Friday, June 1, 2012

This Place is a Circus

Here it is, June 1 already.  We have one week to go before the garden walk.  Unfortunately, we have approximately two months worth of work to be done before then.

We're not going to make it.  Things on my list of Stuff To Do before June 7 aren't getting crossed off very quickly.  (Nope, we didn't get good ol' Castle Aaargh done, either.  Didn't even mortar one rock yet this year.)

We haven't gotten in from the garden any night in the last three weeks before 10 PM.  So, tonight we made a vow to each other:

We will never host a large garden event here in early June again.



We mean it.

We really, really do. The garden always looks better after July.  And we have more time to get it ready then, too. 

I'm starting to write this after midnight, which is a really dumb idea considering all the work I have to do over the next seven days.  But we all know I'm not always the brightest bulb in the pack, so here goes.  What have we accomplished in the last week?
Now we just have 'some' picking up to do. 

Carl finished the dome floor and it is nice and level.  We shouldn't have to worry about anyone tripping over an upturned paving block now.  Ann was able to come over last weekend and work on the wall. (Don't I have an amazing friend?  How many other people would find the idea of building stone walls to be 'fun'?)

We had high hopes of the stone walls being finished and the former perennial beds in front of them all graded flat and reseeded with lawn.  Ah, such is not the case.  Carl and Ann still have about 20' of wall to build yet.  The part in the picture below is done---well, at least the wall is finished here, but the tall grasses are weeds and whatnot left over from the old perennial bed. 

 And here you can see the wall is done on the other side but there are still tons of rocks on pallets sitting down there waiting to be used for the rest of the wall.  Something tells me we're not going to have this looking too much better in less than a week. 

I've been busy planting out the annuals, I have about one thousand in the ground and have another few hundred to go.  I sure hope I won't regret it, I saw on the news tonight there are frost warnings for Northern Wisconsin.  That would be just my luck, wouldn't it?  Get all the annuals in the ground and wake up tomorrow morning to find them deader than doornails.

Here's a lovely shot of the Riverbed.  Most garden bloggers delight and awe their readers with gorgeous pictures of their immaculate gardens.

And then there's me.

Here I am, letting it all hang out with a behind the scenes look at what the process of gardening looks like with all the shovels, weeds, and paraphernalia strewn about.  Sheesh, gardening isn't always very attractive, is it?

With Joel and Allison's help, we planted the annuals in the Riverbed and had them mulched before nightfall last weekend.  We use the car trailer to haul white pine needles from the Back Eight up for mulch.

Everyone pitches in whenever they have a spare moment.  Our friends, Richard and Emily were here on Memorial Day and helped out with the weeding and mulching.  Allison has been trying to get the paint off of  some old wrought iron patio furniture for us.  The old white paint which had been covering black paint on two of the 'new' old chairs we bought last summer was flaking off.  You'd think a bit of wire brushing would take most of the loose paint off, but you would be wrong.  Allison was working with paint remover and a scraper.  Oh, what a job.  We hope to have the two patio sets completely cleaned up and repainted before next week.  We're going to need them.

Joel's been running mulch for us, and any other job we can come up with from leveling the driveway to construction.  Tonight he brought up all of my statuary for me and placed it in the gardens while I planted annuals by the little bridge and Carl weeded.

My mother repainted all of my cast iron lanterns over the winter with entirely new color schemes.  Since the painting is done she is now weeding here with me almost every day.  (She keeps asking me how we're going to keep the garden going when we get old.....and like I tell her every year, 'You're 91 and you're still weeding.')  She is Amazing, by the way.

I've been crawling all over the yard.  I managed to get the weeds out of half of the Pachyberm:

 I started weeding in March this year, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference.  The weeds popped back up with a vengeance once the weather warmed up.

Mulch, we need mulch!

Though Carl and I have never taken a dance class, we do know the familiar dance step called
'One step forward and two steps back' by heart.

Case in point--Carl finished the Dome floor and it looks wonderful.  One thing crossed off the List.  Then I was mowing lawn over by the Egress gate when suddenly the unthinkable happened.

I was driving the lawn mower through the gate at a high rate of speed when I suddenly noticed a weed pail was in the way.  I swerved to get around the pail and the lawnmower deck caught on the railing and broke out two of the rose castings and twisted the entire structure.  The lawnmower slid sideways into the gate and I nearly tumbled off but managed to keep my butt in the seat.  I was steamed, though.  This is the last thing Carl needs, more work to do!  (He wasn't angry about the mishap; in fact he just sighed and said, "We'll have to take the whole thing down so I can weld it, but not before the garden walk."  I agreed.

Let's hope the pretty clematis growing on the arbor will detract from the missing castings and all the damage I did.

Kind of hard to see, but the gate is now twisted, courtesy of Me.

With any luck, we'll finish weeding and I'll get the rest of the annuals planted soon.

I haven't even started on the Quarry garden itself:

As far as the eye can see............There are WEEDS!

Yes, even the pretty yellow iris are weeds.......they are so prolific in the Quarry.  We've been trying to eradicate them for a few years now, but there they are, back bigger than ever. They do have beautiful flowers, though.

Oriental Spruce looking pretty good this year.
Over Memorial weekend we had rain showers off and on.  When it would rain, I would run in the house to do quick housework or exercise with Leslie.  (My thanks to Leslie for 30 pounds lost so far--Walk, Walk, Walk!  She's right, it works.)   While I'm marching in place, I notice how many large dust bunnies are living in our house now.  At least they are easy to maintain, they really grow with no attention from me.  Oh, my........I am going to need to clean for a month straight when I get some time.

Many nights after working his full-time job starting at 5AM  and then coming home and working another six hours or more in the gardens with me, Carl heads for the front porch where he's been working on soldering the Laburnum lamp we started over a year ago. 
 There he is, soldering away on the lamp, some nights til midnight on the weekends.

Here's the view from the other side.  The Laburnum is a BIG lamp....1,986 pieces.  He's getting closer day by day to finishing it. I'm still debating if my glass selections were good, but it's a little late now.

And speaking of cleaning......the group that is coming to tour on the 7th is a rather large garden club though it's hard to say how many people will show up exactly.  There will be refreshments and beverages involved (I have to think of something wonderful to make for the group that is easy and fast.....hmmmmmm, any ideas out there??)

Anyway, paranoid me was thinking, 'What will we do if it rains?  Where will I put all these people and the food?'

Yes, we have a garage.  Ewwww.  Not a very nice one, but we have one and it would 'only' take a week or so to clean it out.  A week we don't have..  And no, Castle Aaargh is no closer to being done.  If it was, I wouldn't worry,  as the little round building would be the perfect place to set up some food and chairs.

I looked into buying a tent.  Carl wasn't thrilled with the idea at all, and neither was Joel.  But the longer I wheedled and whined and expanded and expounded on how having a tent would make life easier for this garden walk and any other subsequent ones (or weddings, family reunions, parties, etc.) they both relented.

Somewhere out there on the Highways of Life a tent from Texas is speeding it's way to our home in three separate boxes.

This is one Big Tent.  20 x 20. Octagonal with walls.  Supposedly I can cram 40 people in it.  (If they all stand up straight and don't slouch. Or breathe.) Carl's thinking we could put it over Castle Aaargh's foundation which would be Perfect.  I'm thinking it will be just a fuzz too small, knowing our luck, but we can try.  Then I panicked when I realized if it doesn't fit over Aaargh we haven't got a 20 x 20 spot on the lawn in a handy spot to put it up-----why did I buy such a big thing?  Oh, that's right, because I didn't want to clean the garage.  The reviews online said it was a 'Cinch to put up.'  Let's hope so. Can you see the two of us fighting with a tent the night before the walk?  (Yeah, I know you can....YouTube here we come.)

I just got a tracking number for the shipments the other day.

Anticipated delivery date is:

June 6.

Oh, that's cutting it close.

How much you wanna bet it shows up on June 8?

OH, well...........what's a Circus without a tent?


Sue said...

There seems to be weeds for every season, doesn't there? Seems I get one batch pulled, and the ground warms a bit more and another kind sprouts. 91 and still weeding? Your mom IS amazing. Good luck getting through the week. But, from an outsiders point of view---most people don't notice HALF the stuff you're worried about. So, RELAX. And enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Wish I could pop over and give you a hand. Best I can offer is my Devon scone recipe from a tea shop in Dawlish in Devon. And would you please stop trying to hurt yourself!!

FlowerLady said...

Dear Karen ~ Your posts are always such a delight!!! Your sense of humor makes my morning. It has been lightly raining for quite some time through the wee morning hours and into daylight.

I think your yellow iris are beautiful weeds. Lucky you to have them growing so easily.

Your gardens are so packed with so much interest and color that I'm sure no one will notice the rose arbor being a bit twisted and a couple of roses missing.

You all amaze me, your whole family, friends, your dear Mom, with all of the determination and energy you have.

I agree with your thoughts for next year, don't have the tour until July.

Congrats again on the loss of 30 lbs. You are doing GREAT and you look wonderful.

Love and hugs to all of you,


Peonies & Magnolias said...

Our weeds must be relatives of your weeds. There sure seems to be no end in sight with them and they are growing faster than we can pull them up. haha

Your pics looks wonderful and your garden is gorgeous even with the weeds we can't see.

Have a great weekend.


Larry said...

Hard to believe we've been intensely gardening for two and a half months already. We have a garden club out of the Madison area coming Saturday and then a group from the Appleton area on Sunday afternoon. We're pretty much in shape except for the new fence and I fully expected that would be a summer long project. I have the lotus half foiled and look forward to spending more time and getting that finished starting next week. Your gardens always look amazing and a few weeds will never be noticed... as Sarah keeps telling me... we are not a botanical garden but rather this is a private garden and if people don't like it, they don't have to come back. I have one out of the way area that is always somewhat weedy and I've come to expect that and not get frustrated over it. As my friend deals with that sort of situation... he simply updates the weeds to "companion plants" and loses no sleep over it! Take care, Larry

Tracy said...

Karen your property is beautiful! And it's refreshing to see the 'work in progress' pictures and not just the pics after all the hard work is done. Everything is so gorgeous, I didn't notice any weeks. Good luck with your tent and garden party. May you have fabulous weather so that all of your guests need not hold their breath and stand up straight :-) I think every gardener's house is a disaster in the spring. I know mine is!

Sandy said...

You two are AMAZING and how hard you
work making your rather large garden,
heck, it's not a garden it's a gem that never stops sparkling!
Please don't work too hard because it's so
much work. But then I know it's your life
and the two of you are having such a good
time doing it all or you would not do it..
Wish I could also share the garden club's visit on June 7th.
Have a great time.

myomyohi said...

If I lived a tad bit closer I'd come help out. The weeds have been terrible here this year, and the mosquitos too.

Your mother must be incredible to be pulling weeds at her age.

What about enlisting a couple horticulture students to help pull weeds and mulch?

I'm sure your garden tour will be a huge success, even if things aren't as perfect as you would like for them to be. It's looking great.


Missy said...

If you don't get all the weeding done you could always have some spare gloves and tools out and tell them you left that patch for a "hands on gardening experience" and let the visitors do some weeding. After all, if they're gardeners, they might enjoy it.

Seriously, I'm sure it will all come together on the day and look fantastic. Hope you have a fine sunny day.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

You are fantastic, a real gardener. So, don't be worried if they see what a real gardener does, not always perfect. The tent sounds like a great idea.

Everyone I have fed this to loves it, Pillsbury Funfetti cake with homeade buttercream frosting (on the confectionary sugar box), 9x13 pan cut in squares.


Jennifer said...

Hi Karen, I feel so sorry for you. You sound to be under such pressure with the garden events looming so close. I never mind seeing a less than perfect garden. Mine is always a half a step away from wild and it makes me feel better to know I am not alone. I love the last sentence in your post. Hope the tent makes it in time!! said...

The sense of urgency is palpable!!! If you can't get it all ready in time, this would be a great garden tour titled "July Gardens in the Works...a Behind-the-Scene-Tour-Preview in June!"

The tents sound as if they will be a nice touch that will be re-usable nice touches! I've thought about getting one for our land for events as well. Let us know how you like the ones you've ordered.

I'm glad you weren't injured while mowing. That could've been disastrous with more than the metal being bent.

And the lamp is a true work of art. I love your colors, nice contrast and beautiful garden colors of brilliance! It's an heirloom piece, for sure!

Ahhh...I love coming over for a visit. But, I'm on pins and needles for your garden tour. Thanks for taking the time to keep us readers in the loop!!!!


Shirley said...

You have made incredible progress so far and your garden seems to be in a continuous state of change. So many projects, and yet it is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing the tired moments and the moments of glory with us. We love it all!

~mel said...

Wow wow and WOW again! You are busy and it shows!!! GORGEOUS grounds you have there. It makes my tinkering around seem quite trivial.

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi Karen. I enjoyed reading your post and hope you have made more headway with your garden tour preparations this past weekend. I'm sure, if I was on the tour, I would kind of enjoy seeing all the hard work that goes into making your particular gardens so beautiful and I would come back in July to see it again! Don't be so hard on yourself. It's a lot of work but people should realize it's mostly just you two doing it. I wish you all the best for this tour! Blessings, Pamela

Lona said...

Well it is June 7th so you should be one nervous lady with tons of people invading now. I hope all goes well for the garden tour and that the tent arrived and is up.

xoxoxo said...

Good Luck today! Hopefully by now you are winding down and getting to relax!
And congrats on that 30lbs! Too bad I found it :(

Rosemary said...

So hope the tent arrived and all went well with the tour... Garden weeds and all look amazing as usual. Love the stained glass colours....... you both make me tired seeing all the work you do day and Night!

Mac_fromAustralia said...

I'm glad you didn't hurt yourself on the mower! The lamp is looking lovely.