A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

The Joy of Sunflowers

Can you remember the joy of raking leaves in the fall, just to fall into them. Watching the bulbs pop out of the ground in spring with bursts of color. The beauty of bare tree limbs reaching up against a grey sky. Or as a little child running amongst the giant sunflowers. The sunflowers in my grandmother’s garden were my favorites. Who could not enjoy a Chicago summer in the garden?

My grandmother had a passion for her garden when she was still able to work in it, but I almost did not follow her lead. Once in Houston, I found that cutting grass in our humid and hot summers quite a chore. There are times when I still feel it is a challenge, since I try to conserve water and not go overboard on trying to fill out the landscape with an abundance of plants to make it look nice. However, I have days like today, where the wind is cool. The last flower heads on the grasses sway in the breeze, and I catch a wiff of a fragrance from a flower on the vine a few yards way from my chair. I can read my book in serenity, so the work in making the garden has been worth it.

I await the spring, to see the narcissus that I have just planted. A warm front has encourage my Cuban iris to pop out. The crepe myrtle are a fading lace, while the flowers of the bougainvillea hold on for a last bright show outside of my office window. The birds appear to be making their way to other homes, so I will need to clean out the birdhouse soon, but some bees are hanging around my pepper plants, so my daughter and I can sit still watching them.

The harvest comes later in Houston, so I am just getting ready to harvest my taro, galanga, ginger, sunchokes, and peppers in mass. Other vegetables have already been pulled into the kitchen. I have already planted my young winter crops out into the beds. Mainly cabbages have been set out, as well as kale and chard. Plants for my German dishes. My asparagus is coming along, which is the first year I have had success with this plant on the Gulf Coast, so we will see if I can get some heads next year.

Since I made some great changes this year in my garden layout, I will be busy transplanting some plants to better locations. My garden has no set pattern, to my wife’s chagrin. I like to think of it as organized chaos that I can wander through.

I also need to find ways of making the space for my daughter to play. The garden around her playhouse is filled with ferns and impatiens, but she wants places to sit. Maybe some log benches. Moreover, I have to find a place for my son and dog to go wild in. The dog seems to be determined to destroy some bushes by barreling through them. Foolish me for placing them in his path.

Well, I am going back to my book, or maybe I should just ponder upon that dirt.



1 Comment»

  John wrote @

Hi Frank,

I just planted my winter crops as well in the Phoenix area. Here the plants and vegetables thrive this time of the year through April. Its good to see you enjoy gardening as well. A good website on gardening is http://www.sunflowerocity.com/forums

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