I'm a slave to my garden this year (as I am every year) — but this year I have reached a new level of obsession.
Hub-Russ often accuses me of being high-maintenance, but this year it’s the garden that’s turning out to be high-maintenance.
And yet, fool that I am, I can’t stop!
I think one reason I’m over-zealous this summer is that last year, at this time, I had a new book coming out, and spent most of the summer with my editor and designer.
I’m making up for it now, though. I can't go a day without looking for a plant to rescue.
Poor purple coneflower? Check! Rotting Rudbeckia? Oh, yeah! Cooked coreopsis? Uh-huh!
Although I'm a little partial to perennials, I'm not a snob to annuals either. Zapped zinnias? Right! Marginal marigolds? Can do. Pitiful portulaca? Sure, why not?
But my favorite this year, and one plant that was in perfectly fine health, and still marked down, is the lovely Lily of the Nile.
Not Lily of the Valley (as several gardener friends have questioned.)
It’s a typical lily with long, slender, green leaves, but the flowers are all bunchy-looking and dark indigo. In fact, I bought three of them.
Yep. Give me your poor, your wilted, your dried up, your cast-offs.
I will dead-head, prune, fertilize, plant, spray, pray and water them all. I’m not picky, but I do love a good bargain—which is why I lurk around those $3, $5 and $7 bins. I’ve already gone through one garden hose this year and now the second one is showing signs of the same wear and tear: a leaky nozzle and small holes from friction on the concrete driveway.
I’ve even fought unrelenting drought, scorching heat, buzzing bees and fire ants; but I am not giving up!
When we moved to our patio home almost five years ago, I had visions of a lush green garden with perennials, annuals, unique bushes and small trees.
I’m almost there. Over time, we’ve had to remove some diseased bushes—three boxwoods and five Indian hawthorns, to be exact.
Russell, bless his aching heart AND back, removed the last of them several weeks ago.
He overheard me on the phone hiring a handyman to do this gargantuan job in one day’s time.
But, loving a challenge (look who he’s married to,) Russell jumped at the chance. He said he’d do it in half the time, but with slightly more pay.
He dug, sweated, dug some more, sweated some more, and finally yanked out the remaining bushes, roots and all.
But wait, there’s more: then he removed all of the landscape material — a horrid combination of what appeared to be tar paper, insulation and woven hair, supposedly used to keep out the weeds.
Disgusting! It also had grown into the ground with ten years’ worth of mulch on top of it.
He finished in record-breaking time — but let’s don’t talk about his record-breaking headache, backache and muscle strain.
This was when I really geared up my hobby because the ground was now workable and healthy. And yes, I paid him, true to my promise — but I doubt it was worth it. He’s already said he’d never do that again!
There's something about July, besides it being our daughter, Katie's birthday and my parent's anniversary (both, July 14th) that makes me want to be outside, in the middle of my garden.
Of course, I'm out there earlier than July, like, in the spring, planting herbs.
I even planted sunflowers (seeds) at the end of my driveway. Then, it was vegetables (in pots). But that’s another sad story: I had one beautiful zucchini but lost it to what appeared to be root-rot.
Same thing for my yellow squash that never produced anything. The first few cucumbers were fine, then were curled up and yellow. Bell peppers are so-so, banana peppers are prolific. The eggplant has done quite well. And my cherry tomatoes never disappoint.
Yep, our budget is blown on potting soil, peat moss, perlite, Miracle-Gro, water (as in the water bill), more pots, more yard décor and more tools.
But I am HAPPY!!! And don't even get me started on the 10,000 plus photographs I've taken this year. And tomorrow, once again, I'll start my rescue mission. If my back and wallet hold out, our yard is going to look fantastic!
Happy gardening, everyone!