I was sitting outside on my swing, like I do, as I pondered the situation with my blackberry plants - their slow decent from magnificence. Once again, I was attempting to explain to myself their poor performance, without having to actually get up from the swing and do things, like weeding, mulching, feeding, or trimming them. Surely it's the fault of the shade, so there's no point in putting myself out, right? As I looked at the shade, I had a sudden memory of the yard of ten years ago, and realized that one of the biggest differences between then and now, is the shade I made. Well, technically the fence, trees, shrubs, and trellis's are making the shade, but their presence is my doing, so I'm claiming the credit.
I tend to admire my plants, or their fruit and blossoms, but don't always register their other great byproduct. The photo above shows the evening sun sinking behind the tall silky dogwood shrubs behind the blackberry patch. Shade on the blackberries isn't that great, but being able to stand in the yard and escape the sun might just be worth a few gallons of berries. Thank you, shade.
Thanking the shade on the west side of the house, encouraged me to give some appreciation to the shady nook along the south fence, that is created by the sumac shrub. Years ago, when I brought home a dormant sumac plant that I pulled out of the ground, and Brandon asked me why I was planting a stick, neither of us really expected the lonely stick to grow to such heights and become such a dominant presence in the back yard. Now it's tall enough that we can actually put our lawn chairs under it's branches and enjoy the shade.
Here's the view from inside the shady sumac nook. As much as I like to be in the sun at the pool side, I really appreciate having a seat out of the blaze. Leaves and seeds in the pool make more work for pool maintenance, but the shade is worth it.
The last few days in the mid-nineties has really made me conscious of shade everywhere I go. Shade is a wonderful thing. I like it so much, I'm not even embarrassed that I was in my garden taking pictures of it! Nerd.