Other post title contenders were:
Farenheit 102--The Temperature At Which My Plants Die
Never Leave The Garden in August
I'm Doing This On Purpose To Create Awareness for Global Warming
Son of a B***H
I've been up north for about the last week visiting the family, but even though I had a great time (another post), I am angry, upset, and generally cheesed at how my garden looks. Maybe this is usual, but keep in mind I'm new at this--you can read dozens of garden how to books, garden theorists, landscape architects, poems, and memoirs, and get no helpful information whatsoever on how to suffer less the world you make. Particularly when the only way you can fall asleep each night is to think about plant placement, plants you want, what to deadhead tomorrow....
By the below pics you can see one of many large cracks in my clay soil--it hasn't rained for a month now after a terribly wet spring. Some cracks lead right up to root balls of April-planted shrubs. Speaking of which, eight shrubs look just awful, including the various dogwoods. Let's take a brief tour (ignoring the 'Autumn Blaze' maple which has turned brown, the 'Prairie Cascade' willow turning yellow, and the three river birch trees all of which are at least 2/3 defoliated--clearly, I have no idea how to water in my clay soil: it's either too much, or not enough. Either way, the stuff goes into shock. Shoot, I clearly have no idea how to garden).
This is where the Lincoln, Nebraska tectonic plate meets the York, Nebraska tectonic plate.
Whoops. There's that maple, green only a week ago (and watering it deeply last night, it sure seemed not so eager to suck up the water). I swear the grass was green, too, but who knows.... If I were planning on living here forever I'd let it die.
Look! 'Tis a viburnum 'Winterthur.' Let's observe this beauty even more closely.
I love the variegation of this cultivar. It gives the garden that gothic look I'm going after in anticipation of Halloween. And I'm sure none of these plants will be stunted for next season. (You better know I'm sarcastic by now.)
When I left last Wednesday, after deeply watering everything, this tiny filipendula was green. Oh, wait, it still is! See that one leaf? Neat. It's not the only perennial that looks like this.
And I've got less than four weeks to produce a workable draft of my gardening / environmental memoir for my dissertation committee to peruse this fall, plus two brand-spanking-new courses to design for the first day of fall semester on August 25. I think this term I'll just wing it. Seriously. Sometimes the best classes are the ones you prepare the least for, remaining open to the needs of the class and individual students, vs. trying to stick to your preconcieved ideas of what must absolutely get done and in what way.
But how will I ever have both my dissertations done by late winter? And how do I grade papers and essays and stories and poems (which take up precious writing / editing time)? Perhaps I'll be one of those free-thinking folks who believes you can't grade creative effort, and just assign smiley faces and stickers. No. Students expect grades--it's how they validate their lives as students and divine beings. Student X: "How can you even give grades on personal expression, for art?" Student Y: "Why don't we get letter grades for our assignments? How do I know what I'm doing is ok or not?" Teacher Me: "You both get a 'C' and a smiley face plus a gold star sticker." And I love teaching. But I also love writing. And sleeping. And having lunch. And whining. And ending this post.