Tuesday, May 15, 2018


The Divas of the Dirt rewrote the lyrics of an old song to “It’s a long, long time from June to November” – yes, that’s how long it had been since the last time we gardened together. Travel plans, work schedules and health issues had the Divas scrambling to find doable dates.
Sugar could not come and Sophia was coughing and confined to bed so Annie, Karla, Buffy, Mindy and Glinda wielded their tools at Mattie’s house on a fine, warm fall day.

There was no specific project but general pruning, tidying and getting ready for what we in Austin call “Winter”. We spent some time just looking around the garden, seeing what was in bloom and deciding where to start. The front rose bed needed clean-up but that didn’t stop Mattie and Mindy from admiring the roses.

We tried to identify tree saplings planted by birds, wind and squirrels. This tree was growing quite nicely but what kind is it? My guess was some kind of ash - maybe an Arizona ash if they were still being planted when Mattie’s subdivision was built. What do you think?

Mattie had a problem with this variegated pittosporum. It seemed to have grown an awful lot since our last visit. Aha! See those solid green leaves at upper left? The variegated boughs of the pittosporum were relatively well-behaved but some solid-leaved trunks were growing from the rootstock. They’re not well-behaved and were crowding the part Mattie wants.

We Divas own some serious loppers and we know how to use them – once the rogues were cut out, the rest of the shrub looked darned good.

Buffy tackled the big boxwood with hedge clippers but I didn’t catch a photo, darn it.

Lantana is a great, drought tolerant, colorful plant – but it’s also a thug! Divas Annie and Mattie placed this bed next in line for taming.

This rosemary was out-of-bounds, smothering everything else in the bed. Although it looks green in the photo, the green needles were only a shell on the outside. The interior was all brown stems and needles. Unfortunately it was no longer worth keeping.

The adorable Fredric enjoyed visiting canine friends Barbie and Jeffy but he didn’t like being in the house away from the humans. It was very hard to resist that little face but it is safer to keep the pets inside unless we’re working behind the fence.

We’d already done a lot by that point – time to drop the tools and take a break.

Coming into the dining room we admired the absolutely smashing flower arrangement that graced Mattie’s table.

The first course was an elegant Butternut squash and shrimp soup with toppings of coconut, lime and cilantro. Everyone relaxed and we began to talk about every subject under the sun.

The counter was covered with an expansive array of goodies. Take a closer look.

Salsa, chips, guacamole, pretzel rolls and a big green salad.

Chicken salad, olives, herbed cheese, pickles, Gouda-pimento (!!) cheese and crackers.

Then a super-good apple cobbler with ice cream and welcome cups of coffee.

We’d had a few odd encounters with Nature during the day, including what may have been Palmetto bug nymphs jumping out and running around on the Divas who attacked the rosemary. For the Divas working on the pittosporum there were nicely hidden piles of poop donated by the neighbors’ cat. We made it through these minor irritants and decided we’d left Mattie’s house looking good.
The next day Mattie took a photo and sent it to us – yes, looking good! 

This post, 2017 – NOVEMBER  MATTIE’S GARDEN DAY, was written by Annie in Austin/Diva Glinda for the Divas of the Dirt blog.

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