Post-apocalyptic Gardening

You know what someone needs to invent? Grass that grows to a certain length and then stops to provide a lawn of perfectly trimmed and perfectly green beauty. I’d buy it.

One of my irises, with my lovely lawn in the background.
One of my irises, with my lovely lawn in the background.

Not that I hate mowing; I don’t, not really. That hour twice a week (one hour out front and another for the curb, side yard and back) is when I do a lot of my thinking. Sometimes I listen to audio books, which has the odd effect of assigning locational memory to portions of the yard. Elizabeth Bear owns the playground. The tower and swings bring to mind Undertow, Carnival and Dust. The underside of my deck, framed by pillars, belong to Michael Swanwick. The lions from The Dragons of Babel dwell under there. Will sometimes flies over the lawn, directly over Elizabeth Bear’s territory. The slope from the playground to the forest is Stross territory. All of the singularity books have rolled down there. The strip by the creek is Halting State and part of the driveway belongs to Rule 34.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. I listen to a lot of books while mowing the lawn and they’re mostly speculative—which is my approach to gardening, as well. As posted last fall, I’m what I call a Darwinian gardener. It’s all about what survives me and the elements. I’m not sure which is more harsh. Probably me. But my garden does survive from year to year and it does bring me a lot of joy.

I don't know where my black irises come from, but I love them.
I don’t know where my black irises come from, but I love them.

Early this spring, it resembled a graveyard. Lumps of dirt with twiggy bushes that could be homemade crosses or tumbleweeds blown up from Texas. It was a harsh winter. I actually wondered if Mother Nature had out done me and decimated my garden. Turned it into the post-apocalyptic environment I so often read about. It’s fun in fiction—not so much outside my front door. As an aside, when I mentioned my perfect lawn idea to Husband, he told me that that’s how the zombie apocalypse would get started—with the invention of a product that halted lawn growth. Apparently that would get into our water supply and tamper with our brains.

Anyway, as the days warmed, green things popped out of the soil and my garden stirred to life again. I was amazed. Now that my irises and lilies are actually blooming, I’m properly stunned.

The first lily.
The first lily.

I did go in and trim everything back. I dutifully weeded and I finally dug out the Mums that should have been dug out last year, sparse and woody things they’d become. So I have a couple of bare patches that need to be filled—with something other than another split lily or iris. I’m thinking daisies. Daisy bushes are lovely and big and the flowers very pretty. But I don’t know if they’ll survive the winter. I could look it up. I could research a plant that lives from year to year, but then I wouldn’t have the fun of digging out a dead carcass next spring.

Yeah, I did say fun.

Back to the lawn. It’s been raining on and off for close to a month now and the grass that looked dead at the beginning of April, no matter how many stories tracked through, is now so lush and green, I’ve been walking around with my nose in the air. Who has the prettiest lawn on the street? I do. Absolutely. I also have to mow it more often, though, as it won’t look pretty for long if I neglect it.

The herb garden. We put flowers in the front. Not sure what that purple thing is.
The herb garden. We put flowers in the front. Not sure what that purple thing is.

Behind the house I have a herb garden. There is a carpet of cilantro across the patch at the moment. It’s a good thing we like cilantro. The thyme and oregano are well enough established that the newcomer has grown around them. And in the middle I have a hibiscus bush that is taller than I am. We planted that on a whim a couple of years ago and the thing won’t die. Not that I want it to? But it just seems so out of place in my northern yard. I am looking forward to it flowering. Under that I have a blueberry bush that produces one berry a year. I’ll try and get a picture of this year’s prize fruit.

Up on the deck we have our tomatoes and peppers in. I fenced them before the cats decided I have set up outdoor litter trays. Now I just have to remember to remind my daughter to water them regularly. We both tend to forget. We do get fruit, and quite a lot of it, but tomatoes that aren’t watered regularly tend to be ugly things. Striped and split.

And that’s my gardening report (ramble) for this spring. I’ll leave you with this picture (below) I found yesterday which inspired my imagination. I have two creeks in my yard, one at the edge of the forest and one at the edge of the property. None of them are as pretty or mysterious as this one. This one is all secret and I want to write a story about what’s going on in this crack in the earth. Maybe I’ll plot that one out next time I mow the lawn.

Moss Creek, Desert Island, Maine.
Moss Creek, Desert Island, Maine.

3 thoughts on “Post-apocalyptic Gardening

    • Kelly Jensen June 13, 2014 / 8:44 pm

      Thank you! The sun had just come out after the rain, so everything was all glowy. (Yes, that’s a word)

      • RSAGARCIA June 13, 2014 / 8:45 pm

        I know! That green grass was amazing!

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