Archived Story

Nancy Wiersma: I really dig gardening

Published 8:25am Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today is Sunday, Aug. 23.

After my leisurely eaten breakfast and my very large cup – it really looks more like a bowl with handles – of tea, with sugar and milk, I sat at my dining room table contemplating what was on the agenda for today.

No projects in the making for George and me, not just right today anyhow.

I do want to get those bathouses done for myself and my friend Cathy Small and there is the matter of the concrete (sand mix Portland) birdbath I saw in an issue of Birds and Blooms extra wrapped up yet this year.

The plans come for the bathouse (Birds and Blooms extra July 2009 issue, page 28) and the birdbath (Garden Gate, October 2008 issue, page 24).

I went for a walkabout just to see what was going on out there in the garden.
Upon checking on my hummingbird feeders, I crouched down beneath one.

It was a good thing I did because I was smack-dab in the middle of a heated contest.
Flying about me were six to eight tiny halfpint baby hummingbirds.

Only the young “dots” can “bell the cat,” so to speak, and be so plucky, daring and audacious, or is it rash and reckless?

As I waited, crouching below the feeder, a diminutive female straggling behind her playmates landed on a perch only inches above my head.

I sat there, peering up at her, drinking in her beauty, thinking I’m safe behind my glasses, just in case she decides to zero in on me.

She is truly one of God’s glorious creatures.

Meanwhile, the squealing “herd” flew back around.

Squealing herself, she tore off after them.

I stopped and took note of the plentiful blooms on the Grandpa Ott morning glories.
My, how they ramble and cover everything in their paths.

The hibiscus, how large and perfect, no Japanese beetles to make “Swiss cheese” out of them.

I then spied a large, tawny-yellow slug, meandering about in the leafy mold under a holey hosta leaf, hiding there in the shadows.

Gazing down upon the slim unencumbered fellow, psychotically marching, I made my way back to the house, grabbing my shaker of salt.

I returned to the large mollusk and sprinkled salt – liberally – all over it. There, take that! And yet, how many remain, exempt, out there somewhere in my garden?

Did you know this? It seems slugs are coming into their own, to popularity, if you will.
Chosen to be the school mascot by the University of California at Santa Cruz. And being the object of several festivals and their images are posted on everything from T-shirts, postcards to even dolls.

Well, how about this? They are hemaphroditic (possessing both male and female sex organs), at only a few months old can lay hundreds of eggs a year, these eggs hatch in only three weeks and the cycle repeats.

These eggs are very tough being not very vulnerable to small predators, but they will dry up if not kept moist.

Extreme weather, either too hot or too cold causes them to stop laying eggs and go dormant. This condition they can tolerate for up to four years!

Want a great read, look up the book “A Garden’s Grace” by Nancy Hutchens.
Poems, recipes and plenty of great garden wisdom and lessons.

In her book in the beginning she talks of her mother dying of breast cancer and in my family, my great-grandmother Josephine died of breast cancer, leaving behind a husband and three daughters, ages 14, 11 (my grandmother Evie was only 11 when her mother passed away) and 8.

Did I take time out to laugh, to love, to think, to see, to pray?

These are the thoughts that cross my mind at the closing of each day.
— Tribby

Nancy Wiersma of Dowagiac writes a weekly column.

Editor's Picks