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.


lvo said...

I'd love to start a conversation about the merits of hose management, including a study on the gender specificity of the need for control and rewinding.

Maybe not.

Re the bird's nest: they are mostly done fledging, now, and then the nests usually do take a flyer because there are not little bird bodies holding it to its foundations. So bend over, pick it up, and give it to Honeysuckle to play with.

I can see you with the hose, unwound, gazing. I am inspired to go and do likewise.

Valerie Kamikubo said...

I love refreshing moments in the yard like this. Thanks for sharing yours. My husband laughs at me when I sometimes sit in a chair to deep watering, but I think that comfort is important at times like these when the mind wanders and the water runs.

Jill said...

My favorite part of the day... watering time. I know it's not best, but I've always been an evening waterer. After the day is done, sun is setting, cool breeze, all children in bed.

Why is it so hard to slow down? I think it's in our blood.

Your sister also had some marijuana growing in her front flower bed... hummm.

I've heard crushed egg shells put under hostas work well for keeping slugs away. Maybe try that?!

Girls picked lots of poppy seeds (they wrote pop-eye seeds on the bag;) and red scarlet runner beans last fall at mom's. Beans are up. Can't wait to see them against my brown house. Need a trellis still...

Margie Haack said...

Jill, surely not your mother?