Last Gasps and Ginormous Spiders

September 29, 2010

No rain again today and the garden is starting to feel badly for it. I turn on all three hoses, laying the back yard hose by the first of three hydrangeas, connecting the side hose to the soaker hose in the vegetable garden and putting the front hose on one of the two hydrangeas. I did not know hydrangeas were such water hogs. I have already promised them I will do better next year.

I set a timer.

The turtle is now down to a lop-sided spit, as leaves and algae start to get the better of the pumps. The waterfall drips. The gurgler is the only thing still pumping full force and it effects the sound of the pond. Instead of a medley of splashes and tinkles, the only sound is almost that of a faucet splashing into a sink or tub. The melody is gone.

The peas have begun to sprout, barely showing new-green heads under the mulch of dry grass. The beans are tall and healthy. The tomatoes continue to ripen and the brussel sprouts confuse me. They are not yet large enough to harvest, but have been growing since May. I do see some real difference in the stalks, so perhaps this is the same kind of growth as the sedum. The sedum is one of the first plants to emerge in the spring, putting little flat paddles of green in rosettes out into the sunshine. They are one of the last plants to bloom, and they last well into fall and the beginning of winter.

There are pops of color in surprising places. Not only has the purple clematis given us two beautiful blooms, completely unexpected and untimely, but a coneflower suddenly seems to think it’s July and has put out buds, blooms and new blossoms. A zinnia has come from out of nowhere and given me three fresh-faced bright pink flowers, like buttons all in a row. The red hibiscus exploded with one more hurrah, a bright red umbrella.

A red dragonfly buzzes past me in the back, hovering, zipping, hovering and zipping away. The milkweed bugs are scarce, only three on a milkweed pod that sits in the very bright sun.

The sun itself is different now. The angle to the earth is different, which means that suddenly, the trees in the parkway cast shadows on the front beds. Those trees are turning yellow, dropping leaves that float to the ground. The honey locust shed small brown leaves that curl into a bowl, and those are like confetti. They are everywhere, sticking to shoes and dog paws and tracking into the house at an alarming rate.

Coming along the weglia path, I notice a huge, giant, out-of-this-world spider. The nearest identification I can get is an orb spider. This sucker (get it?) is enormous. Her body is easily the size of my thumbnail, and with legs spread she could span a quarter. The web is a chaotic mass of silk, an orb weaver inebriated. She has sadly attached this web to our garbage can, so Miss Spider will only keep her home until Friday morning, when that can is wheeled to the sidewalk. I wonder if she will consider that a temporary loss and come back to rebuild in the same spot.

There is also another monster in a web built within the dried stalk of a hosta and a container on the berm. This resident is much shyer and bounces along the web to curl into a ball on the stalk, now seemingly invisible to me.

When the timer goes off, a raucous car horn, I am momentarily confused. For a split second, I’m not quite sure why it’s set. What was I supposed to do again? I remember, move the hoses and set it for another twenty minutes. And then I do it once more.

After that final alarm, I turn off the hoses and roll them up. Then I walk around the house one more time, to make sure I really remembered them all.

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