Friday, May 2, 2008

To each his own

I can't help but shake my head when I see people continuing to use toxic chemicals in their yard.
As I mowed the lawn today with my blessedly quiet reel mower, two houses down a neighbor pushed a more mainstream gas guzzler. (More head shaking)

I went on my merry way, well not so merry since the grass has grown quickly, which means more of a workout for me. Despite that, I still finished before neighbor, who also busted out a leaf blower that I swear was gas powered, too. (Head shaking accompanied by scrunched up nose)

Next I'm pulling crab grass that has pushed past the newspaper and mulch in the garden beds when I see neighbor now spraying his lawn. A large yellow container with a spray wand in hand signals what could only be some vile substance to kill weeds. (All out glare)

We haven't used anything stronger than vinegar in our yard and have been rewarded with a healthy lawn with only a handful of dandelions that just need plucking. Chemical warfare is not needed to combat weeds

Well, nothing calms me better than to look around the garden and see some progress. I can't take the credit, though. These plants have done it all on their own with very little, if any, help from me.

The rhododendron tucked under the bay window is beginning to bloom, well ahead of its peers in the back yard. I haven't learned how to identify rhodies since there are so many of them. We have four on our lot, typical in Washington, where the Coast Rhododendron is the state flower.

The Pearl Bush is blooming, drawing fat bees to it's sweet little flower clusters. I bought this plant the year we were married, completely swayed by its name, "Bride" Pearl Bush.

The hostas are also opening, and I'm pleased to see that the slugs have not yet attacked them. This could be an added bonus of the chip mulch. It may be too rough on their slimy undersides.
OK, my question of the day: Does anyone know if this is strictly ornamental kale? I think it should be since it's large leaves are on the rubbery side.


Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

What fun to finally get the chance to stop by and visit your garden again. I agree in theory with the "to each his own" title of your post. But when you live in an urban setting "his" becomes "yours" depending on which way the wind is blowing. I couldn't care less if my neighbor wants to poison himself and his whole family. But it does affect me if after he waters his lawn it all runs downhill into my yard. And it affects my critters when they walk through curb strips that have been sprayed with chemicals. Oh dear, I think I'm ranting. You shouldn't have gotten me started.

The Gardeness said...

Exactly Curmudgeon! The kicker is I don't think he actually lives there, I think he rents it out. So frustrating. Rant on!

Esther Montgomery said...


I used to grow Borage.

It's a frustrating plant though because it is doesn't grow tall and the flowers hang down so you have to kneel down and look upwards to appreciate them.

But they are extraordinarily beautiful.

Spray - spray from other people's garden can waft in and cause leaf scorch.

The council sends people to spray around the edge of our local park.

When that happens, I won't let the children back there to play until after it has rained.

But I'm interested in the vinegar. How do you use it in the garden?

I rarely use anything in the house for cleaning except for vinegar and baking powder - but what does it do in the garden?

I'm so pleased you read and enjoy ESTHER IN THE GARDEN

Esther Montgomery

Bonnie Story said...

Hello Seattle Gardeness! Thanks for commenting about those snakey ferns on my blog.

A neighbor told me that laying down a layer of mulch-topped very thick, moving-box weight cardboard atop these guys will polish them off, but may take over a year.

I enjoy the foliage from afar but when it's wet, it you try to walk past it, you get that ka-thwack of sopping wetness. So it's truly not a nice accent for a walkway like you said!

Great photography here, and enjoy the day! Bonnie

Petunia's Gardener said...

Hello again! I swear, you must be in a different place than me - you are a season ahead! I think our garden sits at a higher elevation and is still cooler. My only blooming borage is under the cloche. Rhodies aren't started yet.

You never know, your neighbor may some day see the other side or notice your nifty mower. It can be hard sharing space with so many different opinions.
I use the about boiling water leftover from making french press coffee or tea to slow down the weeds growing between my pavers on the walkway. I don't like using weed killer. Do you spray on vinegar full strength or diluted?

chey said...

I completely agree with your concerns.I am also surrounded by neighbours who apply chemicals throughout the season.For this reason I do not have a veggie garden, as I do not trust the runoff.You are setting a very good example for your neighbors! Perhaps one day they will follow your lead:).

Jan said...

Maybe your neighbor will learn from your example. I have a neighbor who used to spray pesticides and herbicides all the time. After seeing that I used nothing and my garden looked better than his, he gradually stopped. Now, he is one of the most vocal about not using chemicals.

Always Growing

No Rain said...

Ornamental kale is edible, just like the stuff in the stores. If the leaves are rubbery, it's because they are mature. I tried some ornamental kale this past winter (that's when we grow it here) and it wasn't bad, but then, kale has never been one of my favorite veggies.
Yesterday I went on a garden tour in Jerome, AZ and saw a beautiful collection of various hostas. They won't grow down here in the desert, so getting to see them was quite a treat.

Laura said...

You have a beautiful garden. I agree with your rant.(here's where mine starts) I hate seeing all of the chemicals people use on their lawn and gardens. I think its plain ignorance. They just dont know any better. I was happy to hear on earth day the the province of Ontario was starting a ban on pesticides, and Home Depot followed suit and is going pesticide free as of spring of 2009, and that one is across Canada! I think if the options out there are better, people will make the right choice! (rant over)