I planted some monarda (bee balm)
, transplanted morning glory and false indigo seedlings, and spread three loads of wood chips around the yard.

I ordered the monarda from Bluestone Perennials
after chec king them out on Garden Watchdog
, and I have to say I’m impressed. It’s the first time I’ve mail-ordered live plants, so I was a little apprehensive about how they’d survive. They were a little droopy out of the box, but after a day of water and relaxing in the shade, they looked great. Now in the ground, they look positively enthusiastic… I just hope the deer leave them alone. I covered one, just in case.

The wood chip mulch was an act of frustration. I had been waiting for a tree service to drop off a load of their chips, saving me the time and effort of loading and hauling it myself, but after a month of waiting, and really needing the chips, I decided to get some myself from the city’s giant pile.

I enjoyed the short drives back and forth and the physical labor, too. The atmosphere was suffused with summer, in the way that the hazy light seems to come from all around, in the way that the air and the trees and my arms and my mind seem to move more slowly – not sluggish, but calm, unhurried.

Finally, at the end of the day, I turned our future morel bed. (After adding the spawn, we’re supposed to turn kitchen scraps into the soil for the entire first season.) We’ll get morels next spring, if we’re lucky.

The soil in the bed is very heavy clay, so there were no worms to speak of when we started. But after a month or two of kitchen scraps I was happy to see that worms had found it, making my turning of the soil much easier. At that point, I switched from a shovel to a pitchfork, to reduce my chances of cutting them in two.

But that didn’t matter today. Today I hit a beautiful worm, at least 6 inches long – maybe 8. He writhed in agony, a gaping wound in his side. In the face of his pain, I felt helpless. I had to stop.

Even on a small scale, digging is an act of violence. Every worm killed is a step back for the soil. For a garden, with enough patience (and worms), digging is unnecessary. I don’t yet have that patience myself, but I’m trying.