Friday, June 3, 2016

How Does My Garden Grow?

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Three weeks ago this coming Monday, Mr. L had an accident that dislocated his shoulder. In that one instant, our entire summer went on hold.  Of course, we didn't know that at the time. We were unloading the car and he had hands full, and I had even more stuff I was lugging, and down he went on the front step.

At first he said he was okay. He just needed to sit down. But then when 20 minutes went by and his arm still hurt, I convinced him to go to Urgent Care. We weren't even halfway there when he said, "I think I need to go to the ER."

Boy, did we luck out. He was immediately given an ER cubicle and within less than an hour we had the verdict. Of course, Mr. L didn't know what it meant, but I did because I'd once written a story with a character who had a dislocated shoulder.  He was in agony, but he said, "It hurts," because that's just his way. They knocked him out, put the arm back in the socket and said, "Six to eight weeks--unless you need surgery." (We find out today.)

So the rest of the summer is now on hold. Even the garden, he said.

Whoa! DEAL BREAKER!  Okay, we can't put in the annuals we ALWAYS put in around the pool, but there was no way I was going to go the entire summer without flowers.

My veggie garden.  : (
We're now three weeks behind and our yard is a wreck. By now, Mr. L would have turned over my veggie garden and we would have planted sweet peas, tomatoes, and potatoes.  This year it's a weed patch. (BTW, my weed sprayer is NOT filled with herbicide; it's filled with double strength vinegar (available from Amazon). I don't put poison in my garden or on my grass.)

Luckily, our perennials are blooming. We've already had two of the rhododendrons bloom, and now our purple puff balls. (Allium.) Alas, we lost three rhodos and an azalea due to winter. But our clematis is thriving, despite the fact we got rid of our old arbor (where it kinda sorta lived) and built a new one (the white one above) just before Mr. L's accident.  My brother helped us (well, me) put the stakes in so it won't blow away (again). (Okay, he did most of the work and I helped.) The clematis voluntarily climbed the fence (which it never did before and we always had to coax it to climb the old arbor) and is doing fabulous. I expect triple the flowers this year.

The only HEALTHY rhubarb plant in my yard. The rest are tiny.
My mother had a HUGE stand of rhubarb and after she passed away last summer, I knew that if I didn't relocate some of it, I'd never have rhubarb crisp or chutney ever again. But I think I went to far transplanting it, because her stand is next to nothing this year, and only one of the five plants I relocated has thrived.

The roses aren't doing much of anything yet, but I'm hopeful we'll have something beautiful to look at in the next month or so.

I knew Mr. L (who is a flower nut) would NOT be happy with no annuals, so on our errands Wednesday, I took us (since he can't drive) to two garden centers (calling them nurseries makes me think they'll be babies growing in the dirt) where we bought a bunch of stuff -- if we can't do the garden around the pool, we can at least fill our urns and big pots with flowers. Of course, there were a few stumbling blocks.  One of the pots had BEAUTIFUL yellow self-seeded pansies (from last year), and Mr.L wanted me to rip them out for petunias. (I LOVE pansies--much more than I love petunias, so in they stayed. I was, after all, doing all the work!)  One of the pots had self-seeded lettuce, too. "Rip it out!" he said. Nope, I just planted the new seeds around them.

Self-Seeded leaf lettuce.
So now we at least have flowers in our urns and when we sit in our enclosed porch, we can see the four urns filled with colorful petunias, pinks, nasturtiums.

Aren't my self-sown yellow pansies GORGEOUS?
The landscaper we use will come and weed the front and back flower beds (and oy! I had better sell a heck of a lot of books to pay for it), but we will have a tidy yard once again. But I can't wait the 2-3 weeks on their timeline. I will have to weed my veggie patch myself otherwise we won't be eating tomatoes until late October. But it will be a small price to pay.

Mr. Lonely Zucchini
Although ... I'm giving up on certain plants because I can't bear it when the groundhogs, bunnies, and other critters eat them. This year I bought a single zucchini plant. We'll see if it will tolerate growing in a container.

Having flowers and enjoying them is a very simple pleasure in life, one I wasn't about to give up no matter what our circumstances.

More stuff to plant.
What have you got growing in your garden?

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