My Summer Garden

Updated on July 29, 2017
Ivan Uys profile image

Came to the United States in 1962. First attended Rochester College in Rochester, MI. Graduated from Abilene Christian University, in 1966.

From the vantage of my office, I can see summer’s green and reflect on the pool’s struggle to maintain its depth against the hot sun’s evaporation. I, therefore, open the filler pipe and watch the gurgling welcome spewing a froth of cool. The relief is obvious as the chemical feeder seems to have more bob in its wake, making me realize that it is almost empty and needs, its ( forever more) tablets to stay back the onslaught of algae, summer’s other endless contribution. Please don’t think that I am complaining. The pool provides many happy moments, and the memories of past summers are seared into our hearts. No, there is no crying here, just observations for the rising phoenix of July and August in Texas.

Then, over there, just before you get to the retaining wall, there is a trellis. Last year it was covered with climbing roses. The photo of them in full bloom hangs in our dining room and tells the story of spring. It’s indescribable. Any attempt at putting words in the picture is to fade the white and spoil its depiction. They did, however, run their course, so this year we removed the roses, covered the lattice with wire and planted vining jasmine instead. Its progress is promising, and its white blooms are reminiscent of those glory days of white roses.

Between the trellis and the gazebo are the other roses. They are a constant! Blood red, with almost black edges, yellow, orange, lilac, and white. It’s taken me all these years (76) to get back to my roots, as it were. (Yes, of course, the pun is intended). I recall my grandfather’s garden, which I cannot even begin to replicate. Last week I went out and bought two bags of manure. Right along with those bags, I was dragging memories, which, however, I cursed, because I suffer from amnesia concerning all the great things he did, while I remember the blisters I made. As a result, I make “rookie” mistakes. When and how do I cut my roses? When and how do I fertilize? What is the best way to get rid of dead and withered buds? And then there are the thorns! Oh, damn! Am I bleeding again? “Granddad, how did you do it? Why did you never bleed, and then the weeds! I can’t remember you ever pulling weeds, and there never seemed to be any? Sorry I did not pay more attention.”

Unlike my Grandfather, my dad made us work in the garden almost every day, but especially on Saturdays. Back in South Africa, the type of “tilling” we did was with a spade, where you just cut off the top of weeds. We called it “skoffelling.” Blisters formed and along with the tedium of day long labor created a hatred for gardening, which has subsided now, but where it is almost too late for me to be an effective gardener.

In front of the Gazebo, leading towards the pool, are some flagstones. On either side, we have pots filled with pink hibiscus. Then there are butterfly bushes attempting attraction, as is their nature. Yes, I have seen monarchs, queens, and sulfurs, but so far, just a whisper.

The purple blooms of the vitex tree, along with the pink and white blossoms of the crepe myrtles enhance the picture, making summer welcome in this garden. Yes, it’s hot, yes there are mosquitos, but along with the butterflies, there are hummingbirds, a brown thrasher, mocking birds, cardinals, blue jays, and robins. Bees and wasps play their role, and along with the feral cats, the occasional raccoon, verge their way around the pool. What can beat it? Certainly not winter’s cold and jagged edges!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

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