Thursday, June 9, 2016

Progressing Slowly

Every day seems to blend into the next one and the only change is my location in the gardens.  After my medication run and visit with Mom this morning I walked home and went to work on planting annuals by the garage,  gazebo and the river bed.  It's not a huge area, but it took me a few hours to complete.  I must say it looked much better than before I started, that's always a plus.  The weeds were definitely present and accounted for, I ended up with five pails of them in such small space.

Carl had to fix the pan fountain on Sunday as the bottom holes needed to be soldered closed again.  He used some fancy brazing rods he bought a few years back, hopefully this time they will hold water.  So far the pans are all holding rain water, so I think he did a good job.

We'd had a touch of rain almost every day since last Wednesday.  On Sunday afternoon we were surprised with a fast moving thunderstorm which ironically didn't contain much lightning or thunder, but packed a wallop with winds over 50 mph.  Actually, I would have believed 70 mph the way the trees were bending.

Carl and I were planting the river bed when we noticed the sky turning navy blue to our west; all too soon the storm was upon us.  Carl had brought up a load of pine needles and I finished whipping them down on the ground around the Bubblegum petunias just as the cold raindrops began pelting down on my head.

Carl's 1987 Oldsmobile has brake issues (as in none) so he opted to head for the garage and see if he could fix the problem while the storm was raging.  I grabbed a few grapes and a glass of water and headed out to the front porch to watch the theatrics.  There's nothing I love better than to sit on the porch and watch it rain, it's usually very peaceful; usually being the key word here--Sunday's rainfall turned into a full-fledged blow out.  I was holding my breath as I watched our big birch tree bending in the roaring gusts, it's amazing how much trees can bend without breaking.  The noise was deafening, and almost sounded like a train in the distance.   At the first far too close crack of lightning  I moved back into the dining room from the porch, uncertain if I should seek cover in the basement.

I thought, well, Carl apparently isn't worried, he hasn't come in from the garage yet, so I guess it's not that bad.  I stood in the messy living room for a little while, looking at the stained glass lamps and wondering which one I should rescue just in case.   Then I looked out the window again at the trees thrashing around and texted Joel at his house, "Hang on, Joel, it's headed your way."

Joel and I spent many summer days storm-chasing in the past.  No he isn't one of those crazy people who gets as close as possible to tornadoes (thankfully we haven't had any tornadoes here since the barn went down in 1981) but he likes to get behind a storm and follow it for lightning and cloud formation photography.  I am always torn between wanting to go storm-chasing or staying home on my porch (or hunkered in the fruit cellar) to watch with horror as everything blows away.

We didn't get a lot of rain out of the storm, just tremendous wind.  Since Carl was showing stoic resolve staying put in the garage,  I decided I was being an alarmist and resumed my perch on the porch.   Along with the trees twisting in the wind, I watched with bated breath as my martagon lilies were flailed about.  Martagon lilies are relatively new to me, I think this is their third or fourth year in the garden and they are in full bud.  I've already protected them from the unusually hard freeze we had in April when they were three feet tall.  Now they're over five feet tall and I  hoped we could see them bloom without being blown to smithereens.

Finally the storm passed and I went outside dodging raindrops to survey the scene.  Surprisingly, we came through it with only minimal damage.  Only one of my twelve martagons collapsed, hopefully a few of the flowers lower on the stems will open.  This is Martagon 'Alba'.  Our good friend Leo grows this variety in his garden and over time they increase exponentially; quite the sight to see in full bloom.  Oh, well, there's always next year.

Coming through the hosta beds, I saw a strange mutation on one of the leaves:

 Probably some day soon, the way hybridization programs are progressing, but until that day, the mutation was a leaf off of a coleus 'Kong' that I'm growing in an urn nearby.  

  Could you imagine a hosta with that coloration?

After making a quick survey of the gardens, I ran into Carl going into the house.

"Well, that was enough wind to last us for a few years," I said.  "You sure were brave, staying in the garage the entire time.  I was thinking about going to the basement, but when you didn't come in, I felt silly going to extremes.  It's dark in here, turn on the lights."

"I can't turn on the lights, the power was out before the first lightning strike," Carl said.  "The only reason I didn't come out of the garage was because the electric garage doors don't work without power.  I was stuck in there until I could climb over the junk between our two cars to reach the service door.  Did you hear how loud the wind sounded?  I almost thought about going to the basement."

So much for me thinking he was Super Man with nerves of steel.

Hosta 'Liberty'
Later on Sunday evening, our friends Sharon and Duke arrived with a wonderful surprise, a six foot long piece of cut limestone from a hearth and a matching lintel.  I'm not sure what we will create from this treasure; they would make a lovely bench.  Carl wants me to try my hand at stone carving (?) I don't know when or how I'll get around to that hobby though it is intriguing.) 

Sharon and Duke brought us beautiful stones and we turned around and filled their nice pickup truck with a bunch of daylilies and mud.  Though I haven't written about it yet, we've been remodeling the lane bed, trying to pare down the daylilies to a manageable amount and move hostas into the territory to eliminate weeding a little more. 

Renovating gardens is exactly like the children's book, 'If You Give A Mouse a Cookie', if you take out the willow tree, you will lose the shade.  If you lose the shade, you have to move the hostas.  If you move the hostas, the daylilies are in the way.  If you move the daylilies, you have no place to put them, so you impose on family and friends to take them off your hands.  After the daylilies are gone, you still have to plant the hostas.  And boy, do I have to plant hostas!  I have at least five full wheelbarrows of clumps to get back in the ground.

And then a few pesky trees are in the way of the hosta planting, so then you get out the chainsaw and...... get the picture. 

It will all come together eventually. 

Hopefully before the first frost of fall.  


FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Another enjoyable busy post about the doings at Quarry Gardens. I'm glad the storm did not do any real damage there. Poor Carl stuck out there in the garage during the storm.

Your gardens are lovely as always and you two sure put a LOT of work into them.

Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Alison said...

Sounds like that storm was pretty exciting! I used to like to watch thunder and lightning storms too, when we lived in Massachusetts. We don't get much here in Washington. We get wind and rain in the fall, but hardly ever thunder storms.

Your garden is going to look just wonderful this year!

Garden Fancy said...

Wow, you have been busy, with the storm, and all your garden changes. I sometimes wonder why I keep changing things around -- I never seem happy with things and sometimes move things so often that they never have a chance to get settled in and actually grow. But that's gardening, I guess.... Your gardens are looking great, and I'm sure you will have many visitors before long. Take care, Beth

outlawgardener said...

It's mind boggling how much work you do, especially with all the planting of annuals. It reminds me of all the annuals I used to grow in Alaska. So much work for a few months of glory and then it's all gone with the first hard frost. We gardeners are a crazy lot, aren't we? Your storm sounds exciting and I'm glad your home and garden came through mostly unscathed!