Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Rules for Deep-watering
It hasn’t rained for awhile. A hot wind has blown in temps up to 100. Early morning quiet. Painters gone for the weekend - done tramping through flower beds and packing the soil for the moment. Foot traffic past the house low so solitude can be had while giving a long watering to plants.
Almost everyday I walk around the house to see what’s blooming, who’s thriving, who’s dying. I think I’m onto what’s happening. But not really. It’s a shallow engagement. I only note the ones that yell the loudest, like the poppy. No wonder it’s called Pop-py. We have one oriental Pop-py. Last year she gave one brilliant orange blossom. They don’t last long, you know. This year she went nuts and put out nine. You can’t help noticing or loving them for this brief 24 hour effort.
When you deep water you can’t drag or swing the hose behind you like a wrecking ball. You need to remember that if you pull it around the corner in a big hurry, you choke and break the peonies and ferns. So slow down and draw it carefully.
Deep-watering can’t be hurried – it takes time. You need a gentle stream that slowly fills the dry empty spaces in the soil. You need to be the big fairy godmother waving the water wand back and forth. Slow magic.
When you deep-water you may as well quit thinking about the 2011 Quicken Bill-pay program you mistakenly ordered for Windows when what you need is the Mac version. Put out of your head the emails arriving to your inbox. Even insistent ones can wait. Rather when you deep water, you should hit a pause button. And look. Look. You’ll be surprised. What you find will somehow water you, too.
I wouldn’t have noticed the following if I hadn’t slowly deep-watered on Saturday:
1. A tiny bird’s nest, perhaps a song sparrow’s, on the ground underneath the arbor vitae. Finely woven with Honeysuckle wool, grass, and small strips of blue plastic. Some unfortunate violence had torn it from its branch. Too bad.
2. A very feminine iris. I guess all irises are pretty girly. This one had the softest, ruffleiest white petals with edges dipped in lavender. She was one of a bunch of perennial transplants Anita found for free on Craig’s list in late April. We didn’t think it would bloom this year.
3. A Milbert’s Tortiseshell butterfly drifted past. I’d never seen one up close before. We’re planting for butterflies and hoping more come.
4. I noticed that the scarlet runner beans had come up but were ragged and missing large chunks of leaf. Something has been eating the crap out of them. I’m guessing slugs. We need to help them. The beans, not the slugs.
5. And finally, there, hiding in a Lady’s Mantle I saw a little marijuana plant. I think I know the origin. At least, I know how it got to our yard. When a friend moved away she gave us Lady’s Mantle from her garden and that’s where we found the first one last year down at the other end of the house by Mole’s End. Now this one, this year has the same companion. I’m not thinking our friend had anything intentional to do with this since her medical career would give her plenty of opportunity for, well, anyway. We’ll just keep it until she visits us in July and we have a chance to spin it for our amusement.
6. When you’re done watering. Rewind the hose so your mates don’t cuss you out.
I left the yard refreshed and a little more in love.