since we moved in one year ago, but there's still so much to do and share. This blog is about to get busy.
First, I have a small confession to make. I recently read an article in the New York Times about how the first generation of bloggers are becoming burnt out. While I don't really think that it applies to me, I'm sure that at least a few others out there can nod in agreement at my outrageous claim that Facebook and Twitter have sucked the soul out of blogging. Today it occurred to me that I spend far more time and energy posting and checking on Facebook than I do on writing and gardening in the first place. Each 'like', 'follow', retweet', 'comment' and 'share' lights up the pleasure centers of my brain and keeps me from doing the things that bring me real happiness. I'm not exaggerating either: Studies show that social media gives your brain the same response as money, sex and other temporary thrills - and it might even become a serious addiction problem.
My blog used to serve the same function as social media does now in my life, collecting all of my thoughts and details on my garden's transformation into joyfully written posts. The only difference is that with social media, sharing has become something of a mindless impulse lacking much effort and imagination. It used to be that if my garden was hit by a hard freeze overnight, I was sure to gleefully provide an exhaustive damage report on my blog the following day, complete with dreadful looking photos of melty and blackened plants and colorful descriptions. Back then I allocated lots of time to read and comment on the blogs of others, and there was no shortage of other blogs to turn to for a glimpse of what's going on in gardens elsewhere in the world. It's so much easier to just scroll through a Facebook feed than it is to visit my favorite blogs, but I'm missing out on all of the good stuff.
Now where was I? Oh yes. My garden.
Pay no attention to the ugly tan paint color or the caulk lines on the house, or the fact that we've painted the area around the door buttercream yellow and then abandoned the mission... we'll be painting over it all with a nice warm gray color this fall when the days are cooler! Instead, turn your attention to the lovely profusion of purple blooms on the Angelonia! I wasn't sure what to expect when I bought 'Angelface Blue' from my local nursery this summer, but it has knocked my socks off with constant flowers without any deadheading or irrigation. In winter my favorite annual is 'Snow Princess' Alyssum, but now I have a new standby for the warm season garden.
This afternoon was finally warm enough to take my son out for his first gardening lesson, so I set him up in the shade so that he could giggle and coo as I pulled chamberbitter weeds from all over the front yard garden. Listening to my baby's laughter in the garden today unexpectedly became one of the best memories of my life. Working from home with a baby makes it difficult to get much done outdoors, but the cooler temperatures mean that I can take him outside with me to work on projects and take photos for the blog.
The side yard is still a patch of weeds, but I plan on smothering them with cardboard and compost for a winter veggie garden. at the corner you can see the rain chain that I reviewed in my last post, along with the roselle bushes that I've been enjoying for a couple of weeks. In case you haven't tried them before, this hibiscus forms tart calyces that you can enjoy out of hand, in drinks or in jellies. I made a roselle and lemongrass tea last week but will have plenty of opportunities to try new recipes before they cease production for the year.
Beyond the roselle you can see that the back lawn is a work in progress. I've planted a hedge of native Simpson stoppers along the left and rear of the yard and have laid down cardboard to smother the weeds. The dog house left by the previous owner is almost disassembled too! At first I was going to work towards eliminating the back lawn, but then I decided that I'd better leave a nice square patch of lawn for my son... because every kid should experience the joy of napping on a bed of grass. I'm fortunate that my lawn doesn't require any fertilizer or irrigation, so I might as well enjoy it.
Last month I had a dying maple tree removed, but asked the tree surgeons leave four feet of trunk so that I could use it as a mount for bromeliads and other epiphytes. Change happens and you make the best of it... and then you write a blog post on how you pulled it off. Stay tuned, because I have lots of exciting things to share in the coming months.
I know that I'm a few seasons late for a new year's resolution, but I have to make this promise to myself so that I can stay passionate about the things that I love. It's simple, really. I will resist the temptation to check on my Klout score, re-pins, follows, likes, hits, book sales and links so that I can focus on doing the work that I love. Whenever I feel the urge to check my phone for my approval fix, I will turn to my notepad to write or sketch. If I feel the urge to blog about something that makes me happy, I will do so without worrying about how many hits or shares it will receive. If someone criticizes me or the garden that I love, I will kindly ignore their negativity and focus on the flowers. I will have faith in myself so that I can freely create and do what brings me happiness. And then I'll blog about it.