heat, rediscovering old friends and some horticultural heartaches

Good afternoon friends, madgardener here (maddie) Just a quick visit over the back fence into your gardens. I hope this finds those of you who are trying to dry out in the Iowa and midwestern areas doing well and not much anguish for the losses. I more than feel for your sorrow of losses. Yesterday we had extreme heat and dry weather that seemed to be perfect for the things that unfolded with James and I as we decided spontaniously to go down to Karol's and try and retrieve a few things that we desperately needed as well as those whom I've grieved and missed and tried not to worry him about. (It's hard, I attributed it to having to decide among favorite children.........). We finally got there, the heat was in high gruel, and I was grateful for the extra sweet iced tea that James had gotten me at the little favorite local hotdog place we have here. As we climbed out and he positioned the car, I walked with a purpose to discover what we wanted from the tools that we'd unwittingly left behind, but the pile wasn't there! I then went to the raised beds that she'd put underneath the large trees at the back of her yard and just past the privacy fence, and saw familiar pots but not familiar pots......daylilies, obviously, but other things that I reognized as the identities, but not as mine. All of my glazed containers and the stone birdbath weren't there anymore. Well, it HAS been several WEEKS, almost two months since I have been able to go there to retrieve things of mine. Her generosity has been most patient with me. I walked back to James who was removing the wheels to my two wheel garden cart to load into the back and I started looking at the containers and my heart broke. Not only were the containers of my moms doing the best they could in the scorching heat and little rains that apparently have been coming to me 36 miles away (James used his GPS to determine exactly how far it was from us to her for later need when we rent the U-Haul truck to get everything in one haul) instead of to her place, but there was now more obvious signs of just sheer death about the containers, and only one daylily that was blooming despite the drought and harsh lack of moisture. Daylilies are tougher'n woodpecker lips........ As I reminded James that we could slip a couple of the glazed containers underneath the body of the garden cart/wheelbarrow, he agreed and asked me kindly not to go overboard. I was starting to get a bit emotional, when I spotted over past her own garden of cabbages and tomatos and peppers and such, an area she'd built underneath the trees near an embankment where she'd set up a place to pot and unpot things up. I had such a place, in Vinca Ridge only mine was on the deck off the kitchen (appropriately called the kitchen deck) it was an old picnic table that was wonderful to pot or unpot things or just bump them up into larger containers as I wanted to let them grow a bit more before I put them into the ground. Well, the first time Karol came with her crew to help me load things and take them to safety to her place when I was facing true homelessness, she'd started taking the cinder blocks that I'd put around the whole front south raised fairy bed. I was a bit taken aback, but figured, that was really insightful, as later on I'd miss the chance to take them and use them for myself. She's now built herself a wall that curves and sequesters her potting area and there were quick recognized blocks with designs that I brought from Michigan and that were given to me by other people along the years. I will have to ask her if she has laid claim to these for her own, especially as the bricko blocks are the older, three hole variety and are tougher made and not the ones they make nowdays that break. And mine were painted white which further extended their life..... As I got over the potting area, I finally spotted all of my shrubs, trees and the rest of my containers and fairies that I'd put into a box and hadn't the time to grab. Two garden chairs I decided I'd leave and get later and I tucked around two large containers, one of which stressed me out more than all the discard I was seeing. The one huge container I'd lovingly potted up with the Korean Spice Viburnum, Brudder John's Deutzia, and some bulbs that I didn't want to lose, in the other pot, shrubs that I deffinately didn't want to lose that I took pictures of as they never showed signs of stress or or lifting and potting up. Now that they were away from the visible area where they used to be, they were burning up from total lack of water because they were in a hot, sunny, but sheltered underneath another area of scrubby trees that are moisture hoggers.......That sound you all heard yesterday was my heart breaking as I knew unless I'd had the money to rent a truck, I was going to lose almost everything I'd worked so hard to make sure I'd saved from the former Faerie Holler. Oh well, I knew there was more possibilities of losing plants, it was just a shock. I came back to where James was struggling over the carts wheels, and started to pick out the absolute couldn't leave behinds.....and still had to leave expensive glazed containers behind and favorites that can't be replaced, regardless of survivors or just sentamental feelings. My mother's concrete containers that are well planted and are thriving are just too heavy. The "Copeland pot" that my son brought me home from a restaurant that was about to be bulldozed and he saw potential in this HUGE concrete pot for me to make a container garden of incredible proportion.....it weighs at least 200 pounds, dry. At least I have a heavy duty old fashioned dolly (hand truck to some of youse) that will help move the incredibly heavier stuff into the truck when I finally am able to rent it. So, what I was able to bring home this time were more container gardens. This time it was more sedum gardens, a few almost empty flat pots, but there were germinations of California poppies that I'd sowed seeds of and that had come up and were blooming. Not the golden yellow ones, but the different varieties that I've bought a few packages of seeds to see if I'd have luck at them. A pot of what I hope is the Dragon lilies which are making buds......I agonized over which and what until finally I took the most logical ones, and we stuffed things tightly. Two more lava containers that had sempervivums (hens and chicks) and some odd little sedums. There were too many recognitions. I saw Herbsonne Rudbeckia struggling in one pot, columbines in scalding sun and heat, sown signs of other things I thought lost. A few almost whipped 4's, and no sign of vinca major. (I have one clump of it in a pot I first got, I'm a sucker and a fool.........but I also know how to control her now). No signs anywhere of the Herman's Pride laminastrum, or of the "Nashville stainless steel walking fern"......the Korean spirea was hanging tough, but if I don't get back and retrieve it from the container I planted it, I will lose it and I've NEVER seen it anywhere since it came up mysteriously in my gardens. We simply ran out of room, and this time I wished for my van. The amount of cargo I'd been able to have hauled away both times would have made me happier and there'd been less loss. I am trying to let the demise of these plants not affect me, but when I look through the hundreds of thousands of incredible photo's I took on my digital camera, it reminds me of the losses of iron clad friends who shared their beauty with me. Not just ephemerials, or one time wonders, (there were plenty of those) or the spontanious sticky pot encounters, but the year after year returning residents that would have easily transplanted or transferred to where I am now and not only thrived but provided me with an emotional release that I have since recognized that most of us gardeners need. The need to dig and grow and nurture and be paid back with blossoms, a wonderous face in a teeny flower from a large bulb, something completely different than expected. The sowings of fairy folk of seeds of flowers we KNOW we didn't deliberately plant. I will say that the hitchhikers that have come along in some of my containers are my beloved Swamp sunflower. I will lift them gently out of the container today and transplant them in the western bed beside the tomato's for the finches to find once they flower. Soon there will be a final update on the retrieval of the remainder of "Faerie Holler/aka Vinca Ridge" and even though there will be great mourning for the losses of who falls from total lack of water and scorching heat and neglect, the survivors will earn another respected place in my garden book for truly iron clad and stainless steel...... Off to go home and plant up some containers. I remain your gardening lunatic and friend. And I still have the ability to answer questions of problems and identities of plants still, just takes me a bit longer since my horticultural bible is at the house and I'm here at the library a mile way and a 25 minute walk. thanks for listening and reading my werds. Tell me what you're doing in your gardens and soil endeavors. I always enjoy other's adventures.
madgardener, up in the green bowl, now gardening in revised zone 7a sometimes hot as zone 8, (not zone 8, though) surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest and Appalachian mountains in the old part of town.
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