Living With Limitations: Trickster

Living With Limitations: Trickster

Hellebore niger, Christmas rose, freezing its little petals off

Trickster

 Coyote

For the past few years Coyotes have been making a comeback to this area, especially along the nearby river bottoms. On occasion I have heard a call from them that sounds as though it is nearby. I have reason to believe they have been on my property, even inside my garden, pretty sure they have come at night to get a drink from my waterfall. If they are, indeed, that close to us then they are probably on the front porch as well, making sure the enticement of cat food was not left out. I never get to actually see one, but hear them and realize just how intelligent they are in figuring us humans and our habits out.

 

Monsters under the Bed

I am beginning to think the old American Indiana tale of Trickster Coyote is true. What else could account for me finding plant catalogs under my bed? Surely I would not do that to myself. Surely I would not plant such obvious temptation so near as I rest for a few minutes before going hooking up to my sleep apnea mask. It has to be that wily old coyote playing tricks on me. He is stealing incoming catalogs from the mailbox and placing them where I cannot help but see the cover as I slip into bed. That is downright evil to place such temptation before a gardener who swore off garden catalogs and discarded all his old treasured catalogs only late last fall.

 

Cover of Plant Delights Nursery

Catalogs

The first colorful temptation was a hardcopy spring catalog from Plant Delights Nursery, laying with enough cover sticking out that I had to pick it up if only to discard it to the trash can. In the motion of tossing the catalog I happened to open a page. It truly just happened and was not a conscious act. The catalog opened and I found myself scanning the pages, only to get hit solidly between the eyes with absolute-must-have-plants. There went ever resolve I had made to wean myself from purchasing any more perennials for my garden. On page 39 there was a hardy Mum, Chrysanthemum ‘Matchsticks’ (Matchsticks Hardy Garden Mum) with straw-yellow and red tipped petals. Toward the end of the catalog was a Little Bluestem grass named ‘Twilight Zone” for its powder blue new growth that ages to lavender. In between those two were several other plants that called to me, but these two drew me in like a giant magnet of garden lust.

 

Cover of Rare Find Nursery Catalog

In week two the sabotage was repeated. I was beginning to wonder about the security of my home. How was this coyote getting into my home? The sanctity of my bedroom? There beside my Plant Delights catalog was an aching pull into the depths of temptation. Rare Find Nursery was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. My intention was to purchase a few shrubs this year and here was a catalog specializing in trees and shrubs. Featured on the front page was a new Calycanthus. This species of native shrubs has a special place in my heart and garden. I have several cultivars and hybrids and am always on the lookout for the next rare Carolina All Spice.  There it was, Calycanthus floridus var purpureus “Burgundy Spice’ with its chocolate brown foliage that does not fade as summer heat comes on. Oh, how my heart and wallet ached, longing to order this one gallon size shrub.

 

I have reached the conclusion that Trickster Coyote is not only intelligent and crafty, but a lover of gardens as well, and will not, cannot allow, me to suffer the stress of not ordering plants when spring peeks around the corner.

First edit on my forthcoming book is rambling along toward its completion. 

Life With Limitations: Stirring

Life With Limitations: Stirring

Stirring

 

Standing at the window looking out through the February gloom, the rain coming down day after day, it would be easy to let that gray overcast creep into my attitude. There may not have been a light shining outside, but I am a gardener and I know where to find my source of SAD mood-altering light (Seasonal Affective Depression), along with the treatments for symptoms of early onset cabin fever. I grabbed an umbrella and headed for the greenhouse.

 

I rolled back the door, stepped inside, closed the door behind me, and there I stood in another world. It was so quiet you could hear a mouse peeing on a wool rug, only the sound of misting rain on the roof. I stood there surrounded by the quiet and the aloneness. Not even a cat had followed me to the greenhouse needing attention. I do have to carry my phone in case of an emergency, but sound is turned off. I turned the furnace up, turned the overhead lights, paused and took a deep breath. This was waking up in another world.

 

There were containers of all sizes on the floor beneath the benches that I had moved in late last fall. The intent was to give them some extra time to put on a bit more growth, then awaken early after dormancy giving me a head start with container arrangements. A few containers were the original nursery pots waiting for transplanting to new containers and possible companions. Most were larger, beginning with 12 inch clay and moving up to 24 inch composite in size. Lots of possibilities to play.

 

While taking a close look I saw that my plan was working. There were green noses in the clump of Trillium nivale, two of the clematis were showing new leaves. That was just what I needed to get all excited, ready to spring into action. Then I realized there were some new rules to follow. With COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, emphysema) there are restrictions to carrying and dragging heavy containers around. This all has to be organized and thought through before jumping into action. First up, if I am going to move those containers up on to a bench to receive more light they have to be moved before I water. If I do water no walking back and forth with watering cans; get the hose out and turn on the water. Some containers I can move, but not all at one time. The larger ones I will need to leave alone and get help in moving. Pulling and pushing weight is about the same as carrying.

 

The stopping and thinking took a bit of wind from my sails, but I reminded myself that I had spent the past two years coming to grips with the reality of having this disease. Now was the time to put head work into practice if I was to take care of my health and continue to garden in my new world of limitations.

 

As it turned out, my body took care of how much I accomplished. I found I did not have the energy nor strength to lift all the containers up on to the bench. What remained would wait until another day; after all, there was no deadline on completion of the task. I could complete that tomorrow and water with the hose. The rest of the project, the large containers, can wait until my wife is in the greenhouse with me. I will say there are times when patience, asking for help, is more difficult than the doing. Then I have to continually remind myself that being hard-headed has consequences.

My latest book is in first edit now. Stay Tuned.

 

Living With Limitations: Anticipation

Living With Limitations: Anticipation

Anticipation

Hellebore x garden hybrid random seedling

 

Gardeners, or this one at least, live in a different world. Usually one of anticipation. Looking forward to that best garden ever next season, or soon as that order(s) arrives with name-your-plants. Ever the optimist even when discouraged by the present.

 

February Funk

The first week of February is here and I am sitting at my desk looking past a stand of orchids in bloom, watching it rain. The rain that has been going on for days and forecast says more rain tomorrow. Today one of the things I anticipate is seeing Noah and his famous Ark glide past my patio as it floods. I awoke to lightning and thunder this morning, along with warm near record breaking temperatures. How can one enjoy those temperatures with a walk in the garden if Noah’s Ark keeps getting between me and my garden?

 

A strange kind of anticipation.

For me, it is a strange kind of anticipation as I am working on deadlines for a feature article and a one page story, both with photos, to be published in State by State Indiana Gardening magazine. There is always a lead time so what I write this gloomy, rainy, day will not appear until the May/June issue. Photos will, of course, come from previous years summer gardens. While I may not be able to get out into my garden, I sure can do a lot of gardening in my mind.

 

Winter Aconite adding some sunshine to the winter garden.

Now

All of the lessons about practicing being in the present, living our lives now, paying attention as we go, awakening from our dream state; all those psychological states of mind are instructions most of us are aware. We may, or may not, practice what we know but we are aware. Not easily consistently accomplished, and especially for gardeners who seem to always have one foot in the future. Anticipating that next plant, that next season when things will be better, we are confident for we have found the magic wand of the present to wave over the

garden’s future.

 

Waning Wand

I am finding that my wand is waning on me of late. As my garden and I have aged together we have decided that the magic of just one more plant is not necessarily a wise answer. Yes, I will still purchase some plants, but my magic comes from analyzing my gardens as I write and describe my garden to others. I can look over many years of photos of my garden and the individual plants for the months of May and June, see all the lessons presented to me. Lessons I can use to keep from waving my wand over and over and getting the same results as in the past. I can have the magic of hindsight and foresight at the same time.

 

My Anticipation

My anticipation for this year’s garden is to make what I have more effective by moving plants around to create better combinations. After each change, I anticipate sitting on a garden bench and critiquing my work and enjoying the reality of being there, so I suppose you could say I anticipate not anticipating.

Keep Reading. Won’t be long now before the announcement. 

Living With Limitations: Counting

Living With Limitations: Counting

Arum italicum, green in the winter

Counting

 

Taking Time

While daydreaming about my garden, all that I want and hope to do come good weather, if and when it ever arrives, perhaps it is time to take timeout. Not the kind of timeout your mom gave you, but perhaps a pause in focus. It could even help with cases of cabin fever that may be developing. I decided to take some time out to do a bit of counting. Not the kind of counting Scrooge Mc Duck does, but rather other ways in which I am indeed a wealthy man.

 

Counting Health

I have my first appointment of the new year with my cardiologist this week. While sitting in the waiting room I will get to see what I always see while I wait my turn. Patients much worse off than I. Does that cure my health problems? No. But, I do get to see reasons to be thankful for where I am in the progression of my diseases. Some of the people in that room, perhaps sitting next to me, will not be there when I have my next appointment. I am still here, and in the upright position, when some of my friends can no longer say that. While I am not exactly overcome with an exuberance of happiness with my diagnoses, I sure am glad the warnings came early enough that I have time remaining to garden.

 

Counting Talents

When I look inside to see what I may have to contribute to the world around me I find I am fortunate beyond belief. While my writing may not be on the level of Conrad or Faulkner, I tell myself that all things are relative. I do get to express myself and occasionally I find it gets read. That is a great honor, and truth be known, writing if far more satisfying to me than perhaps the reader.

Related to my writing are requests for me to speak on occasion. How many people get the opportunity to tell tall tales about their gardening, to have baskets filled with opinions, and get paid for expressing them. When I give a presentation, it takes every ounce of what I have to give and when the last hand has been shook, the last hug given, there is nothing left. It is a double edge sword in that speaking has both exhaustion on one side and satisfaction on the other.

 

I still find the time and strength to gather up my tripod, camera and notebook along with a cup of hot tea, and head up the hillside into my garden. The photos I capture are like portraits of my children. I have raised them from seed or transplant to adulthood and now, with a parent’s pride, I get to show them off, perhaps brag just a bit.

Combing the visual with text and speech completes the illustrating of my garden, of sharing. We both know a garden is not a “true” garden until it is shared.

Time for afternoon Naps

Counting Gardening

Gardening as way of life has changed for me, but I am still out there gardening, weather and doctor’s appointments permitting. Of all the good things in life I have to celebrate I count gardening at the top of my list. Even when I cannot actively garden with my spade as companion, I can still walk the paths and be a part of, know a connection to, the earth where I am told I came from and will return.

 

Tallying Up the Counting

I may not be able to swim in gold coins as does Scrooge Mc Duck, but I can wade a shallow stream of wealth. No, I cannot purchase every plant I want, bring home the containers I covet, or purchase the hardscaping, even make that pilgrimage to PA to see Longwood Gardens. But, that may not be a bad thing, for it forces discipline upon me.

Above all, I have you to share my story with. Thank you.

Keep Reading. Won’t be long now before the announcement. 

 

Living With Limitations: It Was Only Natural

Living With Limitations:

It Was Only Natural

 Hiking

Many moons ago, when I first moved to Indiana, it wasn’t long before I began hiking the woods along bluffs of the Blue River. At that time I was interested in the views and simply walking beneath the trees. Then I purchased a home about five miles from the old farmhouse I rented, still within walking distance of those Blue River bluffs. I began my nursery which had a strong element of shade loving native wildflowers and found that the more my nursery grew the less time I had to hike. Finally, the nursery grew until it was years before I would return to my hikes.

 

Yellow hellebore bud opening. First of the winter blooms

Visitors

All during the years of visitors to my nursery I would hear of the wonders of natural trails to hike in Indiana, the drifts of native flora, breathtaking vistas of stone and water. Every time I heard of these natural wonders I made mental notes to be sure and take the time to visit. Which I never did. I was always too busy growing woodland plants in my garden, talking about them, taking photos and lecturing. I made many promises to myself, and to fellow gardeners, for over twenty years. There may be a lesson about procrastination in there someplace, for I waited to resume hiking until I had health limitations on walking.

 

 

Friend

Having said that, in the dead of winter a fellow gardening friend and I found ourselves hiking a trail at Ouabache Trails Park in Vincennes, IN. While the hike was in mostly along level paths, walking became tiring for me, but at the same time, inspiring and fulfilling for my soul. All my favorites were there; a small stream meandering long sandstone cliffs that were carpeted in a quilt of soft brown fallen foliage, ferns of several species along with mosses. We were the only two humans and quiet was only broken by alternating calls of  “Look over here”.

 

Rob had hiked most of the Indiana nature preserves but wanted to return, I had not been to almost any of them, so a pact formed while we drove away and warmed up. We would return to Ouabache for another hike in spring, make a list of past hikes he had made, while I would get my mental list down on paper, and perhaps do some internet searching. We could then compare and combine notes for an agenda. Come spring and woodland wildflower time we would both be found hiking a trail in Indiana.

 

Hiking Trail at Ouabache Trails Park near Vincennes, IN

Indiana State Parks

Some of the locations that came to mind as we talked was Turkey Run State Park in Marshall, IN., McCormick’s Creek State Park in Spencer, IN, Hemlock Cliffs in English, IN, and Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell, IN, to mention just a few. As I begin to think of names of parks the list seems to grow in my mind. I am sure that if I still had a very long life to live I could not see all of the parks available.

 

Christmas fern on mossy rock at edge of stream.

Promises Fulfilled

In returning to hiking I will be keeping a couple of promises to myself. As my garden shrinks and the time I can spend active in the garden becomes less, I will have more time to spend with gardening friends. I have been so fortunate over the years to be blessed with fellow gardeners who I always enjoy seeing again, spending time with.

The place I feel most comfortable in this world is the woods, especially a woodland of my childhood where I played along small streams beneath towering cliffs covered by ferns and mosses. Paths to explore that were formed by nature, wandering and wondering between huge boulders.

What more could one want than combining the two?

Keep reading. A big event you won’t want to miss is in the works. Coming soon (well, relatively)

 

Living With Limitations: It Was Only Logical

 

Living With Limitations: It Was Only Logical

Frozen Falls

It Was Only Logical

 

Inevitable

It would seem the inevitable cannot be stopped, only delayed.

I delayed putting away Christmas decorations, both inside and out, for a full week longer than normal to see if that would help. Nope. I had friends over for dinner who were not gardeners and I did not speak of gardening or a plant all evening long. Even I did not know I could accomplish that one. All to no avail.

All the little green noses I was so overjoyed to see so early are now under the first significant snow fall of the season. Snow does make it difficult to see one inch green noses under a three inch thick blanket of snow. Before the days of climate change one could expect a winter that was winter and it was a constant companion. Now I am continually teased by yo-yo temperatures that give me a glimpse, then snows on my parade. Before I could pretend to be patient for there was no choice.

It Was Only Logical

I am afraid what little patience I may have had melted and ran down the drain like melting snow. So, logic follows that what is inevitable will come to pass. Yes, it was inevitable that I would purchase a plant (maybe two) for my garden in the coming season. I could no long delay what was to come and I placed my first order of the year, and it is only mid-January. I won’t even get to see or pick up the plants until mid-April.

For the Defense

In my defense, I met up with forces beyond my control. From the “good old days” when I owned a nursery I still receive occasional wholesale catalogs. I can no longer order twenty of this and fifty of those for a “total dollar amount order”, but I can still dream over the color photos and descriptions. This time it was a catalog of shrubs. All the dwarf, semi-dwarf colorful foliage shrubs that many of the retailers would be selling in decent sizes this coming season. I spoke of the catalog to a friend who manages a small garden center and she said “drop off the catalog and I will see what I can do”. I circled shrubs of interest, ones I already had, and gave her the catalog. Couple of weeks later she sent me a listing of shrubs she would be ordering which included many on my lust list.

Unknown witch-hazel cultivar blooming in my garden.

Oh, MY!

Oh, my. I now have access to nine of the shrubs on my lust list in three gallon sizes. I have agreed to take five when they arrive and probably will return for some or all of the other four. Fellow gardeners, that is pure, undulated, craziness for someone who has a problem carrying a heavy spade up the hill into the garden, much less dig and transplant shrubs. But, that will be in April, and today I am strong enough to carry my dreams of spring.

Visions

I found Diervilla Kodiak Orange to play companion to the D. Black transplanted last spring. Two dwarf Hydrangea, Tuff Stuff Ah-Ha, and H. Tuff Stuff Red to go with H. Little Tuff Stuff I transplanted last summer. I continue to be fired up with Spirea, and selected the new Double Play Gold, then picked another Weigela Monet Sunset to go with last years’ Midnight Wine.

Now I will be anticipating pickup of the order for the next two months.

Keep reading. A big event you won’t want to miss is in the works. Coming soon (well, relatively)

Living With Limitations: Impatient

Living With Limitations: Impatient

Little green noses of Snowdrops (Galanthus) emerging

Impatient

I keep telling myself it is far better to be patient than to become a patient. There is also the one saying it is easier to practice tranquility as a monk than when up to your unmentionables in alligators. All to say, being a gardener in the middle of winter in the mid-West can certainly tax one’s patience.

Here I am going into the second week of January and I have been ready for spring since opening my last gift at Christmas. At New Year’s celebration I had more than one glass of wine, so was not caring about spring’s arrival. I had almost, but not quiet, accepted that it was winter, just relax and think about something else like putting my tax information in order.

Walking Fern

Temptation in a Text

Then it happened. A gardening buddy located further south sent me a text with multiple photos of plants in bud, green foliage and real blooms. My toenails turned warm, my heart skipped a beat, then speeded up. The pupils in my eyes opened to the max. I wiped the drool from the screen of my cell phone, pushed down my sense of envy and returned with a polite thank you. Now he had done it. All reservations were off, my calm acceptance of 2 more months of winter flew out the window along with any tranquility I may have had. I laced up my boots, put on coat and hat and headed for my hillside garden. It is on the north side of a hill so

Foliage and buds of Helleborus foetidus

I know it is a bit later than other gardens, but I had to find something to calm my cravings.

Green is a Color

If one accepts the premise of green is a color, then my garden is not looking too shabby. I have some conifers, but not near enough. There are creeping evergreen shrubs such as Creeping Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), Partridge berry (Mitchella repens), Sweetbox, (Sarcococca hookerana var humilis) and several Epimediums to name but a few. In perennials there are Evergreen Solomon’s Seal (Disporopsis pernyi), Hellebore hybrids and species (Helleborus) throughout the garden, and new, fresh, bright green crinkly green leaves of Primula with plump buds in the middle. Several locations of Hardy Cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) with silver and green foliage, and of course, the arrowhead-shaped variegated green leaves of Black Calla (Arum italicum).

Probably only a gardener could get excited over one inch, plump blades, of emerging green noses of Snowdrops (Galanthus), or the knobby knees of Adonis pushing through the mulch.

Remiss

I would be seriously remiss if I did not include ferns such as our native Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), our Walking Fern (Camptosorus rhizophyllus), the Tassel fern (Polystichum polyblepharum) and Autumn fern (Dryopteris erythrosora). If it is a shade garden then the different species of moss must be mentioned. We have had a wet winter and mosses have never looked more fresh and bright.

We Want Blooms

I see and I am appreciative of my January garden and the days that we have clear skies and temperatures agreeable to a pleasant stroll. I am certainly glad that I remembered to transplant the delayed gratification of plants rewarding my efforts with color in the bleak winter months. Green is good. Some of the green shifts to bronze, red, copper, and darker shades to absorb the winter rays, adding to the reason for a walk.

But, having sang the praises of the color green, the wonders of colorful foliage, we all know gardeners will not be truly happy, never satisfied, unto we see the first plump bud unfold signaling the beginning of another gardening season.

We want blooms! We want blooms! We want blooms!

 

Keep reading. A big event you won’t want to miss is in the works. Coming soon (well, relatively)

Gardening with Limitations: No Promises Made

Gardening with Limitations:No Promises Made

Witch-Hazel tree in winter bloom

Not Making Any Promises

I am not making any promises to myself this year, but, I do have a mental list of dreams I have had at 3 AM while in and out of sleep.

Confucius
Both the Bible and Confucius used a version of the quote “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” I also like “stop banging your head against a brick wall.” My hard copy calendar for this year has the heading of a single word. “Adapt”. My 3 AM mantra is “Accept, Adapt, Relax” into my CPAP mask, over and over until I drift back to sleep. Of course the trick is to awaken to a world I have accepted, adapted to reality and learned to become so laid back I will need roller-skates on the back of my hat. Here I am and I have a disease, but that disease does not have me.

Visions
While some dream of dancing sugar plum fairies over the holidays I go for visions of my garden in the coming year. I can see with perfect clarity what could be, then imagine in detail what I want it to be. How I plan to “make it so”. I can see into the future of the coming year, the steps needed to see my dreams with waking eyes. My visions are in color, so there are times when it is as if I were watching a movie; then I have trouble getting back to sleep for my mind has awakened.

Reoccurring

Wintergreen in Snow

My dreams of gardening are often reoccurring, and the amazing thing is, no matter how often the same dream repeats, they never become boring (can one become bored with their own dreams?). The dreams may have the same outline, but the details are different; the colors brighter, a different shrub, a slightly different arrangement of the same plants. Perhaps a different section of the garden.
While I was working on one specific area of the garden last fall and weather forced me out before I completed my project, my dreams keep returning to that one spot left bare. I see a hibiscus with foliage the color of a summer thunderstorm, a Weigela with dark ruby red foliage and another with variegated foliage of golden sunsets. If my wallet allows, perhaps a Spirea in golden foliage and blooms. The shrubs keep floating around creating arrangements of themselves somewhat like those dancing sugarplums.

A Narrow View
There is an area in my garden that runs along a path and is narrow, making it hard to design. To complete the picture I have never been able to get anything to grow well either in reality or my dreams. Now I am seeing visions of containers. Containers revealed to me in a chance encounter at a garden center. Ella is the brand name and they will be square in outline color of teak brown. Three in different sizes, heights and all filled with ferns.

Come spring I will find the differences between reality and dreams, but for now, what would a gardener do without dreams of his next garden?

 

2019 Begins a new series of Blogs. What does one do after they find themselves living with limitations in life and in gardening? I will be sharing my new  life  in 2019. 

Gardeners Grabbed by Life-Altering Events Just One More Adventure: Taking Comfort

Taking Comfort

 

 Taking Comfort

Nothing brings comfort like repetition of the known, the tried and true, of the past. Every late summer I begin the process of cleaning up debris as they form in my garden. Along with the cleanup process is a basket of promises I make to myself each year. “This is the year I complete cleaning up my garden so it will be ready when spring arrives. Well, if I at least keep the paths clean of debris, the garden will look so much better when I walk during winter. Then there is a final resignation of ‘if I can get half the garden cleaned, then I will only have a half left to clean come late winter.’ Those are the tip of my iceberg of promises I make to myself as a gardener. I must find comfort in my delusions, for I hold on to some many of them.

Fall foliage at the header of my water feature

This year is a touch different. I began with a well-organized list of tasks to kick off the celebration of the season. I selected only one section of the garden and placed all my focus, all my gardening efforts, on this now hallowed ground. First task up was to remove all existing weeds (the first foolish promise I made to myself. I have never removed all the weeds in any section of my garden in all its history). But, in my defense, I did one hey of a job completing what I was able to weed. I would say about less than half of my intended efforts were accomplished.

 

Pride

Actually I was quite proud of my focus, for as the weeds found a new home in the middle of a path, I had a vision. All this new space called out for new plants. Answering the call, I made several trips to local garden centers and purchased dwarf shrubs with colorful foliage along with a mix of textures. Remaining in the promised land, I redesigned sections creating new life and color to the area. While standing and taking short breaks I could look out over other sections of the garden and see where I could bring new matching design to those areas. As I age I find myself wanting to see more color, more drama in my garden. But, and this is a large but, I held fast and stayed in my area of focus. I was so proud of me.

 

Deviation

This time around I added a new feature to my basket. Once weeds were in the paths and shrubs were transplanted I took the time to spread newspapers several layers thick, then dampened them so they would stay in place. I purchased bags of pine bark mini chips and then spread them over the paper about three inches deep. This time around I was doing it right. One step at a time, complete a section before moving on. Be sure this one thing is completed before wandering off into another project and no one thing will ever get completed. Of course, by going through all the steps for a great garden, the cleanup took much more time than originally imagined and planned for. So, while ahead of the game in one area, I fell behind in others. Kind of like two steps forward, one step back.

 

Help

Another sign of fall, Cyclamen hederifolium with Christmas Tree pattern in the foliage

I have heard fellow gardeners and friends tell me for years that I need help, I just assumed it was mental they were referring to. I did come to my senses and asked for help in the garden. A young fellow gardener came once a month most of the summer and concentrated on weeding in the garden. Since I did not get the areas mulched where she weeded, some of the weeds returned, but overall it was of help. While I enjoyed the company in the garden, I also learned that there was no way I would be able to manage and enjoy this much garden and the responsibility that comes with it. As I keep telling myself, perhaps by next spring I will be in better physical health, able to do more, to keep up with time to spare for a time out on a bench. (One more promise from my basket).

 

Ritual

My ritual of fall continues for it once more turned too cold, too rainy, to work outside even in the afternoons. Shut out of the garden before I could keep my promises to myself again this fall. The last of the falling leaves remain to be chopped and spread in the garden for mulch. The debris from walnut trees with stems and black walnuts, limbs from wind storms, leaves and piles of weeds remain to remind me again this fall of good intentions gone awry. However, I remind myself that what I experience each fall comes well within the definition of gardener.

Time to book Gene for next year’s garden event. Some exciting new offers in the works, so act now.

Fall Garden Fun

Fall Garden Fun

Four Roses Anniversary Rose transplant

 

There are times when all comes together in my gardening like the flow of maple syrup. A sweet warm beginning to the chill in the air.

 

I garden next door to Kentucky which is big Bourbon country and continual events are celebrating with tours, tasting, food and anniversaries this fall. Currently Four Roses Bourbon is among the celebrants by featuring a rose named after their trademark.

 

Four Roses Anniversary Rose

While completing my celebrating, Mid-October arrived and so did my anticipated order of Four Roses Anniversary rose from Jackson and Perkins. I took the box to the greenhouse and opened to find a box constructed as though it contained Fabergé eggs. The inside had custom construction to hold a plant and container without spilling a grain of soil. Not a leaf nor a stem was at the bottom of the box. First up was to remove the contents and then read Jackson and Perkins instructions.  The rose was set on the bench for a two day rest from its travels which

give me time to prepare a bed.

 

My wife was in the process of cleaning up her raised beds for the winter and the bed to receive the rose was already cleared. The afternoon was perfect weather for fall work with those chilly mornings and warm sunny afternoons.

I added some compost to the bed, turned soil and compost over, then thoroughly mixed the two to spade depth. The aged cedar raised bed would contain only the rose until next spring when some trailing annuals with shallow roots would be added. I do not want the annuals competing with the roots of the rose, so the rose is offset in the bed to give the annuals room to play. This is not a necessity, but it is a part of my way of designing and future care.

 

A hole was opened in the soil and the rose was set in, then soil pulled back over its roots, making sure the soil line was the same as where it had been in the container. I like to transplant just a touch high for the soil will settle over time, and I will be adding a mulch to hold in moisture, keep out weeds, and help moderate the temperature of the soil. Next up was a sprinkling can of water gently applied to foliage and roots.

Once mulched that should be all the care needed until spring when the rose awakens. Only two more steps remained. One was to stand and admire my handiwork before putting the tools away. After that step I could go into a wait and anticipate mode.

 

The next two nights have a forecast of light frost, then a freeze, so both the  Four Roses Anniversary Rose and I will spend time doing a bit of growing. I with my expanding bellybutton over winter eating cookies with my tea, and the roots of the rose growing to put on larger feeders.

Time to book Gene for next year’s garden event. Some exciting new offers in the works, so act now.