I spent the day before yesterday tidying up the flower beds.In July, our yards start looking raggedy, I think. My neighbor came over and said that he was putting in a few new plants. He said that he really didn't like this time of year, in the garden, because things are starting to loose that fresh spring like look....and this season made him think of fall and winter, when his yard didn't look quite so pretty. He offered his help when Joe comes home from the hospital and then left. I really wasn't in the mood to do any work, but when I saw all the brown leaves, spindly flowers, and things just simply taking over, I decided to give everything a fresh haircut. There's nothing like seeing one straggly plant to get a gardener working. One job always leads to another...and before you know it you are done. So, armed with loppers, shears, pruners, and my trusty green chair, out I went into the jungle (it really wasn't that bad) The cranberry bush in front of the house has started to take over the front border, so I pruned back about a foot of this shrub. Standing back and taking a look, it looks ever so much better. Going around the house on the east side the huge Stella's were full of dried flowers and stalks. They didn't look pretty at all. After moving down the slope and trimming away the dead things, they look beautiful and the remaining flowers show up so much better. This will encourage new blooms on these lilies. The Lady's Mantle was sheared almost to the ground. In a couple of days, I will see new leaves beginning. I was afraid to do this before, but after reading about this on another blog, I decided to give it a try. A weedy vine was crawling up the Clematis and choking the coneflowers in front of it. I carefully pulled up the vine and the coneflower breathed a sigh of relief. Coming up the west side, I cleaned up the flowerbed there and thinned out the Ajuga again. I like this plant because it forms a mat and doesn't let many weeds in. It is a pretty accent color for the bright green herbs growing there. Sometimes it wanders into places where I don't want it, so I just tug at it and pull away some of the plants. I have cherry tomatoes, 2 sages, oregano, thyme, chives, lavender, rosemary and parsley growing in amongst the lilies, iris and a rose bush. Then I got the weed whacker out to trim along the woods border and make a pathway into the woods, so I could take the wheelbarrow full of trimmings back to the pile. My neighbor saw me working and came over for a visit. She came at just the right time...I was starting to wind down. We talked about Joe's coming surgery and she offered their help, if I needed it. That's the wonderful thing about neighbors...you can always depend on them in a pinch. Even though you might never ask...you know that they are there for you. Most all of the neighbors have called or visited to say that they will be there for us. Some have helped already, one picked up our new chair in Rockford, one helped move a TV down to the basement, one offered food, a Grand daughter offered to help me in the house or around the yard, a few offered prayers. We finished our conversation, it was a nice visit, and then I set to work again. I trimmed along the border, and then made the path, cut off a few branches and hauled some dead limbs back to the pile. By now, I was really tired, but it was a good tired. When I got back to the house Joe said, "Did you have fun?" I laughed but thought..."Yes I did" I'm still able to do this hard work and it is good for me to get the exercise. Now get me a glass of ice water please.