Weeeeeelllllll, TODAY as I was moving and compacting landscape pots up closer to the front of the garden center's cash registers and main entrance, I was told by the plant specialist that "these three tables are half off". And he pointed to the Pieris (Dorothy Wycliff) and said "yew aught tew git yew sum of thaem Parises cuz I gut me tew of 'em myself fer a landscapin' jub, it wuz tew fer the prize uf won" (I just love his accent, he's so smart and sounds SOOOOOO Kuntry.......<G>) It'd make Jim Varney proud of him if he were still drawing a breath. "know whut I mean?" <GBSEG>
Well, since I apparently have KILLED two Chinese almonds or something has offed them and we no longer have them, I decided I'd take a chance and get two Peiris. Then I got two burning bushes. And a red Rhododendron, which I will plant next to the pink one that has died 3/4's back that I am relocating to a better spot. And a spider mum that was whispering my name. I even remembered the starter fuses for the aquarium light! It was a GOOD thing Squire wasn't home when I pulled up to the ongoing removal of one forsythia. I tucked the pots amongst the foliage of the emerging Zebrina malvacea, the Pieris almost totally hidden by the large scalloped leaves. The burning bushes I placed near the deciduous magnolia that was the inspiration for the removal of at least ONE Of those 30 year old forsythia's. The mum was tucked next to the quarter barrel that is planted in Eye of the Tiger Dutch iris bulbs and thread leaf coreopsis.
As I unloaded the car, I gave myself a firm chewing out loud as there was no one to hear me but me and remarked that the Itea was still in it's pot just a glowing red orange leaves and begging for a spot somewhere, please. I pulled down the driveway and turned around since I was the only one home and as I circled around the black cherry tree, the ten bags of soil jumped out at me and reminded me that there was something else I needed to do. Not to mention just making a mental note to WATER everything.
I hopped outa the car once I parked in front of the almost flattened Frakartii asters (they got wind whipped by wind sheers last week of almost 40 mph and now lean to the EAST and still are loaded at the top with those perky oversized blue aster/daisy flowers with the yellow centers) and went inside to let Sugar out of the cage Mike had placed her in before he left for work. She was grateful I was home and I decided immediately that if I was going to get anything done it was now or never as I'd had quite a physical day today.
Rose opened the screen door and went out with Sugar hot on her heels to avoid the door hitting her in the face, and I was behind them and encouraged them to go thru the gates and "pasture". Bad news for me and worse for Sugar....apparently son had let her out unattended and she had dug up the newly planted BLOOMING yellow and white iris that I had gently and successfully planted last week from Mary Emma's. Now it won't bloom for me for three years as the whole rhizome was up and the dirt ball was gone. I mumbled my aggrivation at the pup and stood the rhizome upright near the Stokes aster plant she missed (I woulda had to kill her.....) and decided while I was down there, I'd yank out the Bermuda grass that has snuck into the bed. It was almost a grass bed........
Once I got the fishing line grass out of the dusty dry soil, I decided this was a good spot to sink the spider mum and went and got the shovel and the mum. The soil was loose and easy to spade up, making the placement of the rootball easy. THAT will be a neat surprise next year when it returns.
Then I decided I'd at least water everything from the west edge all the way to the eastern boardwalk that leads to the nook. I had noticed those yellow daisy like plants (tag was lost, and if they aren't perennial, I enjoyed their perpetual blooming all this time) that looked suspiciously like lemon yellow pyrethrums but the leaves were wrong were drooping in the concrete planter that I constantly tuck things into when they don't set down invasive roots. Eventually something will take to these pots, including the one with one end missing to sort of seal up the open end and I will be happy. Or I will stretch a pantyhose over the end to hold in the soil and get it over with.........
Did I tell ya'll that I had one of those whacky moments last week? A customer came in last week looking for me and wanted to know if we had planting bags for mailboxes. ummmmm noooo, we didn't and I kinda knew what she was talking about, but she had seen them at some overpriced nursery somewhere and wanted to do something like it herself only not pay the exorbant price for doing it and thought mums would look neat draped over her mailbox. I thought that was a neat idea too and I decided to give her ideas of alternatives. How about an old pillow case sewed up on the end, slit open to slip soil and plants into the ends and draped over? No sewing machine. Ok, how about a polyester laundry mesh bag that was just cinched tightly with the rope at one end, two cuts on either end to allow soil and plants to be slipped into and it wouldn't rot and the water would leak out but the soil would stay....she wasn't keen on that either but we were getting close. In the mean time we had walked to the households aisle and were looking for laundry bags, mesh bags, something to plant mums into and drape over a mail box when we came across polyester clothespins bags that had rivet holes with wire hooks for hanging onto the line and the bags were rectangular, the openings stayed open because they had support in the edgings and the wires from the two rivetted holes could be removed and a nylon rope could be threaded into these holes, knotted and hung across the mailbox.
she was game. I liked the idea too, and picked up two bags of my own and a length of nylon rope I cut after I cut her some. We then made our way back to the nursery and she wanted me to help her pick out some mums for the bags. I picked colors she wasn't into (she was going for matching the trim on her house) and settled on some beefy plants that were a beautiful rust orange and a deep burgandy that somehow complimented the rust orange. I choose white and purple myself and placed my stuff in my stash place for when I clocked out and bought stuff.
It was a good idea, but it doesn't quite work the way we wanted it to. But that's not to say it doesn't totally work, because despite that my ropes would be too long and could just be shortened up with knots, the long bags DO hold the soil and roots of the plants very well, they're just LONGER than we anticipated and the holes turned out to be in the wrong place. they're on the side, and for the bag to hang right the holes would need to be at the front or back of the bag. After I put soil into the bags and slipped the mums (white and purple into each bag, making two bags of white and purple mums sticking out all obvious) into them, and watered them, I realized there was nowhere to hang them.
They wouldn't hang right over my huge mailbox, and I liked the idea of a bag of flowers so much I did something insane. I draped one set of ropes over the bars on the gate on my side of the driveway, looping the ropes over the bars and hung one bag over one bar, then I looped the other bag over another bar on the gate and adjusted the two bags on the gate and decided it was alright. Kinda OBVIOUS, but hey, I live on a deadend and no one hardly would notice. And next year since the mums won't have a prayer's chance of returning from exposure this winter, I will yank them out by their roots and compost them, and plant WAVE petunia's in the bags and THAT will look wild once they start growing..............
Now fast forward to now. A few days ago I was bouncing around under the scratchy leaves of my fig tree harvesting the most incredibly sweet figs I have ever in my life eaten or tasted. These have hung quietly for a few days in the cold nights and pleasant days and gotten a sweetness that is almost unreal. Even the wasps haven't discovered them and I was bending the limbs down to gently pluck them from the leaves they grew next to when I heard my girls barking. I peeked thru the leaves (you couldn't see me as the limbs of the fig were bent to where they obscured me from the driveway) and saw it was just the farquahar that lives across the driveway making his daily walk up the driveway to check his mailbox. He didn't see me but since his evil little rat terrier was walking with him, Peanut is such a little shit when he's around his "master" he tries to bite Rose or Sugar and acts all protective and jealous despite the neglect this guy puts on this little dog.
I hear Peanut attacking Rose, then Sugar and then hear my neighbor laughing at it all when he literally gasped and said "where the hell did THESE come from?????!!!??? She's got FLOWERS hanging off the GATE????? Good gawd the woman is totally flower insane" and I took that as my cue and stepped from out of nowhere and scared the bejezus outa him and said "why you KNOW you're living across from the madgardener.........and since I've planted up to the edge of the driveway much to your horror, I figure I will plant vertically now.........soon you will see all sorts of things growing almost out of midair.... PEANUT, get away from my Rose and Sugar!!" and I growled at the little bastage and ran at him and he booked off because he knows my foot is close behind his cahone's. I will drop kick the little shit for his biting and mean ways on my good girls. But I got a surprise. Sugar was RUNNING at Peanut and teasing him. I almost fell on the ground in laughter.
After Jerry got over his shock of seeing me appear outa nowhere, he grumbled towards me and I disappeared again, which unnerved him again. ahhhh I've discovered his Achilles heel!!!
He waddled on up the driveway, Peanut snarling and chasing Sugar back towards the gate until I called out to her to come to me, and I put the figs on the railing of the deck and went back to yard stuff. Fill up the trench with water that is along side the BBQ pit fountain, scoop out the pawlonia tree leaves and pods from the water. Then water the garden around the perimeter of the fountain. Pull the hose and water the Wide Brim hosta under the Vitex bush, water the Little Sweetie solidago I planted at the edge of the western lilac bed. Water the Diablos ninebark, the Wine and Roses weigelia, the Lorepedilum, the tired pot of orange zinnia angustifolia's, the crape myrtles I plugged under the other crape myrtles and zebra grasses. Drag the hose more and water the huge pot of mums that are finally opening up and wowing me. Water the magnolia and the pots of stuff I unloaded again.
Drag the hose around the fig tree out to the driveway and start watering things that are crispy. I have planted too many things and see it's overwhelming. Water the asters first. Then the other plot of Little Sweetie, and the Crispa spirea I moved. (which was a good thing or I would have lost it), move down a bit, tugging the 300 foot of hose out further to make it easier and water all the pots in the thinning jungle of Cleome and Helianthus that I can pull and cut down now. Water the pot of Tequila Sunrise coreopsis that has three flowers on it. The pot of Gaura, the pot of achillea, the broken pot of mums that are peeking out of the dry soil.....water the pot of sedums (yes, even they're dry) and the huge pot of three lilac's I planted together that sits quietly waiting until I cart it to a perfect spot next year and plug them all into a good hole and hope they all three grow into a strange and beautiful bush with three colors in it......
Drag the hose down the drive and water the concrete pot that was incredible this year. Water the fiberglass pot that has black eyed susan's in it still. Move past the car and water the containers and pots that line the sidewalk that leads to the wooden walkway. Find the peony that I forgot about from Mary Emma's, stop what I am doing (I am SOOOOO spacy!!<G>) go find the shovel, duck under the foliage of the Glory Bower, Sorbaria, Cornelian cherry, baby dogwood and Blue Egnima salvia and chunk a spot next to the other peony under all that and plant the rootball.
Go back to the hose and water the newly planted peony. Drench the bare spot where Sugar has dug out so much I fear the poor pulmonaria is long gone and won't ever return. Water the Pink Panda strawberry plants still in their pots. Find the varigated Weigelia that is hidden by newly sprouted Cleome and water it. NOW I am distracted and drag the hose back down the driveway, and stand looking at the tangle of fallen false coreopsis. My mind is made up.
Rose has long abandoned me as I'm obviously intent on messing with the hose and the water much to her dismay. Sugar has long abandoned me to do dastardly things that I should be watching out for to reprimand her, but I am now focased on the debris in front of me. I started pulling out the dry eight foot stalks of false coreopsis, hearing hundreds of seeds falling in the dry and crispy bed below. Oy vey, I will have millions of them sprouting next spring......... Now I am intent on just removing these things. ALL of them. I pull, bang their little fat roots against the landscape timbers to loosen any soil and lay them on the concrete sidewalk behind me. I find tired, red, knobby stems of 4's hiding under the tangle of these plants. I pull them out too and pile them up.
Discover a woody, resistant vine of trumpet vine, and it almost tears me in half pulling it out of the soil. I hear a sickening thunk deep in the raised bed, I have not removed it, I've only stimulated it for next rains.........sigh....Keep pulling and thunking soil and piling. Then I find the Korean spirea has shoots further into the eastern bed than even I realized and with a quick decision, I pull at the stem. GOOD LORD!! A runner root reveals itself and I get three seperate stems rising up from a root that lies just inches beneath the loose rich soil. This will take longer than I thought.
My hair has started coming down around the neck, and seeds and debris has begun attaching to the wisps. My hat is inside as I didn't feel I needed it, and the sweat is stinging my eyes. Ok, gather my faculties about me, step on the four foot pile of debris behind me on the dog run and see that a portion of the bed is bare. A HUGE portion of the bed. So I stop, gather up the pile of stems and branches and carry them to the pasture just past the fence and throw it into the weeds. There will be false coreopsis to spring up there next year and 4's..........good. They'll give the thistles and possible poppies (I doubt it as the poppies were all pulled up when they were thru) a run for their money next spring.
Grab another fig from the upper branches I missed and pop it into my mouth, drink some icy cold water from the hose and decide I've done enough for now. It's almost dark.
Sugar has gotten tired of her tirade and I hope she hasn't done any damage to beds in the back that I am working on right now. She comes inside without any pleading and begging, Rose looking at me like I'm insane and darting in front of us both almost causing us to fall onto each other. I look like some wild woods woman.....seeds, crispy leaves and twigs are entwined in my hair and braid and my face is streaked with dirt. I had to laugh. but now the bed has started to reveal that I have more room for plants than I would have figured, and I have decided to do something I haven't done in years. I am going to clean out the debris this year, and in the cleaned spaces, plant the asters that are in pots, up front. I am also pulling up on half of the Korean Spirea, checking on the life of the two Chinese almond bushes, rip out the spent stems of the Cleome, and after I move all the pots into the driveway, mow everything up to the edges of the raised beds. I am also relocating the stepping stones and rearranging the pots of dianthus and phlox and starting on the wisteria extension. When I am finished, I will have a pile of debris that will amaze even me, the beds will be naked for the first time in 8 years and I will have a better idea of what I can and cannot do from here.
Only then will I put those ten bags of soil in. I might even have room for the tree peonies up front once I clean out all the mess. This is going to be fun. I will keep ya'll posted on progress as it occurs. And there's still the hilarious episode that will reveal itself to me when I bring in the tens and tens of cacti, succulents and tropicals before the frost comes next week. Everyone has endured cold evenings and mild days, but the forecast for next week appears it might finally frost up here.
thanks for allowing me to ramble and talk about what I love. madgardener up on the ridge, back in fairy holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee zone 7, Sunset zone 36