I have a confession to make.  I am late to work most summer mornings, at least those mornings which are warm and still.  I’m not talking 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes, but it’s not that often that I am at work on or before my appointed time.
There are a few reasons for this; two of them are our children aged 17 and 14.  Another reason is a spouse who also works full-time.  But the root cause of my tardiness is the garden.  I am a compulsive “putterer” in my garden.
Like “channel surfing” puttering is a term that is, I believe, almost exclusively a male domain.  Women don’t putter, they are much too sensible and organized for that.
Puttering happens this way in my garden.  It’s about thirty minutes before I should leave for work.  I step outside to water the planters on the deck so they don’t bake in the afternoon heat.  On the way to the deck I stop to check if the latest generation of leafhoppers has appeared on the climbing roses yet.  Not this morning, and the roses are indeed looking infinitely healthier than they were a month ago.
A few weeds poke their heads above the marigolds so they’re quickly dispatched.  Once at the deck I see several dried out geranium blooms in the pot at the far end.  They are picked off, making for a rather interesting bouquet as I amble over to the compost bin.
This takes me past the perennial border, where there is always something going on.  This particular morning a small bull snake is slithering its way across the base of the slope that rises away from the back of the border.  I’d better not tell my wife.  She’s just getting good at distinguishing weeds from plants out here and competent help is hard to find!  I attempt to follow the snake but it wants no part of me and is quickly gone through the stems and foliage.
The compost bin is located beside the vegetable garden, where huge mounds of tomato foliage threaten to billow out of their raised beds to consume the entire space.  A few more weeds are discovered and eliminated.  I see that the grapes are beginning to show some colour and sample a few, but they’re not quite ripe enough.
By now it’s almost time to go.  I make a mental note that the grass will need cutting in a day or two.  I should also turn on the soaker hose that runs along the base of the hedge.  Just before I head for the front door to gather up my things for the upcoming work day I turn to look one last time at the garden.
I do this several times a day from wherever I happen to be, indoors or out.  It’s a scene I will never tire of.  When we bought this house 15 years ago the garden consisted of three small fruit trees and a patch of alleged soil where a vegetable patch used to be.  Now the garden is mature and, from a distance at least, pleasing to the eye.  Sometimes even simple puttering can accomplish something!

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