Flowering Despite the Heat

This is a hard time for me to be doing any gardening. Although my lawn is a football field blend of grasses with Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, and red fescue — a mixture that is supposed to do well in heat and cold, sun and shade — it’s struggling. Even worse, the Bermuda grass that once covered the yard is poking its way through the thick grass and without some sort of intervention, will eventually take over. For now, I’m just pulling it up when I can. Later in the fall, when the temperature cools down, I’ll dig it up and reseed those areas, as well as any area that didn’t make it through the summer.

I can see why I never particularly wanted a lawn. It’s rather a pernickety plant that can break one’s heart. Still, I enjoy it more than it frustrates me, so I will keep it as nice as possible for as long as possible. I think the second year will be easier (the sod was laid mid-October, so it hasn’t been here a full year yet) because I will be able to see patterns of growth and stagnation, as well as what sort of weeds and weed grass to look out for.

Despite my frustration, struggling plants, and problems with weather, there are still many things to enjoy in the yard. Right now, it’s mostly daylilies and echinacea, but a sunflower or two are also flowering.

I suppose, despite the heat, I’d have to say I’m flowering, too, since I’m being more sociable than I have been the past couple of years. In fact, I haven’t had a completely “alone” day for a while, and don’t expect another one for the foreseeable future.

Luckily, yard and garden care are projects for the very early morning, so I’m available to accept invitations the rest of the time, and I’m less inclined to say “no” than I have been. (I suppose I should be still saying “no,” considering the rise of yet another virulent strain of The Bob, but like almost everyone else, I’ve gradually strayed from taking stringent precautions.)

If I sound a bit down, that’s understandable. It’s a full moon tonight, and I don’t sleep well around this time anymore, so I tend to let my less-than-ebullient nature get the better of me.

But tomorrow is another day, and if nothing else, there will be another flower of some sort.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Standing Still

For lack of a better topic, today I’m going to write about . . . me. That, of course, is a joke because all I ever write about is me, in one way or another. Writers are often told to write what we know, and pretty much all I know is me, at least to the extent that any of us know ourselves.

Oddly, I seem to be standing still, always in the same place, waiting for workers to come on Friday, waiting for my brakes to be fixed on Monday. I’m not sure what the problem is with the workers not showing up — probably the contractor, as always, is way behind, and so has no one to send over here. Getting the brakes fixed is a different story every week — either the part didn’t come in or the wrong part was sent or the mechanic is dealing with lingering “Bob” issues from his very bad bout with the virus or . . . something.

And so, once again, I am standing in that same place, where the workers are supposed to come on Friday and I’m supposed to take my car to the mechanic on Monday.

On the brighter side, one of my new day lilies has bloomed!

And one of my original daylilies has bloomed again.

Surprisingly, my cherry tomato plants are fruiting. I didn’t really expect to get any tomatoes; I just planted them because I could. There aren’t a whole lot, just a small handful every other day, which actually is perfect for me. Never having planted tomatoes of any kind before, I am amazed at how big the plants get! I might need to invest in tomato cages next year to keep them contained because stakes and string don’t really do the job.

Despite these small successes, I seem to be standing still in regards to my gardening, too, always planning for next year — what to try, what to do differently, how to battle the ever-encroaching weeds.

I suppose standing still isn’t so bad. At least I’m not running in place, wearing myself out, and getting nowhere.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God


When I was out watering my newly bedded day lilies, I noticed that most of the plants had a bit of green on them. If I had watered according to their directions — once a week — those things would have been fried in this heat. Out here, many things have to be watered every day in the middle of summer, though mostly I try to stick to every other day. Unfortunately, some plants die under that regimen, though fortunately others, even others of the same ilk, do well.

A couple of my cherry tomato plants seem to be dying, but a couple are doing so well that I was able to harvest a tomato off one of the plants.

I had to laugh at myself when I bought the plants — I spent more on those plants than I do on a year’s worth of tomatoes, and yet, it has been fun watching them grow. And the tomato I harvested and ate today was exceptionally delicious.

When the radishes were growing, I’d pick them while I was watering, wash them off, and eat them on the spot. I’ll probably do the same with the tomatoes. Now I just need to find other edibles that will also allow for grazing. I had considered a berry patch, but with all the birds around here, I’d probably never get a single berry unless I built a contraption to keep all flying creatures out and all berries in.

I did try to grow greengage plum trees, and one is doing well, while the other two will have to be replaced, but either way, it will be years before I get a single plum, and then there is the bird problem with those, too.

Well, it’s too late to plant anything else this summer and too early to plant anything for fall, so I have plenty of time to decide what I want to do.

Meantime, I’m looking forward to another tomato or two.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

There’s Always Something

We had big winds last night that blew leaves and twigs all over my yard, especially in the gravel areas and pathways. What seems strange to me, is that the winds always blow these things into my yard, but once here, they never get blown back out again. They just stay, which makes the ornamental rock around my garage and house look terribly unkempt.

The people who are laying down the rock told me I will have to get a leaf blower to keep the rocks clean, otherwise, the leaves decay and sink to the bottom of the graveled area, and will eventually destroy the weed-blocking fabric. I figured I’d have to blow the leaves off the rocks once a year or so, but the way things look, I’ll have to do it rather frequently. Also, to my surprise, plants do grow in the rocks, though supposedly, they are easy to pick out because of shallow roots, which is only partly true. Some are easy, but some are as difficult to remove as they would be from soil.

I always thought the purpose of xeriscaping at least part of a yard was to make it maintenance free, but as it turns out, I was wrong about that. Still, my main reason for the rocks around the house and garage was not easy maintenance so much as to protect the foundations, and the reason for the pathways was for my safety as I age. I don’t suppose I’d mind the work as much if it were my leaves and twigs settling in the yard, but they’re not. I don’t have any big trees any more. Mine were diseased, and had to be cut down. I will plant new trees, but it will be years before they would affect the xeriscaping areas of my yard.

Looking on the bright side, I get to buy a new tool! I’ll probably get a leaf blower that plugs in rather than a battery-operated one to make sure it’s not too heavy for me to carry around because there is a lot of area to cover.

Unless there is a way to redirect the wind to send the detritus back where it came from? I’ll work on that.

Meantime, the good news of the day is that the mechanic came to pick up my car so he could fix the brakes. Yay! I also enjoyed showing off my garage to the mechanic and his helper. It really is quite a wonderful building, and well organized, if I do say so myself, with metal shelves along one side, racks to hang long-handled tools on the other, and counters under the window for a work space.

More good news is that a daylily I planted a couple of years ago finally bloomed! I was surprised to see it was orange for some reason, perhaps because the other daylily, which did bloom last year, was yellow.

I’ve been checking out daylilies, and found a company that will sell untagged batches, so I wouldn’t know what I was getting. Sounds like fun! I discovered that it’s possible to plant them in the summer, so it would give me a more interesting project for the next few months than blowing leaves and twigs and such.

Good or not-so-good, there’s always something new, it seems, when it comes to landscaping and gardening.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.