Of Chrysanthemums and Snakes

We went to the Lowe’s garden center today, driving 40 miles round trip to get there and back.  We went for chrysanthemums to plant along the side of the garage. All summer, there has been a narrow patch of pine straw-covered dirt there, bare of any growth except the volunteer gladioli that keep coming up year after year even though we pull the plants out by their roots.

It’s autumn now, and I’m tired of seeing dead gladioli stems drooped across our front walk. So we planted seven chrysanthemum plants, all in a row. 

For some reason, we planted first and then began weeding and pulling up dead gladioli, and because I had forgotten my gardening gloves and was too lazy to go get them, I was doing this bare handed.  I also had forgotten that at least two county residents, one of them a friend of my mother’s, had recently been bitten by poisonous snakes while doing exactly what I was doing today.  I turned over a clump of matted pine straw, and there it was.  It was a small black snake, coiled up, and it slithered away while I watched with my mouth open. I usually scream and say things I shouldn’t when I see a snake, but this time I didn’t. I just quit weeding, and I don’t think I’ll work outside anymore until December when it’s nice and cold and the snakes are really gone.

We also had bought small mums and two kale plants for the barrel at the bottom of our front steps, so I moved to work on the barrel.

There already was a sweet potato vine growing in the barrel, and on it I saw this little guy who graciously let me photograph him.  That made up for having seen a snake in the garden.

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