Thursday, August 10, 2006

Things Work Out

I've been faced lately with some bad news about my family's health. So while I digest that and struggle internally, I'm just going to talk about garden stuff, and keep my mind outside.

The gardens and their accoutrements have been amazing me lately. The coneflowers and brown eyed susans have been riotous. I have been worrying over some of the beds which don't have much in bloom, and finally realized that I need to put the aforementioned color bursts into those beds. I did a number of splits and transplants. The great thing about these natives is that they tend to reproduce pretty well. Splitting is a little rougher, but it's something I need to work on anyway. It was a bit of a bad time to be doing transplants. The heat was awful and we were in quite a dry spell. I had to water the little guys every morning and evening to keep them from wilting terribly. The amazing thing is that I never had to turn on our water faucet. I deep watered the transplants for a week with only water from the rain barrels. Just when I'd run out, we had a brief but steady cloudburst. Beo hooked up the rain barrels so perfectly that even a small
rain collects a good amount of water. It felt amazing to be able to do all that watering guilt free.

I made a decision earlier on this summer to stop pulling out every errant sunflower that popped up around the birdfeeder. That turned out to be a good decision. We have deleriously happy little goldfinches eating free sunflower seeds on free birdflowers. One little sprout that I left grew into a 4 foot sunflower and nods it's big yellow head right outside our living room window. We had a number of sunny finches visit this flower, and amazingly they would let the kids get right up next to the window, and watch as the finch fed upside-down on the flower.

The prairie we installed has filled out with ox-eye sunflowers gone wild. (Pun intended.) Today I found two monarch caterpillars feasting on our butterfly weed. I know they should be on the milkweed, which we've left in plenty in the yard, but after trying to identify a look-alike, I am still pretty sure they're monarchs. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm still contemplating taking one of the little buggers in and seeing if it won't perform it's miracle in front of the kiddo's eyes. Regardless of what kind of 'pillar they are, it's neat to see things that belong in the wild in our gardens. It's been a bit of a rough road getting everything up and running, but it's all working out, and definitely paying off.


e4 said...

Rain barrels are awesome. I keep looking for an article I read a while back about a little eco-filtration system, where the water came off the downspout into a small container with aquatic plants and fish, and then flowed into a larger storage container.

I've been a bit lax on the garden aesthetics this year. Hopefully I can devote a little more to a nice perennial garden next year.

Best wishes for your family health. I know how hard it can be. My dad had a heart attack and my mom had lung cancer. Both are in good health now, amazingly enough, though nobody would have believed it at the time.

Keep up the good work...

~Lori said...

I'll be thinking about you and your family Mia.

The coneflowers look so pretty there next to the barrels! I know what you mean about guilt-free watering, too.