July 1, 2008
If you don't like the weather....get a garden
Gardening has changed my perspective in a number of ways, including my appreciation for "weather." If all I was concerned about was my own comfort, I might not ever want it to be anything other than warm, breezy and in the 70s.
Now that I am a gardener though, I really need a lot more "weather" to make things go my way. In the winter I want it to be really cold and snowy to kill bad insect larvae and protect the soil. If the winter is too warm I know the spring will be much more challenging.
For about the past week we've had crazy thunderstorms where it rains, and hard, every other day or so. This is not what we're used to in this part of the country in June, and normally I would be super cranky about a) carrying an umbrella everywhere b) making all of my "outdoor" plans tentative c) the damn humidity. But the garden is loving it AND I haven't had to water in more than a week. This means I can sleep just a little bit later in the mornings and that is really nice.
I feel like one of those super zen sorta folks who are just at peace with the world. When my friends complain about the weather I really only agree with a lame "yeah" so as not to draw attention to myself. The truth is, I think the rain is fine, so long as it doesn't turn cold or rain non stop. That would be bad. Sunshine and warmth with an occasional downpour is actually perfect right now.
I guess that's the other piece of it: I pay a lot more attention to the weather in general and some turns are really not good for the garden and I get annoyed. But again, it's no longer just about my own comfort anymore. The garden has changed how I think about "good" and "bad" days and given me more of a range to appreciate and that is fantastic.
Alright, enough of all that. I have two important flower updates:
1) I HAVE BEE BALM!!! Finally, after 3 years, I really have it (see top photo.) Interestingly, the bee balm I purchased, which is supposed to be purple/magenta (my true favorite) hasn't bloomed yet, but the red that my neighbors gave me -- after they heard how excited I was about it and, unfortunately, after I bought the other plant -- is going in full force.
2) A long time ago, just about when I first started to learn to garden, a friend came to visit and brought me a plant. After a while the blooms died and, in my former life, I definitely would have thrown it away once it started looking unhappy. With my newfound skills however, I decided to try to keep it alive. For three years I've been watering it and trying to make it happy, but it never bloomed again....until now!! I'm not entirely sure what I did right this time, but the plant is called Gloxinia, and is somehow related to the african violet. I now have, in my apartment, one beautiful, fuzzy, large, purple flower and about 3 or 4 more buds. I can hardly believe it's really happening.