If my weekends were paintings, they would be titled “Still Life With Yard Work.”

Not so bad today. Got the big butterfly bush and the strawberry tree in the ground (well behaved non-natives) and the southern bush honeysuckle (hardy native.) If the bush honeysuckle establishes well, I’ll pick up two more and fill in the side bed with it. The side bed has been a tough nut to crack–I plant in waves, stuff dies in waves. But I’ll get it yet! People ask why I don’t take photos of the garden–the reason is that at the moment, it’s not at all pretty. This is the Year Of Experimentation, which means a lot of solitary plantings, expanses of bare dirt, and occasional thickets of weeds and the not-yet-ripped-out corpses of Those Who Didn’t Make It. It is not a pretty sight. Next year, once I know what likes to live where and fill in the spaces with known survivors, and some of the perennials get established, it’ll hopefully look like something worth photographing, but at the moment, it’s like a dreadfully scribbly sketch of a garden.

On the bright side, the Florida anise (native) is goin’ hog wild in the back, and we’re starting to see berries on the dogwoods and the cherry laurel. My potted calamondin orange, after a grumpy start (transplant shock) decided that it has never been happier in its life and threw up a barrage of new growth, followed immediately by flowers. The scent of an orange blossom, particularly at the dragging end of summer, is a small moment of glory in a garden that is mostly thinking of going to seed. I’m generally letting it go, since it’s a wildlife garden, after all, and the seeds are most of the attraction for the birds, but the raggedness makes me sigh a bit. Still, you can’t have it both ways, and the goldfinches are more important than my secret longing to look like something out of a garden magazine.

But at least there are orange blossoms.

The mums are doing well, though, including the ones rescued from next door, and the black-eyed susans are still kickin’ butt. Next year, more black-eyed susans! They just have to be sprayed with deer repellant while they’re young and tender. (Although they’ll probably establish all on their own–they’re spreaders, which I am currently glad of.)

I long for the kind of vast thicket of flowers that exists next door. Oh, well, given time–she was there for twenty years, and I’m working practically from the ground up in front. It’ll get there…

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