The Little Sunflower That Won’t: A Lesson In Gardening & Aging Gracefully [I Suppose]

I’m not known for being the most patient gardener.

Zen-Den is aware of this.

He often warns new plants in the garden that they’d better get with it *pronto* or that they’ll be pulled out, tossed aside, and added to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

This little sunflower should be on that list by now, having been given 6 weeks [six weeks!] to show its inclination to grow tall– say, for instance, 4 feet tall as promised on its little garden nursery tag.

But no, this particular little sunflower, that looks a great deal more like a basic Black-eyed Susan than a fancy Sunfinity Sunflower, is blooming but not growing tall– the specific reason I put it where it is.

I’m flummoxed because I like the little yellow sunflower.

It’s pretty, but its lack of vertical spunk, as shown by its refusal to grow tall has left me in a quandary.  Usually by now I would’ve pulled the flower out of the garden line-up.

Adding it to The List Of Plants That Make Ally Bean Snarl.

However, I must be getting soft in my old age because I’ve allowed this little sunflower to stay where it is, deluded by the hope, sans evidence, that it’ll have a growth spurt.

Where is my snarl? Who have I become?

And more to the point, do I like this mellow iteration of Ally Bean the Gardener?  Have I *somehow* transformed into a patient Mother Earth sort of person, guiding the world to gardening goodness?

Or is this just another sign of the kind of indifference that suggests old age and decrepitude?  To a garden filled with overgrown or undergrown [a word?] plants and weeds, a garden untended because it’s too work-y to take care of it.

I dunno.

No answers here.  Just questions today.

Plodding Like A Turtle, Staycating Like A Bean

Turtle, name unknown, taking an afternoon constitutional around the terrace.

• • •

I SAW THIS TURTLE FRIEND WALKING along the top of the stone wall that forms one side of our lower terrace.  

I was up on the deck and looked down on him, so I leisurely went inside the house to get my camera.

One fact about turtles, they cannot outrun me.

I went down the deck steps to get to his level, then snapped a few photos of him.  He made no attempt to hide from me, proving that I am the most benign creature on earth.

Can’t even scare a turtle.

Me.

• • •

WE’LL BE ON STAYCATION NEXT WEEK, so instead of dithering away here I’ll be busy doing the Memorial Day things [plus a bit more] in the real world.

But most importantly, my gentle readers, what will you be doing while I’m not here? Hmmm?  This is what concerns me.

Thus might I suggest that you take this survey about blogging? Don’t let the word “older” stop you. It’s for anyone who keeps a blog.

So, you know, that would be you.

Right?

• • •

Don’t Harsh My Mellow, I’m Only Doing What Mom Taught Me To Do

Mom was a proponent of a good lollygag and fritter.

To be clear she accomplished things in her life, but she also took the time to not be focused on her To Do List, allowing herself to let go of the need to accomplish things all hours of the day.

To wit, yesterday afternoon her daughter, moi, was out running important errands when it dawned on moi that spring had finally arrived.

The sky was medium blue with gorgeous white clouds floating across the it.  The trees were sporting bright green leaves again.  The temps were in the 70s so that I was wearing capris + sandals.

Thus, channeling my mother + remembering her admonishment to lollygag and fritter, I decided to toss my To Do List aside and stop at Home Depot to wander aimlessly through their garden nursery department.

I half-filled a shopping cart with herbs and annuals.  Nothing exotic, just tasty and pretty plants.  Then I went to pay for them at the checkout counter where the sales clerk, dispensing with your traditional “hello,” asked me:

Are you having a productive day?

And you know what, my gentle readers?  Her question about productivity, asked in that moment, peeved me in a way that surprised me.

She was, I believe, harshing my mellow.

Was I not, I ask you, paying tribute to my mother’s memory by lollygaging and frittering in the garden nursery department, not bothering a soul with my mellowness?

Why yes, Ally Bean, you were paying tribute to your mother’s memory by doing that which she taught you to do.

However, putting my snitification aside, I also believe that, knowing Mom’s sense of humor, she was laughing from heaven above about my irritation over a small thing in life on earth.

Yep, she was probably lollygaging and frittering on a beautiful white fluffy cloud– like the ones I could see floating overhead while I mumbled something to the sales clerk about being productive enough… for today.

Thoughts About Drab Days On A Drab Day In February

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When people talk about how much they hate winters around here, it often has less to do with the snow + ice, and more to do with the lack of bright natural light and showy colors, as shown in the photo above.

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Even the trees around here, who reveal more of themselves in the winter, don’t seem cheerful– making the little boxwood bushes, who do the color green like nobody’s business, seem almost frivolous.

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Of course interspersed with the low-light days we get a day like last Thursday.  A day with the sun shining brightly in the clear blue sky.  A day made for looking up through leafless, snowless tree branches.  A day for contrast.

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But then we’re back to a landscape filled with muted, tea-stained colors– that offer a quiet beauty that appeals to some people, like me, but depresses the heck out of others.

In The Depths Of Winter, What Will It Be? Bloom Or Sparkle?

They say you should bloom where you’re planted.

However, sometimes that’s not possible.

When that happens I’d like to suggest that you should sparkle where you land.

Especially when all you have around you is snow.

Happy weekend, everyone. Bloom if you can, sparkle if you must.

❄️ 🌻 ❄️ 🌻 ❄️

A Klutz Rakes Leaves: The Battle Of The Mantras

Out raking the leaves.

Half an acre lot sloping down into a ravine with a creek.

Maybe about 28 trees on it.

[Never doubt that trees beget leaves.] 

Getting tired. Getting bored.

Mind starts to offer mantras.

“I think I can… I think I can…”

Childhood wisdom gleaned from reading.

“When in doubt, don’t.”

Adult wisdom imparted by yoga teacher.

“Yes we can.”

Political slogan, uplifting.

“Be careful.”

Mom, always.

Then the deciding factor.

While raking on the hillside, giving it my all, I slipped and fell on my backside.

Just. Like. That.

Nothing hurt. Not even my ego.

I’m a klutz* after all.

But suddenly the angels sang and I knew which mantra to follow.

DID I KEEP GOING INSPIRED TO OVERCOME or DID I MAKE A STRATEGIC RETREAT?

Discuss.

* Previously documented examples of my klutziness: 1) fell on face while carrying donation into Goodwill;  2) thrown off Segway while moving through cemetery;  and 3) during house party dropped ottoman on toe breaking toenail.

The Last Roses Of The Season With A Hint Of Shakespeare

“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

~ Romeo and Juliet

• + • + •

The other morning I gave the shrub roses their last trim of the season.  Even though the calendar says it’s fall, these bushes are officially ready for winter.

Most of the roses were faded and falling apart, but a few flowers were still buds or starting to bloom.

I saved the healthy stragglers, putting them together in a casual bouquet in a vase on the kitchen counter.

Later I noticed that the sun, shining through the window, made the water sparkle and the colors pop, leaving me with one last glimpse of summer’s beauty, while waiting for winter to arrive.

• + • + •

“Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.”

~ Love’s Labor’s Lost