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Oct. 9th, 2012

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Yes, I'm still gardening... though I'll admit I haven't actually stepped foot into the ankle-high grass that passes for our lawn for a while now, not since Julieanne and I picked ALL THE TOMATOES! a week or so ago. But it's time to get the place ready for the winter, so today I toddled out there armed with a spade and various sharp implements.

First, I relocated one of my two hostas to the southwest corner of the deck. It was in with the astilbe, but I suspect it was getting crowded out by those monsters, as it didn't bloom this year, whilst its mate in the northwest corner did bloom. So I carefully lifted it and transplanted it. It looks happier already.

Then I removed the tomato cages from the herb garden, uprooted the tomato plants, and chopped them up for mulch. I was surprised to discover that my mint had extended trailers all the way across the bed to the lavender. I guess that (probably apocryphal) English gardener wasn't kidding when he advised her ladyship, "Plant the mint and then stand back, madam." Definitely an invasive species!

Next, I tackled the hydrangea again, this time to give it more shape and take out some of the weird branches that were poking randomly through the top. Now it's got more of an umbrella shape, and is a wee bit shorter. I also had to take some new sucker-type growth from the main trunk, because it was interfering with the plants in the bed below.

Speaking of which, everything in that bed seems to be going into a second bloom period. The California poppies, the marigolds, the little purple things, even the big splashy pink things are all blooming again. And the poppies seem bigger this time around. That really surprised me; I didn't expect any of them to bloom again, but the poppies especially. I mean, it's right there in the name: California poppy. When I think "California," I think warm. (This despite the fact that the only part of California I've visited is San Francisco, the climate of which is strangely similar to my native clime, at least in summer.)

The cosmos are going crazy, too. I had no idea their bloom period lasted this long; I don't recall it being so long the last time I grew them. Though perhaps this is a different, hardier cultivar. They're ridiculously tall; I know they can get up to 6' in ideal conditions, but there's no danger of finding those here. Still, they're at least 4', which would make them taller than Julieanne.

Lastly, I had a go at the viburnums. They're simply too tall now, and Mom asked me to cut them down to size. I thought I could get at them from the deck (they're really too tall), but my grasp exceeded my reach in this case, and I ended up going below. Difficult, I will freely admit. Branches tangled in my hair (that's the last time I go in without a hat), and I got a bit of bark or something in my eye (ditto, safety glasses). But in the end, I prevailed. The viburnums are now considerably shorter, and I've even opened them up, so more sunlight will filter down. Hopefully, that will lead to less tangling of branches.

All of that took roughly two hours. I didn't attempt the Rosebush from Hell (TM), because that's going to be an all-day, all-out-war situation. I've got three days in a row off next week; at least one of those should be sunny, and pleasant enough to spend time in the garden.


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