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I woke up this fine Labor Day morning refreshed from a good ole nine hours of sleep. I paired a crisply ironed RL tee with some Abercrombie skinny jeans and prepared to meet the day.
Circumstances serendipitously came together to allow me to have the whole house to myself this morning. My son spent the night with the next door neighbors' kid and my daughter spent the night with her best friend. (Hardy and I got to share an unexpected evening alone yesterday and it was wonderful).
My Labor Day isn't packed full of socializing. I got that out of my system yesterday at church. I'm a member of a wonderful, easy-going and happy-go-lucky congregation and, while not in the service, I enjoy the mornings and early afternoon volunteering, greeting attendees and helping newcomers. So my Labor Day is all about being home (my favorite place to be) and taking it easy, Home CEO-style. So here's part of what was on my agenda today.
After getting dressed and doing my hair and makeup, I had a quick breakfast which consisted of a Shakeology protein / vitamin drink and half a toasted bagel. (By the way...a random fact is that it takes about 25 swallows to finish my Shakeology...Like a song stuck in my head I countdown the sips it takes to get to the bottom of my shaker cup). Ahhh..breakfast quickly over, I then headed out to tend to my garden babies, - that is, my potted plants.
I'm not much into cultivating the raw earth, but my pots hold a special place in my heart. In fact, I've started to name the little ladies, as if they've become a grown woman's collection of stuffed animals. Maggie, the front porch hibiscus, is a very robust and proud character. She stands at attention, like one of those stoic English soldiers (although I'd imagine her grinning), with her bright red flowers guarding the right side of my front door. Right now she's not blooming but she's got several buds on her stout frame, just waiting to appear. Maggie's sidekick on the left side of the door is my only rose bush. I simply call her Rosie. She's also a red soldier, although more elegant and mild-mannered than her assertive and rotund counterpart. Today Rosie got a pruning as she recently bloomed five times. I trimmed her old blooms back to where three separate leaves sprout out of the main branch. Soon she'll be giving Maggie some competition.
Keeping Maggie and Rosie company are a gaggle of other potted plants, chatting gayly in the mid-morning sun. I recently added two small sunflowers, and even a lantana, to the front porch team. The leaves on the sunflowers were looking a bit wilted, so with a little love and attention, I hope they will soon thrive in their new home.
Regarding the new lantana, I have mixed feelings about that lass. When I was a child, my Mom told me that the lantanas lining the side of our back yard were weeds. Ever since, I've shied away from accepting them into the fold. Recently however, I questioned the stereotype and decided to look at them anew and bring a few into the pack - on a trial basis anyway. They grow big and hardy with lots of blooms so we'll see how they do.
Rounding out the team up front are my crossandra twins, which are my sturdiest potted plants. They sit side by side in weathered grey ornate planters. The little orange flowers seem to survive even when neglected. One of them even served as a garage for a random matchbox car presumably lodged there by a neighborhood kid (neither of our kids have such cars). I left the little car there, nestled part shade under a few unsuspecting leaves, for a good six months in hopes the driver would show back up to claim his ride. Alas, he never did, so I finally chucked the abandoned and rusty little race car a few months ago.
After wiping down my white rocker chairs and the outside of my front windows with a clean rag, I waved goodbye to my neighbor mowing his grass and then headed to the back porch. I left the bright magenta geranium as-is because she tends to like a little drier soil.
Sierra the Chocolate Lab padded behind as I proceeded to the next zone and began tending to my new impatiens (orange-hued for the Fall of course). I have five pots of impatiens. These pots come from my Dad's garden so they hold a lot of meaning. Unfortunately, only one of the five is still from the "original" garden, due to an untimely doggie attack, but as a tradition I still keep only impatiens in those pots.
Joining the impatiens, my happy clovers are some of my favorite plants out back, as they remind my of childhood summers on our upstate New York farm. Those little magenta globes lined the northern pasture trails, which had been plodded out by the horses and goats, and were the subject of various wilted homemade arts and crafts projects. My Florida variety are actually called "globe amaranth", so technically they might not be the actual "clovers" of my youth, but it makes no difference. They are still uplifting every time I see them. The local garden shops generally have these guys on hand to refresh my pots as needed.
The backyard bunch also includes some pink and red kalanchoe, a potted orchid, a couple bromeliads and some moss rose. The moss rose appeared to have miraculously migrated across the pool and into the bird of paradise planters, but upon further inspection, the newcomer is really just a poser, with small yellow flowers...possibly a weed. My husband attempted to remove it at one point but I insisted we let it exist, as the succulent leaves were remarkably similar to the moss rose. I'm still letting him (yes, this one appears masculine to me, because none of my ladies would be such a sneak), hang out there for a little while, since he's causing no harm for now.
Another little weed that has "wheedled" its way into the group is a little moss, by the name of Molly which now has its own home in one of the smaller pots. This little moss tends to grow in between the pavers, and is actually quite attractive so I feel a little remorse when I intermittently exterminate the little shoots here and there across the pool deck. Little Molly found her way into the large potted oleander at the far end of the pool and is actually making a nice ground covering in that pot, so I've decided to let her stay. She also started squatting in that small pot I mentioned, so I decided to let her have that home as well (or, maybe she insisted and I relented? In any case, I figure she's tried so hard to maintain her foothold - and it is nice to have a truly native piece of earth inhabiting the landscape).
Ah, the joy of gardening. It is one of many wonderful activities that home life provides, if we so open ourselves to the many hobbies that can be cultivated here. For me, it allows me to express my nurturing side, my love of nature and the joy of seeing things thrive and grow. It is also fun learning about the different species and seeing plants "return" season after season, keeping us grounded in the reassuring cycle of life.
And speaking of the cycle of life, as I'm finishing writing this the kids and hubby have now reconvened so I'm off to do some more labors of love today. On the agenda for this afternoon? Laundry while intermittently baking and relaxing. A better Labor Day, there could not be!