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Old 25-10-2003, 06:42 AM
Posts: n/a
Default There HAS to be a twelve step program out there..................

I wish I had your garden. And your gardening talent


"madgardener" wrote in message
There HAS to be a twelve step program out there for terminally addicted
perennial junkies. Thank the fairies it's the end of October and the

center is starting to look like an "EVERYTHING MUST GO GO GO"
sale...........yesterday was a total bust. I had plans to put down the 10
bags of 40# humus (cheap cheap stuff) where the tree peonies are going to
go. Zip, nada. Didn't happen. I was going to pull up the false

aka Swamp doodle didn't happen..........was gonna PLANT
some daisy mums into bare spots in the beds.........all together

Weeeeeelllllll, TODAY as I was moving and compacting landscape pots up
closer to the front of the garden center's cash registers and main

I was told by the plant specialist that "these three tables are half off".
And he pointed to the Pieris (Dorothy Wycliff) and said "yew aught tew git
yew sum of thaem Parises cuz I gut me tew of 'em myself fer a landscapin'
jub, it wuz tew fer the prize uf won" (I just love his accent, he's so
smart and sounds SOOOOOO Kuntry.......G) It'd make Jim Varney proud of
him if he were still drawing a breath. "know whut I mean?" GBSEG

Well, since I apparently have KILLED two Chinese almonds or something has
offed them and we no longer have them, I decided I'd take a chance and get
two Peiris. Then I got two burning bushes. And a red Rhododendron, which

will plant next to the pink one that has died 3/4's back that I am
relocating to a better spot. And a spider mum that was whispering my

I even remembered the starter fuses for the aquarium light! It was a GOOD
thing Squire wasn't home when I pulled up to the ongoing removal of one
forsythia. I tucked the pots amongst the foliage of the emerging Zebrina
malvacea, the Pieris almost totally hidden by the large scalloped leaves.
The burning bushes I placed near the deciduous magnolia that was the
inspiration for the removal of at least ONE Of those 30 year old
forsythia's. The mum was tucked next to the quarter barrel that is

in Eye of the Tiger Dutch iris bulbs and thread leaf coreopsis.

As I unloaded the car, I gave myself a firm chewing out loud as there was

one to hear me but me and remarked that the Itea was still in it's pot

a glowing red orange leaves and begging for a spot somewhere, please. I
pulled down the driveway and turned around since I was the only one home

as I circled around the black cherry tree, the ten bags of soil jumped out
at me and reminded me that there was something else I needed to do. Not

mention just making a mental note to WATER everything.

I hopped outa the car once I parked in front of the almost flattened
Frakartii asters (they got wind whipped by wind sheers last week of almost
40 mph and now lean to the EAST and still are loaded at the top with those
perky oversized blue aster/daisy flowers with the yellow centers) and went
inside to let Sugar out of the cage Mike had placed her in before he left
for work. She was grateful I was home and I decided immediately that if I
was going to get anything done it was now or never as I'd had quite a
physical day today.

Rose opened the screen door and went out with Sugar hot on her heels to
avoid the door hitting her in the face, and I was behind them and

them to go thru the gates and "pasture". Bad news for me and worse for
Sugar....apparently son had let her out unattended and she had dug up the
newly planted BLOOMING yellow and white iris that I had gently and
successfully planted last week from Mary Emma's. Now it won't bloom for

for three years as the whole rhizome was up and the dirt ball was gone. I
mumbled my aggrivation at the pup and stood the rhizome upright near the
Stokes aster plant she missed (I woulda had to kill her.....) and decided
while I was down there, I'd yank out the Bermuda grass that has snuck into
the bed. It was almost a grass bed........

Once I got the fishing line grass out of the dusty dry soil, I decided

was a good spot to sink the spider mum and went and got the shovel and the
mum. The soil was loose and easy to spade up, making the placement of the
rootball easy. THAT will be a neat surprise next year when it returns.

Then I decided I'd at least water everything from the west edge all the

to the eastern boardwalk that leads to the nook. I had noticed those

daisy like plants (tag was lost, and if they aren't perennial, I enjoyed
their perpetual blooming all this time) that looked suspiciously like

yellow pyrethrums but the leaves were wrong were drooping in the concrete
planter that I constantly tuck things into when they don't set down

roots. Eventually something will take to these pots, including the one

one end missing to sort of seal up the open end and I will be happy. Or I
will stretch a pantyhose over the end to hold in the soil and get it over

Did I tell ya'll that I had one of those whacky moments last week? A
customer came in last week looking for me and wanted to know if we had
planting bags for mailboxes. ummmmm noooo, we didn't and I kinda knew

she was talking about, but she had seen them at some overpriced nursery
somewhere and wanted to do something like it herself only not pay the
exorbant price for doing it and thought mums would look neat draped over

mailbox. I thought that was a neat idea too and I decided to give her

of alternatives. How about an old pillow case sewed up on the end, slit
open to slip soil and plants into the ends and draped over? No sewing
machine. Ok, how about a polyester laundry mesh bag that was just cinched
tightly with the rope at one end, two cuts on either end to allow soil and
plants to be slipped into and it wouldn't rot and the water would leak out
but the soil would stay....she wasn't keen on that either but we were
getting close. In the mean time we had walked to the households aisle and
were looking for laundry bags, mesh bags, something to plant mums into and
drape over a mail box when we came across polyester clothespins bags that
had rivet holes with wire hooks for hanging onto the line and the bags

rectangular, the openings stayed open because they had support in the
edgings and the wires from the two rivetted holes could be removed and a
nylon rope could be threaded into these holes, knotted and hung across the

she was game. I liked the idea too, and picked up two bags of my own and a
length of nylon rope I cut after I cut her some. We then made our way

to the nursery and she wanted me to help her pick out some mums for the
bags. I picked colors she wasn't into (she was going for matching the

on her house) and settled on some beefy plants that were a beautiful rust
orange and a deep burgandy that somehow complimented the rust orange. I
choose white and purple myself and placed my stuff in my stash place for
when I clocked out and bought stuff.

It was a good idea, but it doesn't quite work the way we wanted it to. But
that's not to say it doesn't totally work, because despite that my ropes
would be too long and could just be shortened up with knots, the long bags
DO hold the soil and roots of the plants very well, they're just LONGER

we anticipated and the holes turned out to be in the wrong place. they're

the side, and for the bag to hang right the holes would need to be at the
front or back of the bag. After I put soil into the bags and slipped the
mums (white and purple into each bag, making two bags of white and purple
mums sticking out all obvious) into them, and watered them, I realized

was nowhere to hang them.

They wouldn't hang right over my huge mailbox, and I liked the idea of a

of flowers so much I did something insane. I draped one set of ropes over
the bars on the gate on my side of the driveway, looping the ropes over

bars and hung one bag over one bar, then I looped the other bag over

bar on the gate and adjusted the two bags on the gate and decided it was
alright. Kinda OBVIOUS, but hey, I live on a deadend and no one hardly

notice. And next year since the mums won't have a prayer's chance of
returning from exposure this winter, I will yank them out by their roots

compost them, and plant WAVE petunia's in the bags and THAT will look wild
once they start growing..............

Now fast forward to now. A few days ago I was bouncing around under the
scratchy leaves of my fig tree harvesting the most incredibly sweet figs I
have ever in my life eaten or tasted. These have hung quietly for a few
days in the cold nights and pleasant days and gotten a sweetness that is
almost unreal. Even the wasps haven't discovered them and I was bending

limbs down to gently pluck them from the leaves they grew next to when I
heard my girls barking. I peeked thru the leaves (you couldn't see me as
the limbs of the fig were bent to where they obscured me from the

and saw it was just the farquahar that lives across the driveway making

daily walk up the driveway to check his mailbox. He didn't see me but

his evil little rat terrier was walking with him, Peanut is such a little
shit when he's around his "master" he tries to bite Rose or Sugar and acts
all protective and jealous despite the neglect this guy puts on this


I hear Peanut attacking Rose, then Sugar and then hear my neighbor

at it all when he literally gasped and said "where the hell did THESE come
from?????!!!??? She's got FLOWERS hanging off the GATE????? Good gawd the
woman is totally flower insane" and I took that as my cue and stepped from
out of nowhere and scared the bejezus outa him and said "why you KNOW

living across from the madgardener.........and since I've planted up to

edge of the driveway much to your horror, I figure I will plant vertically
now.........soon you will see all sorts of things growing almost out of
midair.... PEANUT, get away from my Rose and Sugar!!" and I growled at the
little bastage and ran at him and he booked off because he knows my foot

close behind his cahone's. I will drop kick the little shit for his biting
and mean ways on my good girls. But I got a surprise. Sugar was RUNNING

Peanut and teasing him. I almost fell on the ground in laughter.

After Jerry got over his shock of seeing me appear outa nowhere, he

towards me and I disappeared again, which unnerved him again. ahhhh I've
discovered his Achilles heel!!!

He waddled on up the driveway, Peanut snarling and chasing Sugar back
towards the gate until I called out to her to come to me, and I put the

on the railing of the deck and went back to yard stuff. Fill up the

with water that is along side the BBQ pit fountain, scoop out the pawlonia
tree leaves and pods from the water. Then water the garden around the
perimeter of the fountain. Pull the hose and water the Wide Brim hosta
under the Vitex bush, water the Little Sweetie solidago I planted at the
edge of the western lilac bed. Water the Diablos ninebark, the Wine and
Roses weigelia, the Lorepedilum, the tired pot of orange zinnia
angustifolia's, the crape myrtles I plugged under the other crape myrtles
and zebra grasses. Drag the hose more and water the huge pot of mums that
are finally opening up and wowing me. Water the magnolia and the pots of
stuff I unloaded again.

Drag the hose around the fig tree out to the driveway and start watering
things that are crispy. I have planted too many things and see it's
overwhelming. Water the asters first. Then the other plot of Little
Sweetie, and the Crispa spirea I moved. (which was a good thing or I would
have lost it), move down a bit, tugging the 300 foot of hose out further

make it easier and water all the pots in the thinning jungle of Cleome and
Helianthus that I can pull and cut down now. Water the pot of Tequila
Sunrise coreopsis that has three flowers on it. The pot of Gaura, the pot
of achillea, the broken pot of mums that are peeking out of the dry
soil.....water the pot of sedums (yes, even they're dry) and the huge pot

three lilac's I planted together that sits quietly waiting until I cart it
to a perfect spot next year and plug them all into a good hole and hope

all three grow into a strange and beautiful bush with three colors in

Drag the hose down the drive and water the concrete pot that was

this year. Water the fiberglass pot that has black eyed susan's in it

Move past the car and water the containers and pots that line the sidewalk
that leads to the wooden walkway. Find the peony that I forgot about from
Mary Emma's, stop what I am doing (I am SOOOOO spacy!!G) go find the
shovel, duck under the foliage of the Glory Bower, Sorbaria, Cornelian
cherry, baby dogwood and Blue Egnima salvia and chunk a spot next to the
other peony under all that and plant the rootball.

Go back to the hose and water the newly planted peony. Drench the bare

where Sugar has dug out so much I fear the poor pulmonaria is long gone

won't ever return. Water the Pink Panda strawberry plants still in their
pots. Find the varigated Weigelia that is hidden by newly sprouted Cleome
and water it. NOW I am distracted and drag the hose back down the

and stand looking at the tangle of fallen false coreopsis. My mind is


Rose has long abandoned me as I'm obviously intent on messing with the

and the water much to her dismay. Sugar has long abandoned me to do
dastardly things that I should be watching out for to reprimand her, but I
am now focased on the debris in front of me. I started pulling out the

eight foot stalks of false coreopsis, hearing hundreds of seeds falling in
the dry and crispy bed below. Oy vey, I will have millions of them
sprouting next spring......... Now I am intent on just removing these
things. ALL of them. I pull, bang their little fat roots against the
landscape timbers to loosen any soil and lay them on the concrete sidewalk
behind me. I find tired, red, knobby stems of 4's hiding under the tangle
of these plants. I pull them out too and pile them up.

Discover a woody, resistant vine of trumpet vine, and it almost tears me

half pulling it out of the soil. I hear a sickening thunk deep in the
raised bed, I have not removed it, I've only stimulated it for next
rains.........sigh....Keep pulling and thunking soil and piling. Then I
find the Korean spirea has shoots further into the eastern bed than even I
realized and with a quick decision, I pull at the stem. GOOD LORD!! A
runner root reveals itself and I get three seperate stems rising up from a
root that lies just inches beneath the loose rich soil. This will take
longer than I thought.

My hair has started coming down around the neck, and seeds and debris has
begun attaching to the wisps. My hat is inside as I didn't feel I needed
it, and the sweat is stinging my eyes. Ok, gather my faculties about me,
step on the four foot pile of debris behind me on the dog run and see that

portion of the bed is bare. A HUGE portion of the bed. So I stop, gather
up the pile of stems and branches and carry them to the pasture just past
the fence and throw it into the weeds. There will be false coreopsis to
spring up there next year and 4's..........good. They'll give the thistles
and possible poppies (I doubt it as the poppies were all pulled up when

were thru) a run for their money next spring.

Grab another fig from the upper branches I missed and pop it into my

drink some icy cold water from the hose and decide I've done enough for

It's almost dark.

Sugar has gotten tired of her tirade and I hope she hasn't done any damage
to beds in the back that I am working on right now. She comes inside
without any pleading and begging, Rose looking at me like I'm insane and
darting in front of us both almost causing us to fall onto each other. I
look like some wild woods woman.....seeds, crispy leaves and twigs are
entwined in my hair and braid and my face is streaked with dirt. I had to
laugh. but now the bed has started to reveal that I have more room for
plants than I would have figured, and I have decided to do something I
haven't done in years. I am going to clean out the debris this year, and

the cleaned spaces, plant the asters that are in pots, up front. I am

pulling up on half of the Korean Spirea, checking on the life of the two
Chinese almond bushes, rip out the spent stems of the Cleome, and after I
move all the pots into the driveway, mow everything up to the edges of the
raised beds. I am also relocating the stepping stones and rearranging the
pots of dianthus and phlox and starting on the wisteria extension. When I
am finished, I will have a pile of debris that will amaze even me, the

will be naked for the first time in 8 years and I will have a better idea

what I can and cannot do from here.

Only then will I put those ten bags of soil in. I might even have room for
the tree peonies up front once I clean out all the mess. This is going to
be fun. I will keep ya'll posted on progress as it occurs. And there's
still the hilarious episode that will reveal itself to me when I bring in
the tens and tens of cacti, succulents and tropicals before the frost

next week. Everyone has endured cold evenings and mild days, but the
forecast for next week appears it might finally frost up here.

thanks for allowing me to ramble and talk about what I love.
madgardener up on the ridge, back in fairy holler, overlooking English
Mountain in Eastern Tennessee zone 7, Sunset zone 36