Marty’s Gardening Journal, September 28th, 2009

A shrunken lawnFor two weeks I have enjoyed the landscape around me. Fall bloomers, such as the asters and toad lilies are beckoning bees and butterflies to come and partake in the bounty of flowers. One of the small frogs from the little pond has moved up to bigger digs, the large pond. When I was busy getting rid of some of the yellow flag iris in the pond, it quietly sat within inches of me. Apparently it doesn’t seem to be bothered by foot long koi in the pond either while going for a swim and it if decides to overwinter in the pond it sure has enough spaces to hide.

My three guppies in the new water feature know when it is feeding time and congregate in the same spot at the same time each day for their share of flakes. So far I have not detected any mosquito larvae and the various plants in the pond keep the water clean. Prior to going on a moonlight tour of a number of ponds in a neighboring county, I had a chance to check out a wonderful store filled with pond supplies and many other nice things. Floating around the many plants to be sold was a layer of duckweed, a small aquatic plant. I asked if I could take a scoop of these tiny plants and they provided me with a cup and sturdy plastic bag. At home, I put the plants in the new pond, where they now provide the guppies with additional hiding places. The plants in turn remove organic nutrients from the water, allowing them to grow exponentially. Goldfish and koi love feeding on duckweed and as these plants grow and multiply, I will be able to take handfuls from one pond to the next and provide the koi with a green treat.

After eliminating grass and replacing it with bumped out flower beds, I find myself taking ownership of what remains of the lawn. I mow it; I fed it the fall feeding for good root growth and even watered it when it was dry. I see the opportunity for another little bump out of flower bed in the future, but for now I actually enjoy the green surrounding colorful beds. Because of all the rain this spring and summer, the grass has for the most part remained lush and green. A few bare spots were filled in with dug up grass that otherwise would have been discarded, and that filled in nicely too. It takes no more than 15 minutes to mow this patch of green, and pushing the old fashioned reel mower gives me just that little bit of exercise I otherwise wouldn’t get. The only lawn smaller than ours, would have been the lawn at the house in Holland where I was born and grew up. Just about the size of a postage stamp (well, maybe 10 by 10 feet) it took you almost longer to bring the mower from the shed in the back of the house to the front lawn, than to actually mow it. A few passes this way, a few passes that way, and it was done. Edging however, done on hands and knees with grass shears took a lot longer. Neither my sister nor I were keen on that particular job, although we did it because we had to. Before I married The Spouse I told him I didn’t do windows or ironing, which was fine with him. Add to that list, edging. The Spouse remains firmly in charge of that job and while you won’t see him on hands and knees in the grass, he follows me in the non-electric mold with a long handled swivel grass shears by Fiskars.  Whatever gets that job done, as long as it isn’t done by me!

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