Archive for October, 2010
A gloriously clear day after the first big rain of the season, and the garden calls. Where to start? I need to strike a balance between our enjoyment of beauty and the garden’s needs. The lavender still gives off its evocative scent, and its color is still purple, a gray-purple, like twilight clouds. But if I leave it much longer the stems will die off. Besides, more rain is due in a couple of days, so soon the soil will be too wet to walk on. The task has to be done today.
Even now, where to cut is a challenge. Snip too high, and each rounded bush will resemble a pincushion. Too low, below where a small gray-green pair of leaves has sprouted, and the stem will die anyway. I don’t have time to manicure each individual stem. I take a breath, grab a handful of stems, and cut.
A flotilla of coyote bush seeds sails by on the wind. Negotiating the balance between garden plantings and native vegetation on this stretch of the Mendocino Coast requires the patience and skill of a diplomat. Coyote bush was here first, and provides excellent forage for the small, seed-eating birds that flock here in the fall. Douglas fir grows here too, and Douglas iris, and blue-eyed grass. Again, a balance. The Douglas fir seedlings have to go if they are close to the house. Iris and blue-eyed grass get to stay. Coyote bush, the most prolific, I allow on the outskirts of the garden. But here where it would crowd out the lavender, no. I reach down and yank out babies from between the lavender bushes.