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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Photographic Memory

Going outside with my camera is a more frequent occurrence than going out to weed or water either one.  Bottom line, taking and even editing photographs is simply a lot more enjoyable than hauling watering cans or yanking weeds. Both watering and weeding are important precursors to having anything worth taking photographs of, naturally.  With a sketchy memory like mine, having photographs on hand as reminders of the potential rewards sure comes in handy as motivation.

If one day I am scratching my head and wondering, hmmmm....how long did it take to get from hauling water to baby along the plants shown here...
Bluebonnets! March 10, 2014
past here...

I cut these mature seed pods prior to predicted heavy rain (3 inches!).  May 3, 2014
to here?
Harvested bluebonnet seed futures May 18, 2014
I simply pull up the photos I've taken for the blog and check the dates.  Then when doing that triggers a desire to go back,
March 18, 2014
February 24, 2014
all the way back
February 18, 2014
to see how long it took to get from here...
February 14, 2014
to here?  Rinse, lather, repeat.
April 2, 2014
Occasionally, a before and after set helps remind me of lessons re-learned. Guess what happens when I stubbornly put a cheater pot out front filled with proven delicious-to-deer bloomers?
So pleased with myself for planning ahead, tra la! April 14, 2014
Sigh...Yup.  It might not occur the first night, it might not occur until after two or three nights, but the key takeaway is that The Munching always happens eventually and things ends badly.  For the plants, at least.  I'm supposing the deer was delighted.
I moved the pot out front May 1, 2014.  The morning of May 3rd it looked like this.  Bambi wins again!
Finally, when it comes to jobs that won't, simply can't, last as long as I'd like, such as weeding?  Oh such a thankless job, weeding.  Because I never get ahead, I can never stay ahead.  The seed bank accounts in my garden beds unfortunately represent multiple seasonal deposits.  One withdrawal barely makes a dent.

Rather than reaching for a flamethrower, I find looking at before and after shots encouraging.  A "You've done it once, you can do it again!" approach.  A reminder that these spaces look pretty good, given the chance to shine they way they were originally intended.  Because while this is everything I could hope for in a garden tableau...
April 19, 2014
unfortunately then it morphs into this....
Weedy weedy gone to seedy. May 18, 2014
and takes hours of stoop labor to get it back to this, again.
The reappearance of the ceramic shard mosaic mulch is fussy work but worth it.  The colors underneath the bench function as a reverse shadow all summer long.  May 19, 2014
Are all the weeds in this bed one hundred percent gone?  Ha! Not even close. I'll allow myself a generous accounting of ninety-nine percent gone, and know that if I can get back to this space every week or so for just a few minutes of work, I'll have the summer's worth of joy as my reward. That's a pretty fair trade.  And not if, but when I forget?  The photos will be right here to remind me.


Debra said...

The camera is great for documenting change for sure. What will you do with the bluebonnet seeds? Do they need stratification or some special treatment?

TexasDeb said...

I collected enough this year (the amount shown is about 1/3 of the total) that we will try several different strategies. I'll put some out early where I can baby it along to form rosettes to winter over. My husband wants to try some as starts in the greenhouse, and I will probably just scatter some in new areas in early Fall, to see what happens.

Tina said...

I'm just the opposite, Deb. I'd rather weed and mess in the garden than take photos. I'm just not a patient photographer and I find the number of poor quality photos frustrating. It's something I'm working on and plan to improve. However, I do wholeheartedly agree that taking photos is an excellent way to document change. I've also been amazed at what I see through the camera that I don't in 'real'life--I've begun to use the camera to help me with my garden problems. That said--Wow!! Lots of seeds! I'm impressed. Bummer about the meal Bambi enjoyed with your container plants. Sigh.

TexasDeb said...

Tina: And that is part of what makes this all so fascinating and fun - so many different approaches all working towards similar goals. I agree that once you pick up the camera you "see" differently - it is perhaps a matter of framing and focus - literally and figuratively?

Bambi is only doing what Bambi does. I was being stubborn in a particularly foolish way and know better. But still, grrrr! The plants I have out front now are not so tempting to The Munching.

Pam/Digging said...

I'm with you on the photographing, Deb, and like you I rely on my photos (old blog posts, actually) to appreciate progress. While I hate weeding, I do like to prune. That's where I find my "neat-freak" satisfaction.

TexasDeb said...

Pam: Ah - a fellow neat freak. It is a little harder for a controlling person such as moiself to let go and use natives - eapecially as they reseed - things can get very untidy. Pruning is much more satisfying isn't it? At least those results last a lot longer!

Cat said...

Ah, fellow neat freaks. I definitely like a tidy garden and pruning is a favorite. Husband calls me 'chop and drop.' Although, I would argue that I do eventually pick the piles up. Tina and I ran into each other at Shoal Creek Nursery last week and we talked photography a bit. I fell in love with photography through documenting my garden...maybe a new passion for you Deb?!

TexasDeb said...

Cat: I've always been the family shutterbug but never have pursued it "seriously". Could be time, could be... Chop and Drop - love it. My husband calls that "mulching in place" (because he mostly does NOT go back and pile up the piles).