How thick should I lay down mulch when there are already plants coming up from the ground?

Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash

About two inches is all that is needed, regardless of whether the plants are perennials or not. Any more than that could possibly delay or prevent plants from emerging. Since mulch does suppress weeds, obviously it could suppress plants as well.

More reasons not to put down more than a couple of inches in depth:

  • The mulch can develop mold and mildew
  • That will cause it to rot
  • Rotting or even good mulch can attract termites, and they like moisture
  • Thick mulch holds moisture too long (see above)
  • Too much moisture near plant bases or over roots can cause root rot
  • It’s a waste of money to over-mulch

It’s kind of like that children’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

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~ Grow where you’re Planted

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Seeing this Wild Ginger coming up in the broken pathway reminded me of this phrase.

There are times in life when we wonder how we got where we are. Most times it’s the end result of our own actions. Occasionally, we are clueless.

Either way, the only way to improve our situation is to make the best of where we are until we earn our way out, or until God allows us out.

The way out is always the result of praise and gratitude. With gratitude comes a positive attitude. But praise comes first, not as a result. When we praise in faith, then our circumstances can improve, or our hearts will learn to accept that they won’t.

The result will be praise that is felt from the heart.

We may or may not leave the pavement crack for the company of a flower bed, but either way, with gratitude we will flourish.

Christmas Detour

    There was this stupid detour sign on the way to Christmas, and I followed it, knowing that there was an easier way around. So here I am, on a guilt trip, and drumming my fingers on the steering wheel, waiting for the light to change so I can get back on course.

It was expected, this detour, but my can-do attitude wanted to believe that I would be able to take that better route when the time came. I would see the sign in time, and make that switcheroo, avoiding the grief of a bad choice of direction. I mean, who wants to miss Christmas?

While I’m drumming my fingers, I’m also thinking of all the other people out in the dark of night, drumming their fingers on life’s steering wheel, and wondering if next Christmas will be easier.

I think of all the things that can bring sorrow and regret to Christmas as I hear the familiar, ‘I’ll be Home for Christmas’ playing on the car radio. How well I remember college days when I couldn’t get home for Christmas. I think of families split apart and how difficult it must be for the parents separated from their kids, and I wonder if that’s not when the dads really go off the deep end. I wonder how many jails are filled with broken generational promises. I think of all the widows and widowers.

We’re facing our first Christmas without my father-in-law. Watching my husband grieve through Thanksgiving was hard, and we never even spent Thanksgiving with his dad. But Christmas was Pop-Pop’s day. He was like a kid, with his collection of battery operated robotic Christmas characters, his very own Santa ho-ho-ho belly laugh, and candy in dishes all over the house.

In our house, we “celebrated” Christmas gift-giving early this year since one child had to have her expensive present early for a special event. None of us particularly feel like decorating. Strange how that in a year when we “opened” nicer presents than previous years, the emptiness of things has never been so apparent, (even though we’re grateful that we’re able to have needs and wants met.)

I have a feeling that this detour is going to teach me that I have the opportunity to see different scenery along the way, a new viewpoint from which to express my gratitude. Who knows? I might even meet a few fellow travelers who need my encouragement to make the most of their detour.

Why the guilt on this guilt trip? Because, in a time when I feel guilty over not decorating, or feeling festive, I also see the larger guilt. The guilt that the amazing gift of the Christ Child meant a Father lost his only son, knowing that not only would his son die for sins he didn’t commit, but that all of the babies in that town called Nazareth would be murdered simply to stop his sacrifice. Knowing that countless believers in a tiny babe have been martyred over the centuries, ensuring that the only story worth hearing continues to be told. In a world gone mad with greed, sin and selfishness, only Christ’s sacrifice makes sense as the reason for and the answer to the incomprehensible.

Maybe my detour to Christmas is taking me closer to the true Spirit of Christ than any Christmas past. For what is Christmas, other than the mystery of the heart of sacrifice, of a gift that has cost more than any of us will ever fathom.

 

What I learned from NaNoWriMo . . .

Now that I’ve recovered, it’s time to answer what you wanted to know. What did I get out of it, and what’s in it for you? Because what you’re really asking is, “Do I have the courage, and do I want to take that chance?” For those not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s a challenge to write a book (50,000 word goal) in a month.

It’s said that 80% of Americans want to write a book. That’s a huge percentage, so I’ll assume that some of you out there fall into that percentage. It’s for you that I’m answering this question that so many have asked me.

IF you think you have a book in you, yes it’s worth it. Whether you succeed or fail in the challenge has no actual bearing on whether you have what it takes to write a book, and it certainly has less to do with quality. No one is going to write a publisher-ready book in a month. But it is worth the effort. You’ll find out the value of your excuses. You’ll come face-to-face with the strength of your passion and desire. You’ll definitely find out the level of your family’s support! (Mine were absolute winners, thank you.)

More, you’ll find out that you can indeed, keep writing when you don’t feel like it, have writer’s block-head syndrome, or find that your pre-plotted scenes have been thwarted by your character’s dialogue, and how to negotiate with them over control of your book. In other words, you’ll be able to condense year’s worth of learning the writer’s craft into one month of intense effort. And that intensity will cause what you’ve learned to gel. You’ll never be the same.

And after you recover, catch up with your lost sleep, and get over the flu you caught from so little sleep, you’ll come away with a smarter, better you. Except for spelling. That will be worse.

Na-Na-Na-NaNo!

Well, thppbt! Who says I can’t write book two in a month? So what if it took over a decade for book one? That was just practice. I was learning the trade, practicing the art of learn-as-you-go education. It was a DIY education. This is my big chance to find out how much I’ve learned, while at the least getting that first draft of the second in the series finished so I can rest during the month of December and return to family and friends to enjoy the Christmas season. But only 50,000 words? That’s 20,000 words short! Well, we’ll see how it plays out. I’m doing the math here . . . I did the first draft of the last third of book one in a little over a month . . . oh no. This isn’t going to be easy. . . .

If I appear preoccupied next month, there’s a reason. My head will be full of characters, so if you don’t want to be my next antagonist, don’t antagonize me!

And will someone please come rake my leaves! I can’t spare the twenty hours.

When You’re Not Enough.

“We all face areas of life where we feel insufficient. These are the times when the little voice comes into your head and tells you you’re not good or smart enough or just not enough in general. Do yourself a favor. Don’t listen to that voice. The truth is you are not enough and neither am I but that’s okay because you are not alone. God is with you and God is enough. You can do whatever God wants you to do, because He will do it through you.”

I stole this. Because I’m not enough. The fact of the matter is, God alone is capable of originality. No matter how brilliantly I may write on my best day, those brilliant thoughts originate with the God who made me and planned each step of my life, including education, influence and even my desire.

The quote above is from a new book by Dave Weiss, “Running A.M.O.K.”Kindle Version or Print Version available from Amazon.com.

I highly recommend you buy this if you are a creative person, or if you think you aren’t but know that creative thinking will help you be a better problem solver, and a better communicator of the good that God has done in your life.

If you want a preview of the book, and a look inside Dave’s thinking, peruse his blog at amokartscom.

Did I say later today?

How has your year started? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Have you realized that you didn’t get back to one of those many commitments that you made days and weeks ago; have your resolutions become irresolute? Or, like me, have you realized that some things just aren’t that important, and it’s a matter of priority. There’s nothing like being sick for a week or more to help a person prioritize. That’s when you realize that only the most important things have to be done, and those things that can scream urgent really aren’t. There’s a wonderful peace in that. Even though there are still many things left t0 do, they will be there waiting for me if I don’t get to them today. Today I will make sure what’s important today gets done, and maybe, just maybe do a little more.