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Gnats in My Coffee

As I stroll through my garden, I hold a cup of coffee, the sweet kind with additives that are purported to transport one to exotic locations. It is early morning. I am still wearing my pajamas. My husband fusses at me for walking around that way, but who is to see? I am blessed with privacy. The atmosphere is warm and laden with moisture: 100% humidity. I move slowly through the thick air, like a vacationer drifting in a tube down one of those lazy river rides, breathing in the vapors of the surrounding waters.I don't mind the mugginess of a summer morning when a view like this one in the front garden is waiting for me. Above are more midsummer views of the front garden. The shrubs with lavender blooms are a dwarf form of Crepe Myrtle.

The problem with this scenario is the coffee. What nut drinks coffee outside on such a muggy summer morning? Ice water would be more appropriate, but old habits, acquired in a cooler season, are hard to break. And there is another purpose for the coffee. It is difficult to pull weeds while carrying a mug of steaming coffee. Even with one hand free, the danger of spilling hot coffee is too great to be bending over and tugging at offenders near the ground. So the coffee is to keep me on task, which is to enjoy a morning stroll. I want to concentrate on the garden while the birds are active and before the glare of the white hot sun begins to scorch the skin and dazzle the eyes.Assorted coneflowers(echinacea) are blooming in the front garden now.Penelope Rose in the front garden bloomed lavishly earlier this year and is beginning to put out a second flush of flowers.Colorful exotics like Stromanthe 'Tricolor' bring a dash of color to the summer woodland garden.
Top is 'Limelight' Hydrangea, just coming into its summer glory. Below Limelight is Hydrangea 'Lady in Red', fading but still lovely. Its blooms, originally blue in my acid soil, have turned to rose.

The coffee doesn't work. It never does, and I don't know why I retain the silly notion that it might. A weed right there demands my attention. If I wait till later, it will be two feet tall with offsprings of thousands. So I sit my coffee down on a nearby stump. It will only take a moment to yank the weed out of the ground. An hour later I return to the coffee. A pile of weeds, long snaky vines, and clippings from a shrub lay nearby. The coffee is cold, and an assortment of tiny twigs and dead gnats are floating in it. I sigh. I didn't need to drink the stuff anyway. What I do need is a bath. It is time to start the day.

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Reader Comments (29)

This all sounds too familiar.... If it's any consolation, I was disturbed during my 6am pyjama gardening session by our builders starting work early. Your husband has a point!

July 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterThe Gardening Shoe

You have a lovely woodsy garden to stroll, and I love 'Penelope'! Next time leave the coffee inside.

July 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

How I laughed when I read this. Your cold cup of coffee with gnats floating in it -- ha! I do the same thing each morning, but I am usually a little more successful. The cup of coffee does keep me from kneeling and bending, so it works to keep me on task -- i.e. not weeding.

Rose Penelope is so crisp and icy cool looking, a beauty.

July 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

That's a perfect way to start a weekend morning. I understand the impetus to respond to the needs of the garden - it has a way of commanding one's full attention (and devotion).

July 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

The atmosphere of your garden looks so amazing, and it's nice that you have the privacy to wander in it in your comfy clothing of choice. A gardener is a gardener and even a mug of hot coffee will not deter :)

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

I, too, am guilty of pajama gardening! It's lovely to just slip outside and take a look. Hard not to start in on those weeds that seem to appear overnight. By the way, I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens after seeing your post. It was lovely! And finally made it to Aldridge Gardens...met Mr. Aldridge! Had a wonderful conversation with him about the history of the gardens and his hopes for future plans. Fun! Enjoy your garden strolls! I'm on the way out the door....

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Ah well, I cant even say hope you enjoyed your coffee, but I enjoyed your fabulous coneflowers. Myra! lets have a pyjama party in the garden, but I only have a teenie negligee, who cares!

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

With that much beauty – annnd the ever-present call of the weed, it's impossible to focus on one more thing. Even a good cuppa. I know from experience, Deb.

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLee May

Time flies when you're having fun. I can imagine that you lose all track of time in such beautiful surroundings Deb.

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

I too, lose all sense of time when I am in the garden. For for me is espresso so it is drunk very quickly, no need to wander around with it in my hands. Your front garden is jaw droppingly beautiful, I would find it very hard to return indoors.

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Deb your garden looks beautiful, that first photo looks like a fairytale wood, I can understand your pulling the weeds they grow so big so fast, Frances

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIsland Threads

Deb, your words made me smile. I, too, wander about my gardens early in the morning with hot coffee in hand. So often I see a weed or a Japanese beetle that needs attention. The coffee mug rests on the edge of the deck or the grill during my 'brief' distraction and, ultimately, needs refreshing. Oh ... I'm in my pjs too.
Your photos are wonderful and your gardens fantastic. Great place to wonder in the am.

So funny Deb! That is so me with my bug riddled coffee!!! ;-)

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEve

I pajama garden, too, but that means an oversized T-shirt and loose sporting shorts, so it's not a big deal except that I look very messy. And my neighbors are relatively close. Oh well. Your garden is heavenly. Seriously! I love the little rabbit peeking up along the trail (except that I don't like rabbits). ;-)

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

I always loved to look at the long views of your garden. Splashes of color amid the green are wonderful!
I smiled reading about your forgotten coffee. Once, I found a cold cup of Starbuck coffee, that my husband brought for me in the morning, in a wheelborough. I forgot about it...
Thank you, Deb, for the light, enjoyable reading!

July 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

As usual I love to see photos of your garden! And roses always look good in close up photographs, your Penelope is no exception! Sounds like you had a lovely morning to me. Jeannine

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJeannine

I loved this post, since I so identified! I am notorious for announcing that I'm going out to throw something in the recycling bin, and then not returning for hours. The weeds have been calling, and I had to answer.

While I can't really wander the garden in PJ's, except maybe at 5 am...I do wander without beverage and weed. Just one I will say...piles later..well you know the story.

Your garden is lovely, worth the gnats.


Hi Deb
What a hilarious post! I can just see you first wandering around slowly, admiring all the beautiful blooms and then being distracted by one weed, then another weed, then something that needs deadheading. We gardeners are very easily distracted, I guess because something always needs doing. Oh well - if the result is something as lovely as your property, it's well worth it. I really enjoyed this post.

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I feel your pain. I often think I will go down to the pond and 'act like I own the place' and just sit and enjoy it for a change. Then, I see some stray grass or overlooked rush or aquatic weeds that need pulling and I'm up and bent over pulling and plucking. Your garden is gorgeous. I enjoy the virtual stroll through it.,

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJody Raines

I was just thinking yesterday, where did all these gnats come from. I never see them in the garden, yet they were swirling all over the garden. I am going to have to check my iced tea now if I set it down. Weeds are prolific here too with our recent downpour, yet a stroll is far preferable to weeding. Enjoyed your tour through the flowers.

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Dear Deb, funny post that I too can totally identify with, except it's with tea not coffee. Your garden is looking quite dreamy and romantic, I would manage to sit on that blue seat for about three sips i imagine before putting the mug down and picking it up an hour later ... I am fascinated by time perception and just read a review of a book on it: brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/07/15/time-warped-claudia-hammond/

July 23, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercatmint

I always stroll through the garden before I do any work. I check on new plants, admire the bloomers and try not to pay to much attention to chores that need doing. It is easy to get distracted though.

July 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

My drink of choice for strolling through the morning garden is hot tea -- but it's steamy essence attracts platoons of mosquitoes! The mosquitoes don't drown themselves in the tea (I could only wish for that result); they just feed on any tiny bit of exposed skin. But, I'm stubborn; I'm still not willing to give up my tea -- even if my image of strolling through the garden sipping tea is a bit different than the reality.

July 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJean

It seems we are all out in our pyjamas in the early morning, but with me it is a mug of tea! Your garden is looking really beautiful, no wonder you wander round it early in the day, its the best time before it gets too hot.

July 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterpauline

Lovely photos! On hot mornings I get out in the vegetable garden early to work and harvest, and I take my coffee with me too. I'm likely to wind up with garden soil in mine instead of gnats!

July 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDave

And that coffee makes a nice fertilizer for your plants. Gorgeous views that should not be missed. Our days seem so much muggier in early morning.

July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

I always look out for the red banana plant in your photos - and it's looking great.
Gardening is a wonderful way to start the day, especially for office workers.

July 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Debbie , I am so glad to hear you are able to be outside in your gardens. I know that is the best rehab for you! . The gardens are beautiful and hope you will have a speedy recovery.

August 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy
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