Sunday, August 8, 2010


I just received the following post from my friend Fran Waksler. August is a really tough month for gardeners and most of our gardens look a mess, but at least Fran has finished her book!

Hibiscus that self-seeded to a place it loves.

Tall phlox that Karen gave me from her garden many years ago

As you’ll notice, the photos are close-ups because any broader view would seem to be of an abandoned lot. But first, to my book.

In April I got a contract from University Press of America for a book I’d completed called The New Orleans Sniper: A Phenomenological Case Study of Constituting the Other, due out in December. As the title suggests, it is not destined to be a million seller, but it does have a niche in phenomenology, sociology, and criminal justice. UPA publishes scholarly books with small runs and thus asks authors to provide camera-ready copy. It’s possible to hire someone to produce such copy, but, hey, I’m retired and can do it myself. I did not, however, entirely understand what I was undertaking. Fortunately, very fortunately, I enjoy detail work, but it ended up being a rather complicated job. I learned more about formatting that I was aware there was to know. Fortunately UPA provided great support and the book is now in their hands. So from April to August I spent most of my time revising, formatting, getting permissions, and doing a hundred necessary bits and pieces.

And thus the state of my garden. Actually, the book was only one of three reasons that my garden is a mess. The weather has been extremely unaccommodating, alternating between too wet and too miserably hot. And then my dog, who always spends time in the yard with me, pulled a muscle, and was on the doggie equivalent of bed rest, i.e., no yard play. Without her beside me, gardening is much less fun. I even began to wonder if I was no longer as interested in gardening. But the day I mailed off my book, I found myself back in the yard, my now healthy dog at my side.

There is no way I can catch up with all there is to be done in the yard so I’m doing my best to deal with the things that are most offensive to me. The weather has produced many of these things: trees have been losing leaves (it looks like autumn), plants have died, the grass is brown (no amount of watering seems to help with days at 90 degrees), and the weeds have run amok. Some things have done well, too well: in my narrow north side moss path the hydrangea has gotten so big that it hits me when I walk by and if I swerve to the other side I get hit by Concord grapes. The Rose of Sharon has had a spectacular year and a wild red rose has been blooming non-stop. But all this is happening surrounded by weeds so nothing looks as pretty as it should. I do find weeding peaceful so my main goal is to pull as many weeds as I can before they reseed, do lots of pruning, and look to next year, when my garden will be immaculate.

The next book I write will be in the winter!

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