We started the week with a parade. One of the perks of living across the street from the original town cemetery is the Memorial Day Parade. All the neighbors drag out the lawn chairs and head to the end of the street with their morning cup of coffee and "catch up" while we wait for the cub scouts and veterans to go past. Even our rival high schools join forces, merging into one large marching band. The politicians make speech's and the dog waits for ducks to fall from the air after the 21 gun salute.
It's over in 10 minutes and it's small town America at it's finest.
It was hot and perfect for yard work and grilling, it should have been Labor Day!
The weather finally broke here in northeast Ohio, three days of sun and no rain. Time to jump in the gardens at a frantic pace, we were at least a month behind! We thought it was the sound of thunder in April and May but it was gardeners banging their heads against the potting shed wall. In April I looked at a friends garden and committed to reworking and planting, finally the day had arrived. Linda, a really good friend, wanted to see flowers from her kitchen window. Shrink the garden bed to something more manageable and make it look like a garden. Seemed easy enough......... and it was the perfect small job to feed my garden habit while keeping me in the studio. I had visions of going to the nursery and sitting at the kitchen table with my stacks of nursery catalogs, graph paper, books, cup of sharp pencils with easers, pots of coffee and revel in the joys of what would be. After I tried drinking the cup of pencils I decided I needed a 12 step program for my plant addiction........
What the garden looked like in April:
The decision was made to relocate the pieris japonica and "off" one of the really old rhodies. That would leave the azaleas and those were pruned before they bloomed and a real garden no-no but it had to be done.
Finally Tuesday, May 31st had arrived. The plants had been collected from various nurseries and tools were loaded in the truck. I hadn't slept the night before working through plans in my head over and over. You would think I was going to Craft Boston again! I had worked in Linda's garden 8 or 10 years ago and remembered the clay soil and steps to the upper garden. The plan of attack was solid by 5 a.m.......... by 6 a.m. over my first cup of coffee I realized......I am going to die.
I arrived at Linda's, an hour drive into the city, by 8:00 a.m. Temperatures already in the 80's, glasses fogged in the humidity and everything was climbing including my underwear. We had gone from frosty cold temperatures and biblical rain to the tropic's in 24 hours. I could not get busy fast enough and I couldn't work fast enough. By 2 p.m. the garden had been freed of knee high Forget-Me-Knots (Mysostis) and Achemilla (Lady's Mantle) with my trusty pitch fork. My jeans were soaked from the knees to my Herman Munster shoes. The tools were all coated in mud and my shirt was clinging to my sultry body...... so attractive! Hmmmm time to head to Nordstrom's and try on underwear! Most of the plants were sunk and I was toast.
Wednesday I had brakes put on the truck and it gave me a day off to be in the studio and recover. Wednesday night I told Abby.......... $50 and you have to help me! Paaaaaleeezzzeee I begged. She said; Really? $50? I'm there. Yeah!!!!! I picked up my truck and ran to Home Depot to pick up 20 bags of mulch. Holy Heavy! The bags had been sitting in the rain for two months! After loading the 17th bag and looking at the shocks on the truck we stopped loading. I decided on bags instead of bulk as I had flashbacks from the last time I mulched Linda's garden. Two of us had to lug a wheel barrow up the steps, bags would be so much easier and besides the garden was much smaller now!
A cold front blew through our area Wednesday night. I was in the studio around 10 p.m. when Abby ran the phone out and said it was Linda. Hmmmmm this can't be good. Linda was racing home from a meeting because a tree had fallen on her house but just wanted me know the gardens were OK! I would be able to get up the driveway and come anyway in the morning....... oh and there is a small fire.
It's never a good sign when you arrive at job greeted by Police Crime Scene tape roping off the entire backyard. I jumped out of the truck and clipped it with my pruners and started hauling mulch. We started at the far end waiting to see if the tree would allow us past, I told Abby if you hear a loud crack drop the mulch and run to the far corner of the yard. I jumped back into weeding and transplanting while Abby mulched.
The knuckle drag'n tree guy arrived sometime mid-morning and whipped Linda into a safety frenzy. Every time we walked under the tree Linda would yell......... RUN!!!!!!! ABBY GO QUICK!!
OK, this was quite entertaining and found myself laughing while wrestling the primula out of wet clay. Linda rocks at double tasking and while all this was going on she was also cleaning out the garage.
She pulled out old bags of manure, topsoil and perennial bedding mix and said can you use this, how about this, have you ever heard of this? We had and we did!
Then she pulled out the giant shaker bottle of PREEN!
Let the sermon begin........... NO! Never! Not in this garden, we are top dressing with newspaper and mulch, no Preen.
Back to the garden............
by 1:30 we were sweeping up, the place was looking pretty good.
The temperature was 68 F. perfect for garden grunting and we experiencing high garden satisfaction, which is why I do this!
this bed will fill in nicely in a couple months......
the path to no where.......
Now back to the studio and getting my gardens whipped into shape! I told Linda I would be back in a couple weeks to check on everything and make sure the English ivy was trailing over the wall and not bullying the new plants. Use those pruners! The place should be beautiful in a couple months and really by next year it will really be in full swing. Not sure I want to do this full time again but it sure was nice to sink my feet in it for a little while........