Friday, June 10, 2016

Weeding On

Another day, another thunderstorm.  I took this picture tonight, about twenty minutes before a severe thunderstorm blew on through.  We were lucky, as far as I can tell most of the trees pulled through.  There were tornado warnings posted and the sirens were going off in town three miles away.  About ten minutes into the worst of the storm, we heard hail bouncing off the windows.  I didn't have the heart to go out and see how the lilies and hostas look, tomorrow will be soon enough.  Luckily the hail wasn't too big by the sound of it, I'd guess pea-size, but driven by high winds, even tiny hail isn't a good thing.

Today was a hot one in the garden, we were close to 90 degrees along with very high humidity to make it all the more uncomfortable.  Carl spent the afternoon mulching the Formal Garden while I was weeding in the hosta bed nearby.  We finished planting the Formal Garden on Thursday night and also removed twelve small 'Hetz Midget' cedars from the beds.  The cedars had become very open due to the shade cast by the 'Coralburst' crabapple trees.  The weird thing is, after Carl dug them all up, neither of us missed them at all.

The picture above was earlier this year, the cedars are on the ends of the six arcing beds. 

The 'after' picture, no cedars.
Three years ago I decided to line the outer walls of the garden with hostas to cut down on weeding.  I had one 'First Frost' hosta which I was able to divide into thirty-two separate plants.  At the end of each row of 'First Frost' plants, I added a 'Halcyon' hosta for color contrast.   For the first two years the planting was pretty sparse, but this third year things are starting to fill in.

'Gold Drop' was the other hosta I used to edge the dome wall and around the crabapple trees.  The entire Formal Garden will probably be a shade garden in time to come, but for this year, I planted fifty-three of my Supertunia Bubblegum cuttings for color.  We'll see how they do in partial sun. 

Being down on my knees weeding the garden looks so different.  
We've had a lot of visitors here already this year.  Last weekend the peony convention was in Green Bay and we had visitors from Washington state and Minnesota.  Though we weren't on the peony convention tour schedule, we were listed as an open garden in their literature.  (We weren't aware of that little detail, ha.)  The visitors were very friendly and seemed happy to tour our half-baked garden even though tools, lawn mowers, flats, weeds and buckets were everywhere.  We truly weren't in open garden mode, but we had no idea we were on the list.  I was sad the gardens didn't look better, but again, it is what it is.  

At least we had one peony open for their enjoyment, Peony 'America':

Even with all the wind and hot weather, the non-fading flower power of this peony made me happy.  This is one you definitely can see from across the yard.  I have some very old peonies here in the garden that used to belong to my paternal grandmother.  I never knew my grandmother as she passed away long before I was born, but every spring when the peonies bloom, I think of her.  They aren't open yet, but thinking about the longevity of peonies, it makes me smile to think my granddaughter Audrey will be the fifth generation to enjoy their fragrant beauty.  

Along with the garden not being in shape, the gardener is another scary thing to behold.  Usually before a garden tour I'm sort of cleaned up, but the visitors found me just as disheveled as the landscaping.  I don't have a picture which would be worth a thousand words, but here we go with the words instead:

My usual garden attire is pretty scary, but it's far weirder this year by a long shot.  The antibiotics I'm on for Lyme disease make me more sensitive to the sun, so I'm trying to cover every square inch of my hide with sunscreen and clothing.  This is proving to be quite the task since I carry a Felco pruner holster on my right side, a cellphone pouch for my new smartphone (so I can check on Mom while I'm weeding via the camera setup) a pruning saw in my left hip pocket and a fancy new ergonomic weeding tool in my right hip pocket.  In order to find a long-sleeved shirt that will accommodate all of this gear, I bought a bunch of extra-large men's shirts on the clearance rack at a thrift store.  The shirts could almost be dresses, but surprisingly, they're not all that uncomfortable to work in.  (However, I'm NOT adoring the long sleeves with this 90 degree weather.)

But wait, there's more:  I forgot to mention the newest and truly most bizarre piece of gardening equipment I've ever owned.  Introducing:

No it's not some kind of kinky chastity belt, it's a bonafide gardening tool.  You garden in it, or, on it, well, with it.  You sit on it and carry out your gardening chores.  Yep.  That's what you do.  And when you walk around, it comes right along with you.  And when you have a long shirt on, the curly spring sticks out like a pigtail.  Yep.  That's what it does.  (I will have to completely embarrass myself with a picture one of these days, but for now, your imagination will have to suffice.)

Can't you picture me bouncing around in the flower beds with this contraption?   (Imagine how surprised the peony convention visitors were to see me.  That's ok, I was surprised to see them, too.)

The stool was originally designed for milking cows.  You simply put the adjustable strap around your waist and wherever you go  the stool does, too.  I wasn't sure it would work, but after a week's worth of weeding using the contraption, I'm sold.  Though my tailbone isn't happy with sitting on anything hard, my knees are thrilled to have much of the stress taken off of them.  I can lean from side to side to weed or rest on one knee at a time, gosh,  I wish I'd bought one decades ago.  This was one of those purchases I put off because of the price ($90 with shipping) and taking a gamble on buyer's remorse, for what if it didn't make my life easier?  

Even the advertisement put it bluntly: 
Originally designed as a milking stool, the Wearable Garden Stool straps on like a pig tail to let you squat and spring from plant to plant. Save your back and knees from bending, keep your hands free for picking and planting, and adjust the nylon straps so you can comfortably walk while wearing the device. Just don't expect to look cool. 

They've got that right.  I definitely don't look Cool.  



Alison said...

Oh, Karen! Thank you for this morning's laugh! I knew exactly how to picture you as soon as I saw the drawing on the box. No photo required. So sorry the peony admirers surprised you with their unexpected visit. I know the garden looked much better than you think. That's a beautiful peony.

Betsy said...

Wow that stool is a first. I love it and so much want to see a picture of you wearing it. That is totally so funny.
The hail certainly was not a good sign and always heard that to take precaution with hail as that could mean tornadoes could be in the making.
I guess it's true.
Looking at your amazing gardens shows some truly back breaking work you put into it with your husband. Just so beautiful to see.
Happy Saturday

Pam's English Garden said...

I love the idea of squatting and springing, Karen. Just what this old lady needs! Your garden is stunning as ever. I am sure your visitors were very impressed, even if you felt you weren't ready. P. x

Karen said...

Alison, that chair is a goofy thing, isn't it? But so far, I'm still loving it.

Betsy, you may get your wish in the future, I'll have to pose for a photo!

Pam, isn't it amazing the gadgets they think up? It takes some getting used to with trusting it will hold me, but it does!

africanaussie said...

that does look like an interesting stool, and the fact that you dont have to carry it is good. You certainly sound as though you are carrying enough. I always enjoy a laugh when I read one of your posts. thanks.

Missy, John & Ros said...

Ha ha I want to see a photo.
If it works and saves your back and knees it's worth it though. Gardening is a never ending job so anything that makes life easier.