Archive for May, 2011

Last week, I lost my best friend. She had four legs and a warm heart. Tumbles was my constant companion, gardening and at work. Although Mitch and I had two dogs, Tumbles was the “spokes dog”. She would sound the alarm to go potty and for food and treats. She was definitely the top dog in charge. She was affectionate, friendly and vocal. She was a moving force to be reckoned with and she accompanied me everywhere. At one point I wondered about ever having a single minute to myself. Last week she passed away, and I am ashamed to admit I even wondered about a world without the responsibility of pets.

Things are much quieter now. Our remaining dog, Tipper, is much quieter. At first, it was as if no one was talking at all. All three of us, Mitch, myself and Tipper, were speechless. We were leveled with grief. The hole left behind with the death of Tumbles was huge! Tumbles was larger than life. She was vocal. Now that she is gone, everything is very quiet! At first this was disconcerting. It was so quiet! After a few days, however, Tipper began to blossom. She actually barked. Then she began to enjoy the spoiling she was receiving. Her tail wagged and she smiled. She got extra bones and prime steak au jus and fat. Her focus switched from Mitch, who was her human master, to me. I was always Tumbles “human” but I knew I was definitely not the alpha dog. The alpha is always a male and we had clearly established Mitch as the alpha. I was the next one. Is that the omega or some other term? However, I was the demonstrative one. Anyway, long and short is that I am the loving one and the dogs always congregated toward that! Tipper and I are now melded. It is still quiet,but Tipper is blossoming. I am enjoying the connection.

Read Full Post »

It’s Official

The tickets are printed and the poster is up. It’s official! My garden is included in the Linn County Master Gardener’s “Through the Garden Gate” tour on June 18th. If I can keep my husband calm and find time to actually garden, we should be ready by then. I had hoped to work in the garden today, but it was too nice, and I had to work at the nursery instead. Since that is my livelihood, I am more than happy to do that. And I don’t mind working in the rain, really. Here’s hoping Mitch and I get a lot done on Sunday.

Read Full Post »

Filling In

There is still a lot of planting to do! I have many of the plants laid out where they are going to go. Tonight, I brought home some gold-foliaged shrubs. What an impact they had. Sundance Choisya and Lemon Daddy Hydrangea brightened up the back and corner of my yard. They are positioned as a triad with Hakenachloa. I brought home 2 more pots to match my large butterscotch one. Things are getting refined. Tomorrow I will be planting and sinking in wine bottles around our Pinot Noir grape plant. I have to figure out something to do with all the corks I have accumulated, hoping to recycle them. Mitch is thinking mulch. I’m thinking art. We’ll see where that leads us. The garden and the pots are next. I want to finish the beds first. Plants are really beginning to fill in but there still is so much empty space. My game plan is to let it fill out, place statuary 3 weeks before and fill in any remaining holes with bedding plants the week prior to the tour.
There are certain plants I must include in my garden even if I do not have a plan for them. As soon as I find out they have arrived at the nursery, I sprint out to make my selections. One is a chartreuse foliage and hot-pink flowered annual called Talinum ‘Limon’. It’s flowers look like tiny balls. It reseeds in mild winters I learned. But it is cute and strange and adorable. I have to have it. Another must have is Heliotrope. To me it smells like vanilla. The dark purple blossoms and deeply textured leaves make it look exotic. I have a pot that I always plant it in. This year I had to have a new Dianthus, which got planted in that pot just to get it somewhere. Now I have to decide if the Heliotrope goes there as usual or if I step outside the box and find a new location for the Heliotrope. Somehow we had one random Persian Queen Pelargonium (aka Geranium) arrive at the nursery. Justin and I always battle for this prized commodity. However, Crystal must not have known it arrived in the mixed flat and a customer got to it first (gulp!) I am hoping that Crystal will be able to get more. Persian Queen has chartreuse (okay I’m obsessed with lemon/lime) foliage and hot pink flowers. Despite the intense colors, I do not consider it gaudy. It is rather demure in my estimation. More like a hot house rose. I have brought home 3 Sofie Cascade geraniums and 1 hot pink one. I am quite enamored with these free-flowering german geraniums. Not so common, I guess, is the reason I like them. I have always wanted to express my individuality. The most exciting thing is, I know there are more plants to arrive at the nursery. Who knows what will be the next plant I will crave.

Read Full Post »

We had another walk through tonight. Erica planted 5 palnts for me. Dad had good suggestions for focal plants and repetition of plant varieties. He appreciated our pruning of the Yuletide Camellia. I now have a new art piece, an angel on a mushroom. I need to relocate it so noone will notice the broken wings! I am used to taking home the broken items and the not up to par plants. I had to laugh when my brother told me I had use large and nice specimens since the tour was a reflection on the nursery. I had jsut come to the conclusion that I did not have the time for the plants to mature. I had actually begun to select the biggest and best. It is a change of outlook for me, so the “broken” angel helped me feel more comfortable. However, I still have to obscure those broken wings.
It must be a full weekend of working in the garden, come rain or come shine. Hopefully it will be warm and not overly wet. I cannot garden in the rain gear that I own, so I will have to absorb any rainfall. Let’s hope Mitch gets a lot done on Saturday. Maybe we can work on Friday night. We’ll see what the weather is like.

Read Full Post »

Mother’s Day

I can freely admit in this space that I have no biological children. It isn’t from lack of desire, but from lack of ability. What I do have is 2 beautiful step-daughters, who I wholeheartedly love, and 2 black dogs that depend on me. I have a mom who has been able to have any flower or gift that she ever desired and a mother-in-law who is unable to have any gifts with a scent.
So, it’s approaching Mother’s Day, and as the female in the relationship I need to be thinking about gifts. My mom, who I live by, will be out of town on the day. My mother-in-law lives out of town and I have to mail to her. What am I going to do? How can I be the most thoughtful daughter and daughter-in-law? All I want to do is sleep in on Sunday! Maybe something involving chocolate.
This should be one of the big weekends in the nursery industry. It all depends on the weather. Today, Tuesday, was wildly busy simply because it was sunny. This weekend is supposed to be rainy. So I get Sunday off because it is supposed to be rainy (and therefore not busy) but who wants to work outside anyway? And that’s the reason I want to be off. Okay, sleeping in and reading the last 3 Sunday’s newspapers is high on the list. I guess I could approach my art/craft projects involving gluing glass to metal and creating garden art. I envision chaos. Do not trust me with scissors or anything sticky, fast-acting glue especially. I am the biggest mess maker and klutz you have ever seen. Ha, ha, ha! Seriously! If something needs to remain in pristine condition you want me as far away as possible from the object. Even my mental telepathy creates chaos. I am not dirty, like Pigpen, but I am very, very, very messy. There must be a virtue in there somewhere.
I figure this is my last week for planting things that must grow significantly. I have a few weeks to plant bedding plants and then a couple weeks for finishing touches. I am fast approaching the point of hating my creation. This has always seemed to happen when I am involved in a creative pursuit. I throw myself into it so much that by the time I am done I loathe it. It seems to me to be pure crap. Totally unredeemable. I am fast approaching that phase. So I will meet you next week and I’ll let you know where I’m at. It should be interesting at least.

Read Full Post »

Wow!  I managed to have a sunny Saturday off.  Mitch and I had Good Friday and Saturday off together.  We really plowed ahead with the yard work and got a lot accomplished.  I was in my usual mode of trying to fill in every hole I saw with plants.  Mitch labored with soil prep and installing edging.  I went to work on Sunday and he did some more and then overseeded what was left of the lawn.  I still don’t know how the yard will look good enough for a garden tour.  Mitch wonders why I didn’t notice his “deer in the headlights look” when I told him about the tour.  It probably wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t decided that this was the perfect opportunity to redo and fix everything that I thought was wrong with the garden.  Perfectionist, you mutter.  Overachiever?  Okay, I confess that is me. I’m always wanting to try something new, never satisfied.  Continually digging, the life of a serious gardener.

What did I accomplish and what did I learn?  I planted a lot of plants, but there was still room for more.  You have more room for plants if you plan in blooming sequence/layering.  In early spring the bleeding hearts appear, but they disappear by mid-summer and are overtaken by grasses and Echinaceas.  Tulips, daffodils and crocus pop out where later there will be Rudbeckias and more Echinacea.  Through barren Hydrangeas I can see the Anemone blanda and Tiarella in the background.  In another month, they will be hidden.  I love the fact that I am seeing so many worms everywhere in my yard and the soil is becoming crumbly in spots.  The seeds I have started, Nicotiana sylvestris and breadseed poppies are ready to transplant.  That is a project for one day this coming weekend.

This week, I am focusing on the pots, the garden and finishing my small plantings.  There are still 2 major plants I have yet to select.  They are weighing heavily on my mind. I am hoping that the “perfect” plant arrives in the nursery this week so I can be done with it.  I figure I have about 2 weeks and then I need to begin the finishing touches.  I’m hoping for some nice late evenings and warm weather helping all the plants to grow and fill in.  By July, it will be a jungle!  We’re shooting for perfection in June, however.  If things haven’t filled out, I will fill in with annual color and art.

In the end, I have to remember that it is not about impressing other people (although that is difficult for me to have to acknowledge) but rather creating a space of enjoyment for me and my husband.

Read Full Post »