don't really like the process, but the finished product makes the effort worth it.

TexasDeb said...

Rebecca: You and I see eye to eye on this and yet...and yet.... I do wish the results of my efforts lasted a little longer. I'm already seeing one particularly deep rooted nut grass clump re-emerging despite my best efforts to dig it out (which might explain "how" the sprinkler wiring got interrupted...).

Travis Heights Garden Mama said...

It's a Sisyphean task, but it looks great! Weeding and yard care can be very Zen-therapeutic when I'm in the right mindset (and stay hydrated). Other times it's really satisfying to be able to change how the garden looks so quickly. We can't will our plants to grow faster, but we can clean them up fast!

texasdeb said...

THGMomma: You are right - the results of a newly cleared path or weeded garden bed can be very gratifying certainly "instant" impact compared to waiting for plants to mature or bloom. I'm not quite finished - still have a couple of spots to clear on the back path not shown here and there's already nut grass showing back up in the main path!