Today was a hot day. Asked to come in earlier than was scheduled, I arrived
at work with the feeling that the prediction of hottest day of the year here
in Eastern Tennessee would indeed come to fruit. It was uncomfortable as I
stepping outside to get into the car, swinging the broom handle ahead of me
as I made my way thru the narrow walkway on the small deck because it's that
time of the year. The time when the fat red spiders hatch from wherever they
are and string impressive webs every dusk between anything they can find to
anchor onto. Tree limbs, gates, onto a plant stand on one side and the 7
foot Cereus cactus on the opposite side with fat red mama hanging out in the
middle just WAITING to smack me in the face with her unsuspecting
Not that I am afraid of them, there's just nothing like running into their
massive webs and knowing their up in yer hair somewhere........(they aren't
harmless to us). Once I got to the car, and threw my bag with the extra
GatorAid into the front seat with my back brace and apron, tucked my huge
jug of sweet iced tea into the spot between the two front seats, I pulled
out and was immediately aware that we had fog again. But not normal fog,
thick, oily fog that I've spoken about before.
The drive to work was trecherous but other than encounters with fleeing
rabbits and skunks along the winding back roads to work it wasn't very
I was happy to see that someone had turned on the night sprinklers on the
nursery the night before from the creeks running across the parking lot as I
went thru my morning parking lot ritual of preparation.
By the time I made it to the greenhouse to clock in, I had a feeling I was
in for something different as I noticed something moving beneath me as I
walked towards the sliding doors that leads into the outside nursery. It was
a frog or toad.....too quick for my eyes to see more than the hopping
movement as it hauled boogie under the tables the tropical plants are on
near the door. Outside rituals began as I turned on the outside front
sprinklers to run until 7 giving the burgandy, white and yellow mums that
fills way too many tables out front a deep drink. Then shut off the inside
sprinklers, go get the gate key and turn off the outside sprinklers that
shower the landscape and ornamental bushes and small trees on the east side.
It was heating up and the sun wasn't fully up yet, the sun an ominous orange
red in the morning sky, I knew this was gonna be one hot day.
As I opened up the side gate to turn off the hoses, I noticed there had been
a night drop of more plants and I wondered what they were....and as I came
back inside to lock the gate back up, I noticed we'd also gotten the first
fall shipment of trees and shrubs too. Seven pallets worth. Lordy, the day
was going to be a busy one in the above mid 90 degree temperatures.
As the morning dragged on and the heat and humidity rose even higher, the
vendor who places the flowers for the one shipment popped in around 9 to
beat the heat and she was relieved to find out that the shipment had already
been put into the computer so she could just place them out front. It was
more mums. Specifically mums that were in small peach baskets but in
different colors for a change, despite they were blooming their butts off
instead of being bud tight, in my most favorite mum shape.
I am NOT a mum fan. Out of desperation for SOMETHING to plant for the fall
that is locally available, I resorted to a few mums only when they were
unusual colors or had my favorite flower shape. The composite shape. The
daisy. I already have a small clump of Clara Curtis that thrills me with
her weak return as she gains strength to make me smile with her pink daisy
like petals rising above the unmistakable aeroma of mum leaves.
The newer colors in the peach baskets were burgandy daisies that resembled
pyrethrums only they had mum leaves. And then there were the ones that had
peach, yellow and pale cream white that spidered outwards, and the deeper
pink ones that looked like Clara's bigger sister.......... There was
another one of a bright yellow with orange brown tips that called to me as
picked up one of each color that wasn't blooming so much and tucked them in
my hole where I put plants I want at the end of the day. This wasn't going
to be easy.
As the day dragged on thru the stifling heat and humidity I trudged thru the
day happy that it was at least a nice day, despite the feeling someone had
left the sauna door open. Then the Stacy's driver arrived with a load of
perennials for me to sign in, and I warned him good naturedly that he'd
better not have any mums.......and we both laughed as I left him to drop the
carts off out front and I went looking for the LRT we used to scan in the
Once I made it thru the cooler store and was only stopped five or more times
by customers and assorted chaos due to inventory going on around me, I made
my way towards the outside where the racks were waiting for me. Hostas,
more hostas. What ARE they thinking, those who order these plants? We
already have enough to plant an acre of them left over from late springtime
that have flowered and started filling up the pots that I have snipped the
stems off of the flowers as all the bees and wasps did such a remarkable job
they had set seeds on alot of them.
And dianthus. A variety called Firewitch that is blooming. Dianthus in
August that is blooming??? Well, it's possible, and more viola's, in cute
nine packs with handles of three colors. Salvia's, the good standard May
Night, and a small Soladago called Little Sweetie that hadn't started
blooming yet. But on the rest of the shelves of the racks were four colors
and varieties of asters. Hot pink, almost blue, one called Jenny, a purple
one,all sitting there smiling out at me from their protective racks.
I scanned them all in, checked the price of the asters and decided that
$1.97 was affordable, and pulled out the receipt from last year I had kept
in my wallet in the middle spot that indicated that LAST year about this
time I had purchased 6 pots of asters that I'd taken home, opened up a
narrow space along side the western bed and tucked them all in along the
edge of the bed and there they had sat, bloomed and smiled at me until
November. I remember I bought soil to pour over the asters to make up for
the lack of soil when I expanded the bed by seven inches. They never came
back this spring once asters broke dormancy. I learned a vital lesson.
Plant them in the ground and then put soil over the plants, don't sit the
plants a little ways into the soil and fill the rest of the area around the
plant with topsoil from a bag. They will NEVER make it.
I replaced the asters, got the four mums and brought them all home with me
when it was time for me to drag my dehydrated and overheated self home.
Tomorrow the asters go into the ground, the mums will sit in their peach
baskets until I plug them into the mum pot that has successfully housed
another variety of mum now for three years returning, there's plenty of
room for two of them as the center dies out and it makes daughters at the
As I unloaded the plants from the car near where the ongoing removal of one
forsythia slowly plods along, I hear Rose and Sugar expressing their joy at
the sound of the car in the driveway that indicated that mama was home and I
was rushed by two black dawgs that immediately jumped into the back seat
thru the open door ready to go anywhere, just go with mama in the car. I
had to sit down and laugh. I placed each pot around the quarter plastic
barrel that Squire had cut for me many years ago that has housed assorted
perennials thru the last 10 years (it has coreopsis struggling in it at the
moment) and I closed the back door, moved my uniform to the floor and Rose
jumped into her place in the co-pilot seat and we backed up to the bricks
where I park the car.
Decide this isn't quite enough for the dogs, and pull forward, check the
mail, then back up and they're happy. they've ridden in the car with me. We
can all unload and go inside. Dogs are easy. Rose goes and checks out the
pots I've placed around the larger pot by the Helianthus and asters, Sugar
chases Polluxx thru the jungle of the side yard and it's not but a few
moments that both dogs are standing behind me ready to go back into the cool
house thru my nook door.
On the railing near the screen door the Lipstick vine flowers have popped
open and are amazing looking, all fuzzy and neat. Above, hanging on a nail
I've hung a silver leafed begonia that decided to flower for me, and the
pink butterfly bush just on the other side of that is loaded with over 9
butterflies oblivious to me because of the honey scented flowers that are
now reblooming on the bush since I had cut the spent flowers off weeks
The cold air hits me like a wall and I step inside to start shivering and I
know I've overheated a bit, and I place the jug of tea on the corner of my
computer table, take the empty GatorAid bottles into the kitchen to be
filled up with more that I make in a gallon jug, and get out of my socks and
sneaks. (I have luminescent feet now thanks to the fact that I have to wear
Sinking into my office chair and log on, I decided to start this piece, but
am distracted by the show outside as the acrobats float and cavort on every
pink cone of butterfly flower. Seven different types of flyers are visible,
and then they all scatter as the arrogant hummingbird strafes thru the bush,
making those insane turns at the unbelievable angles and I sit and just
watch "nook T.V." for how long I don't know. The hummer tests and tastes
every blue flower left on the Egnima, and then sits atop a bare stem that
rises above the rest of the quite large plant.
I slipped my summer shoes on, and grabbed the camera and was rewarded with
the Swamp sunflower that I lovingly call my Marijuana daisies are in
complete blossom. Hundreds of them lighting up the whole area they have
claimed as theirs. Then I spot the brilliant red of Lord Baltimore tucked
almost unobserved by me in the tangle of 5 pointed and serrated leaves and
daisy/coreopsis like flowers in such abundance I remember why I pulled it up
along side the road now, despite that it's VERY invasive.......
NO sign of my beloved blue mist Eupatoria.......that distressed me. I so
very much love that plant. It was a gift to me from the former owner who had
it growing with the tiny asters and feverfew and green sedums in her narrow
version of the original flower bed. I have since expanded, lifted, raised
and planted more flowers where she humbly gardened than she would have ever
imagined. I wish I had her eye for painting the flowers I so much adore,
but my digital camera catches what I so desperately try to describe to you
all now and that makes me happy.
Sugar has almost ripped herself in half squeezing out the cat window one
last time because I've left her inside while I'm outside and I realize she
wants to be with me and don't scold her, her immediate attention to her sore
tummy tells me she won't try that again, or will knock the whole piece of
wood out next time in her desperation to join me out in the gardens.
I now have a dog that doesn't fear water. As I give pots drinks of water,
she growls and snaps and acts a fool at the spray from my watering wand head
and I egg her on, laughing at her and she actually smiles at me. This might
have worked out better than I hoped. As I laugh as her, I hear a door pop
and there's Rose, looking at me like I betrayed her, and giving me that "I
know how to open up doors" look....and Sugar abandon's me for "Mama Rose"
and they go growling and gargling their wierd dawg sounds as they play up
and down the driveway as I have no front yard. How I wish just once I had
something of a front yard for them to cavort on. But when Rose and I walk
down the driveway for "pasture" functions, Sugar cracks me up as her legs
become springs and she BOINGS BOINGS thru the tall five foot grassy weeds
that Mr. Hammer was unable to mow with his bush hog and hay cutter. I see
the tops of the grasses rustle and I know about where she is and I know
she's having a blast. If I could get large Marge (Rose) to create a path for
me, I'd walk with them into the mowed part of the pasture and they'd have a
ball, but if Rose doesn't flatten the grasses, I'll wind up with such a case
of chiggers you have no idea............
Watering done, the bed around the BBQ pit/fountain is pathetic now, as the
fig tree has completely shaded it with limbs loaded with figs as tall as 13
foot. In my desire to clear a walkable path thru one side that used to be
there before the asters and Lemon Queen joined hands, I tied the Lemon Queen
to branches of fig tree and now the Lemon Queen is sulking and pouting and
dying back. Rats. Makes me think this time I will take seed heads of the
Swamp Sunflower/Daisy plants when they start making and sow some along the
fence row and down near the woods to see if they come up for more yellow
oversized coreopsis like flowers next year. I already have a volunteer
purple loosestrife down near the woods.
As I stand with the waterhose in hand, I realize my garden is now in a
erratic state. White phlox is still blooming but it's lying horizontal and
curving upwards behind the 13 foot multi-branched sunflower the birds gave
me. The Joe Pye is about spent, but covering the outer portion of the
wisteria trellis is Sweet Autumn Clematis and it's white stars are shining
back at me. When did these open?? I almost missed them!!
As I make my way back to the nook, stopping to lay the hose down instead of
winding it back up, I notice that Beverly's pink anemone has shoved thru the
Korean spirea jungle and has set quite a few buds and one is open. It's a
nice effect. I look for the Chinese Almond and see that I might have lost
it, and that's when I notice that there is a huge trunk of a Swamp sunflower
plant that has not only jumped bed, but has filled up the whole standing
spot. I didn't hesitate, I pulled it up and immediately opened up more
sunny area for the lilacs I planted in the huge nursery pot for this year.
As I round the car and go back across the wooden deck that sags in one spot
towards my nook, I am almost beaned by the hummer who has not seen me coming
across the walkway. He stops and chirks at me in aggrivation and careens
upwards and heads towards the sunflowers and onward to the trumpet vine past
I am too hot to plant the asters and mums. They'll have to live in the pots
for a few days. And now there are bulbs to consider at work.......there is
no hope for me, the fairies have me brain washed completely now.
I will end this ramble and thank you for your time and allowing me to share
with you. There is always something to share with you all.........
madgardener up on the ridge, back in fairy holler, overlooking English
Mountain in Eastern Tennessee where it was the hottest day of our year that