THE RELUCTANT GARDENER — June 2024

By Mary Overly Davis

It’s Mother’s Day and I just finished one of my favorite gardening activities—burning the brush! The Winter season’s sticks and twigs were hogging my precious gorilla cart, the air had an Autumn chill, and the winds were quiet. It was a perfect day to light my fire pit.

Next up will be re-seeding large swaths of my yard. Toward that end, I purchased a new garden tool. I’m a firm believer that to make things in life more comfortable, and more stylish, it comes down to the shoe. So I bought a pair of aerator shoes! I cannot wait to strap them on and get out there to puncture the yard with thousands of little holes into which I will sprinkle grass seed. Hopefully the seed will have a better chance of survival than resting sedentary atop a hardpack chunk of dirt.

Upon you reading this on the first week of June, I can only hope everyone has recovered from the onslaught of Spring. It is vibrant and raucous. It’s not every day such beauty hits you in the face like a big pizza pie. And the noise! Birds have been clearing their lungs in dawn’s early light. Peepers are chirping to the heavens during dusk. In between there is a cacophony of squawking geese on the pond and my dog’s incessant barking at them. There are six cute little fluffy brown goslings; their parade bookended by two loud shrieking parents steering them back and forth from one side to the other as my dog runs in circles at breakneck speed herding them toward the center. It’s quite a ruckus but the geese are surprisingly unfazed. To keep the budding family off my lawn I pounded in several stakes along the embankment. I then glued and nailed aluminum pie plates onto them, facing the pond. This is my feng shui solution to water fowl management. They are like shiny “STOP!” “Go Around!” signs.

The other topic that has been on my mind is “to deadhead or not to deadhead.” I’m not talking about whether or not to become a Grateful Dead groupie, but whether it’s pertinent to cut off spent hydrangea, lilac, and daffodil blossoms. As I’m getting older, this has become a philosophical issue—to get new growth you must cut out the old!  If it starts to look unseemly, just cut it off! Gardening can be so cruel.

Reluctant would love to hear from you. If you would like to share some garden matter, problem, or insight, etc., email the andesgazette@catskill.net. In the email subject line, be sure to write “The Reluctant Gardener” and she will do her best to weigh in.~