Jun 21, 2011

Getting my gardening groove back.

Summer is officially here and so is the urge to garden.  Actually, the urge started last weekend, along with rain in the form of intermittent downpours.

A dedicated gardener gardens in the rain.  A delusional gardener is surprised when she gets dirty or wet while doing so.  But it takes a heaping helping of insanity (and a wellspring of optimism) to create a new bed where Bermudagrass recently grew, and hope for anything other than a really nice stand of Bermudagrass to grow.

I did all three last weekend - which probably qualifies me for a 72-hour stint in the mental ward (and if they'd let me sleep in, I might sign up for a long weekend.)  But planting in the rain is great for plants, even if it's a soggy proposition for the planter.  Saturday's 20% chance of rain turned into an all-afternoon rain-a-thon; when the rain let up every so often,  I scampered outside to plant and transplant things. And was repeatedly surprised to find myself soaked and my shoes and shovel covered in mud and muck. Duh.

With Middle Son's help, I divided my water lilies into half, and planted each in a nice big tub, and sunk them in the middle of the pond.   (When I say help, I mean he watched from the bank, and asked me if I had seen the snapping turtles - yes, plural - or water snake.  He's helpful like that.)  Now I will watch and wait for them to grow and bloom and beautify our pond.  Several pots of purple irises now grace one steep corner of the pond; dozens of Louisiana irises were installed (with bona fide help from that same son) around another long stretch of pond bank. That will make Mr. Official happy since he won't have to mow the steep patches.  My gratification is delayed until next spring when they bloom.

While moving things from there to here, I tucked in Heuchera and several hosta divisions in a new shady bed that middle son and the Mantis tiller created for me, then edged them with caladium bulbs sent to me by Bill at CaladiumBulbs4Less (thank you Bill!  Pics coming as soon as these pretty plants are up and flourishing!)  The area had some straggling Bermudagrass before it was tamed by the Mantis, so we'll see - I could be dog-cussing this decision the rest of the summer.  But it is just a temporary bed; it needs to be deeper and swoopier (if that's a word) before I will call it a real border.

Two hydrangeas (a new dwarf oakleaf and a deciduous hydrangea) are  now installed along the new fence row; the remainder of the perennials I acquired back in April are planted under an oak tree near the driveway - again, they're in a holding pattern.  The bed has potential but needs some serious rearranging in the fall.

After a few years' abstinence from any serious or heartfelt gardening, it feels really good to throw myself into digging into the soil and tucking plants into new homes here at our new homestead.  Need more proof my gardening mojo is back?  Look what we brought over last week:

Little Dog isn't so little anymore...
I might just have to bring the fig and lilac that flanked it at the old place. (One was historically accurate: lilacs were planted for odor control back when an outhouse was really an outhouse.  The fig just seemed like a good choice - you never know when you might need a fig leaf for something or other.)

Happy planting,