Garden Tour Prep: I Need a Vacation from my Vacation

1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3

I had a crazier than normal crazy moment and invited my high school classmates over for lemonade and cookies as part of our #XL reunion in less than ten days.  I didn’t get several of my beds mulched before the winter as I was dividing and moving plants to theme beds when I ran out of warm weather. With all the rain my flower beds are full of grass and weeds.  With the tremendous amount of weeding and mulching left, I hired some help a couple of weekends ago as my classmates will be visiting soon.  The problem with hired help is that they aren’t familiar with where your plants are.  And if they aren’t a plant lover, really don’t care what they pull up or break off even if marked with a plant tag.  Apparently they have some vendetta against cone flowers as I had a couple of new varieties called Pow Wow cone white in my Deshler High and Echinacea Hot Papaya in my Auburn bed marked with two plant tags and they still wiped them out.  I cleared around one of my oriental lilies so it would be safe only to come back later to see a half inch stub.

 That Sunday I accidently got in-between Patches and Blackie having a knock-down drag-out fight over a mole of all things. Patches was playing with it and Levi grabbed it and when he dropped it, Blackie picked it up and Patches decided she wanted it back. I thought I had them separated with a garage sweep broom when Patches growled at Blackie and my hand got in between. I had heavy duty leather work gloves on, but they found the only hole at the end of a finger and slashed open the end of my middle finger. So I’ve been weeding one handed since then.  There’s something about a sore finger that attacks hidden objects, I kept hitting things and breaking it open. After sticking the end of a clothes hanger in it, I decided it was time to visit my doctor as I was determined to get an infection in it. He gave me an antibiotic and gel antibiotic prescriptions and also a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis booster. Friday I developed a horrible sore throat and fever and a huge knot on my arm.  The sore throat and fever lasted through the weekend.

Last week, Verborie, my high school classmate hired her ex-husband, Leonard.  Now, Leonard knows the difference between flowers and weeds.  We’ve gotten a lot cleaned this past weekend.  I also started a week’s vacation hoping to get a lot done before our reunion which is now less than a week and counting. Easter Sunday afternoon found me cleaning up my African violets, cleaning the glass shelves and watering them before placing back on the shelf. When placing one back on the shelf, I hit the corner of the glass with my sore finger and dropped the plant on the floor, water and planting mix all over the floor.  I picked up as much as I could of the planting mix to put back in the pot, and decided I would have to let it dry before cleaning up with the vacuum cleaner. I didn’t feel like getting electrocuted on top of what’s happened already.

With severe storms expected Monday night, I decided I needed to plow my garden space before taking the tiller off of the tractor and putting the mower on. I also needed to plow up an area along the dry creek so I can’t get my oak leaf hydrangeas planted.  First I need to connect up the new wire I ran for the underground fence.  The old section had too many breaks and also was hit by lightening and needed to be replaced.  When running a new section, you can’t place it near the old wire as it will cancel the signal from the new wire.    I got all of the connections made and started plowing along the creek; when I backed up into the bottom corner, I got too close to the new wire and cut it.  Patch number one completed, I went back to plowing and some how got a small cedar wrapped around the tines.  I thought after plowing the creek area, my garden and Mom’s garden, it would be gone, but it wasn’t.  It was at this point I realized that I was missing my Woman’s Work pigskin glove that I was wearing on my good hand.  While plowing I had laid it in the cup holder and it must have been knocked off while going under a tree along the creek, probably when I picked up the cedar tree. I retraced all of my misadventures, but must have plowed it under. If it is in my garden area, Patches will find it and return it after she gets through chewing on it. She has this thing for leather gloves.  Pulling out the cedar will have to wait until the next time the tiller gets used.

Next chore: weed eating.  I have a 6 hp electric start walk behind weeder that I got after doing a Superwoman off of a ladder at Mom’s house about 12 yrs ago. It will cut through just about anything except barb wire, so when I got too close to another section of the new fence, it was a peace of cake taking out a 2 foot section.  Two more connections for a total of three.  Did I say that the weeder will handle anything but barb wire? I found out that it doesn’t do well on a stack of fieldstone as it broke off the strings.  After replacing the strings and restarting, I got about 20 feet when it ran out of gas. By this time I was also out of gas and decided that I would finish it up later.

The next item on the list was mulching the beds that Leonard and I had cleaned earlier. I hauled a scoop of sawdust to Mom’s to use for starting her sweet potato slips.  I got another scoop and mulched an area and headed down for another load. As I hit the pile of sawdust the tractor stopped and won’t go forward or back.  I called my local John Deere service told him it was running but wouldn’t go forward or back. He said it sounded like I had pulled a wire loose and wanted to know if I’d been going though something tall?  Does Chinese privet count?  And my high school class is coming Saturday for a garden tour, and I haven’t mowed my three acres yet. He told me that they would be out first thing in the morning unless we are having a bad storm which is predicted for tonight through Wednesday. It was at this point I asked a really stupid question “do I need to cover it up in case it rains?”  He assured me it would be okay to get one rain on it, but a hail storm might do some damage.  I bet he got a good laugh out of that one after hanging up.

Tractor dead in the sawdust, I turned my attention to planting some of the potted plants sitting by the garage door.  I had an iris in bloom called ‘Gnu Blues’ that I decided would be good for my Auburn areas along the driveway.  Digging down about four inches I hear a tunk. I backed up a few inches and tunk again. After making the hole over a foot wide, I finally found the edge of this boulder and had to get a bar to lift it up.  One handed, it was too heavy to roll out of the hole.   I would need to let the tractor scoop lift it out after JD service gets it moving again. Moving to another location I was able to get the iris planted.  Before calling it a day, I found Blackie pawing at a hanging basket I had brought out of the garage earlier to plant petunias in. Apparently a lizard had crawled into the watering trough in the bottom and she had dumped out the planning mix trying to get at the lizard.

The day wasn’t a total disaster; I picked my first quart of strawberries and ate the whole thing while cleaning them, and found my favorite iris ‘Starship Enterprise’ in bloom.