Apr 14, 2010

Welcome Victim #4!

The poor Alberta Spruce. If only it knew its fate before I placed it in my cart at The Home Depot today. It probably would have toppled itself over, broken off the main stem and gotten it over with right then and there. Instead, it's now home, planted and facing the distinct possibility of a slow, torturous death.

But let's back up to the beginning. Two years ago, I cajoled my dad, my mom, my husband and one of my sons into creating a new sidewalk, down the side of our just-finished garage (no more carport - yay!) and also extending out to encircle our big honkin' Magnolia tree. It isn't quite a perfect axis from tree trunk to my kitchen window overlooking the backyard, but the tree is 40 feet tall and the window isn't going anywhere. It's close enough.

We just about killed ourselves creating the sidewalk, but in the final analysis, it's been a really nice addition to the landscaping. As soon as the sidewalk was done, we eagerly put in landscape edging and created symmetrical rose beds to flank this walk. Knockout roses in red and pink create perfect formal symmetry along this walk...at least in my mind's eye. I also bought two Alberta Spruce to set at the entrance to this walk. One has survived nicely, while the other one died, and was replaced, and replaced again...and now again.

Truth be told, the left side of the bed gets a bit soggy if we get a lot of rain - the ground slopes that direction and the sidewalk creates a barrier, so it pools and puddles. And we are prone to get monsoon-esque rains every now and again here in the south. If not in the spring, then in the fall when hurricanes rip up the coastline, they also move in enough to bring us a deluge...sometimes they last for days.

So the plants on the left side of the bed have suffered a bit: the roses are not quite as big as half the size of their counterparts across the sidewalk. And the righthand side Alberta Spruce has had three (now four) mates in two years.

Lesser mortals would give up. But I have decided I can outwit and overcome nature. Sheer force of will and all that. I spent time mounding up the soil under the roses on that side, so they are held a little higher. Fresh soil and lots of soil conditioner is now holding this Alberta Spruce aloft. And if all else fails, I'm saving the tag and receipt - I can always try with a fifth one.

When I finished planting the poor new spruce, I adapted this Flylady recipe for garlic lime chicken to make butterflied pork cutlets - yummy. (Yes, they were on the weekly menu for yesterday, but my family went AWOL at dinner time last night. Husband went to an investors meeting in Brentwood, daughter attended an Anatomy & Physiology class at MTSU with a friend (her first exposure to college life); and half my male progeny wanted to take advantage of cheap eats night at Kirkenburt's Smokehouse Grill. I wasn't about to cast pearls before absent swine, so the other son and I rustled up some burgers and I saved the dish for tonight - it got rave reviews. Thanks to the Recipes forum at Dave's Garden for turning me onto this awesome, fast recipe.