I made good use of my day off and mowed the grass. The hardest part of using any bit of machinery seems to be cleaning the machine after use, and this mower, because it’s a mulcher that chops up the grass after it’s cut, seems to get “gunkier” than most. I never can clean all the grass gunk (for lack of a better word, and believe me, I’ve been on Google looking) off the underside of the mower. The second hardest part is emptying the grass catcher, mostly because it has to be done so frequently. This grass grows fast, and it is densely packed, so there is a lot of it. I’ve been using the ensuing mulch for mulch, so in some cases, I had to pull weeds before I dumped the clippings. The easiest part of mowing is . . . mowing. Though even that isn’t as easy as I’d hoped. Still, the whole project doesn’t take long, just a little more than an hour, so it’s not all that onerous.
After I finished with the grass, I watered the bushes and other plants that didn’t get a drink yesterday, then I planted hollyhocks. I have a lot of seeds grown from last year’s hollyhocks, and even though I planted them in the fall as my neighbor (who gifted me the original hollyhock seeds) suggested, none came up. A few minutes online gave me a different method — to soak the seeds overnight, then just lay them on the ground without covering them with dirt. Apparently, they need the light to germinate. So that’s what I did. I have plenty more seeds to experiment with if these don’t sprout.
When these tasks were finished, I roamed my pathways, looking for anything new, and I found some nice surprises.
The first rose of the season! I have never been able to find out what kind of roses these are. A rather lengthy bout of online searching didn’t produce any definitive results, though some people call this five-petaled flower a simple rose, a prairie rose, a shrub rose, a native rose, a wild rose, or any number of other names. All I know for sure is that it is some type of rose.
This allium grew among the lilacs. I didn’t even know it was there since it had never bloomed before. It’s so pretty with the purple allium, the green leaves, and the white lilacs.
The honeysuckle is in bloom, too. This honeysuckle is an old one and has been here for many years, perhaps even decades. It’s a bush, not a vine as many honeysuckles are, including a few I planted a couple of years ago.
I was also surprised to see an iris blooming. Before the fence was built, I’d tried to transplant some of the irises that would be caged between my fence and the neighbor’s garage, but most of those transplants seem to have died. This is the first time an iris I planted actually flowered.
The only unpleasant surprise was a pile of dirt off to the side of one of my paths. I thought I’d somehow shoveled dirt onto the path when I dug up some weeds, but when I started to push the dirt back where it came from, I discovered the real culprit of the dastardly deed. Ants!! Red fire ants are building a home. Considering how vicious the bites are from those ants, I’m lucky I managed to remain bite-free. If they continue to deconstruct my landscaping, I’ll have to do something about them, but I really don’t want to. I’m one of those people who literally won’t hurt a fly, or any creature, for that matter, but I make an exception for any that hurt me.
Luckily, my surprises were mostly pleasant ones.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.