Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gardener's Paradise

 Our main garden walk this year is Saturday, July 16.  As in this coming Saturday.  Oh boy.  I received an email from the organizer of the trip and the bus is full.  We're on pace for an 8:30AM visit of roughly fifty gardening enthusiasts from the Wausau area which is a good two and a half hours from us.

I did some reading on the tour's website and saw the write up for our garden:

Quarry Garden

In Seymour, WI is a garden marvel that was featured on Wisconsin Gardener by Shelley Ryan and written about in Our Wisconsin magazine. The main feature of the garden is a large quarry pond surrounded by over 500 varieties of hostas and planted with 2000 annuals tucked in with heirloom and native perennials. This is a private, "invitation only" garden so you will not want to miss this opportunity.

What a nice description; now I only hope we don't disappoint with the real thing when they arrive.  I'm not anxious about this tour, we've had so many people through here over the years, but I will say this marvel of ours has been busy producing an epic amount of weeds for their visit. Even though we haven't had much rain they are coming through the mulch on a daily basis.  But no matter, I'm on a mission to get 'em all.  (Yeah, right.)

Carl and I did a non-wabi-sabi walk two nights ago, critiquing everything.  I was going to bring along a notebook and make notes of the worst of the areas but after seeing the cold hard truth, I gave up on the idea.  I've simply started at the beginning again and must weed on.  It's going to be a hot one again today, high of 88 with humidity of 897%.  Ok, not that high, but wowza, do I sweat.

  A few years ago we opted to buy a gas powered Stihl weed trimmer, the big one with the handlebars and the harness.  For years we'd had a corded weed whacker, but in this yard the extension cords can't reach two acres (or up to my mother's house) so a gas powered machine was in order.  

We've tried eliminating most of the trimming by planting hostas as edging which works great, but along the roadside and the culverts there's no other way to handle the weeds.  
Weeds in the Walk Way, oh no.

Weeds in the bucket, yay!

Yesterday afternoon, with temperatures around 87 degrees and a dreadful dew point, I did battle with the string trimmer.  My vow was to only work on the chore until the trimmer ran out of line or the motor ran out of fuel.  Luckily for me, after an hour I did indeed have to stop since I ran out of line.  I was dripping wet with sweat, my heart was pounding in my ears (wearing ear plugs makes the sensation all the worse) and I didn't feel very well.  Stashing the trimmer back in the barn, I headed for the house and air-conditioning for a bottle of water.  

Carl is working on a lathe project in the basement and happened to come up just when I came in.  

"You look hot," he said. 

 I knew he didn't mean that in the 'Whoo baby, you're gorgeous!' sense.  My shirt was plastered to my back, my jeans were coated in grass clippings, and I had gravel in my hair.  (The weed whacker flings stones everywhere.) 
Weeds in the driveway

When the township repaved our road several years ago, they built up the sides with a great deal of gravel which was nice for the road, but bad for mowing lawn along the edge.  The only way to trim the lawn is with the whacker.  

This job unfortunately puts me in the public eye and all I can say is lucky for everyone, we don't get much traffic here.  The looks I get are hilarious.  I always stop mowing whenever a car does happen to come so I don't unwittingly fling rocks in their general direction.  Unfortunately, this gives me the appearance of simply standing on the side of the road looking like a maniac.

There I am, wearing neon green earplugs,  an Amish-looking straw hat perched on top of a full-face shield, long sleeved billowy shirt with a bright orange harness criss-crossing my torso, the handlebar weed trimmer, filthy blue jeans with red (and sometimes if I can't find a matching pair blue and green) knee pads and a pair of impossibly old Birkenstock gardening clogs.  

Boy, howdy, I do look hot.

I must say Ernie DOES look hot, doesn't he?  All decked out in pink.
After a ten minute break, I headed back outside to the weeds again.  When you weed for hours on end, especially alone, you have ample time to think. We attended a garden walk a few weeks ago and I was following along with two other tourists who were in front of me when I heard one of them chirp delightedly, "Oh, look, there's a WEED!"  She seemed so pleased with herself.  I looked at her and grimaced.

When I tour other people's gardens I don't seek out weeds, if you go looking for imperfection you're a jerk.   I'm always interested in the garden design and plant selections. But even beyond all of that, I have to admit my main reason for going on garden walks is just to know I'm not alone.  There are other people out there who toil in the soil for endless hours for no good reason.  I cling to the thought whenever the going gets tough around here.  

I am not insane.  I am not insane.  

There are Others.

Forgive me for my clumsy plagiarizing of Weird Al Yankovich's tune, but as I crawled along on the ground last night until dark with my trowel I worked up my own rendition of 'Amish Paradise'. (For those of you who are not familiar with the ditty, here's a link: Amish Paradise

Hey, you gotta do something to amuse yourself when your smartphone runs out of battery power.

  Cue the music:

As I walk through the garden where I planted my seeds
I take a look at my husband and see he doesn't wanna weed
And that's just awful for a gardener like me.
I could truly use some helpful company.

At 9:30 in the evening I'm still pulling weeds
Carl's locking up the chicken coop and Grandma needs her pills, fool.
And I've been planting and weeding so long
Even the neighbors think that my mind is gone.

I'm a landscaper of the garden, I'm into discipline
I've got a Felco in my holster and kneepads on my shins
But if I finish my chores and you finish yours
Then tonight we get to scrub the vinyl floors.

We've been spending most our lives
Weeding in a gardener's paradise.
We've hauled mulch more than twice 
Living in this gardener's paradise,
It's hard work and sacrifice
Living in a gardener's paradise
Not every plant survives,
Living in a gardener's paradise.

A tourist told me he saw a weed last week,
I just smiled at him and turned the other cheek.
I really don't care, in fact I didn't utter a vowel.
I was laughing my head off as I handed him a trowel.
I ain't never punched a tourist even if he deserved it,
A gardener with a 'tude, well, you know that's been heard of.

I never wear shorts but I got a cool hat
And my cronies agree I really look good in straw, fool.
If you come to visit you'll be bored to tears,
We haven't watched Netflix for half a year.
But we ain't really saints, so please don't stop and stare
We're just horticulturally impaired.

There's weed pails, trowels and shovels here
Not a single bed weed-free,
The quack grass is growing everywhere
As far as the eye can see.

We been spending most our lives 
Living in a Gardener's Paradise
We're just crazy plantophiles,
Living in a Gardener's Paradise.

There's no time for drinks on ice
Living in a Gardener's Paradise
We might fight and chainsaw twice
Living in a Gardener's Paradise.

Hitchin' up the trailer, edging all the borders,
Mowed my lawn on Monday, soon I'll mow another,
Think you're a master gardener,
Think you're really smart?
Well I can tell you I've planted a million annuals from the start.

I'm the gray haired gardener all the people don't wanna be like
On my knees day and night pulling weeds 'til my afterlife,
So don't be silly and plant a big garden 
Or you'll end up toiling in the soil with no pardon.

We've been spending most our lives
Living in a Gardener's Paradise
We're both crazy landscapers
Living in a Gardener's Paradise
If it don't rain
The pond goes low
Living in a Gardener's Paradise.
But those darn mosquitoes bite,
Living in a Gardener's paradise.

Ah, ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhh.
Ah, ahhhh, ahhhh, ahhhh Yuck!

There won't be a video.

I promise.




Anonymous said...

The garden looks wonderful, Karen, especially with your heat, humidity and little rain. We are having the same weather, so humid, 93° and no rain. It is hard to keep on top of those never-ending weeds. You poem is so cute. You have many talents.

Alison said...

I've been battling a few weeds as high as an elephant's eye myself lately, so I know how you feel. I know you meant your version of Weird Al's song to be funny, but you and Carl have indeed created a version of Gardener's Paradise. It's beautiful, weeds or no weeds. Hope the Garden Walk goes well.

Beth said...

Your garden walk will go great; your property is impressive. The Bubblegum petunias look fabulous! Wanted to remind you that July 17 is Sunday - you mentioned the walk on Saturday July 17. I hope they show up on the correct day. :)

Karen said...

Thank you, Donna. If the garden could be watered with sweat, I could keep it going. :-)

Karen said...

Aww, thanks, Alison. I just wish we'd get some nice refreshing rain, but a girl can't have everything. You're too kind!

Karen said...

Beth! Good catch, I edited the post to reflect the right date. Good grief, I am losing it. Thank you for the encouragement!

Sue said...

Karen, I have no doubt your garden walk will be a success.
As for the A-holes that always LOOK for imperfections, that's THEIR problem.
Seems to me there must be something huge lacking in their life that they
try to cut down others.
Happy Weeding.
Hope the heat breaks for you

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

I was LOLing, and had to read your description of the roadside weed-whacking to my husband. He chuckled, too. You are such an entertaining writer. I'm sure your tour will be fabulous. I wish I could be there, but hopefully we'll work out a time to meet soon. I agree: Anyone who looks for weeds at a garden showing is focusing on the wrong things. Good luck! Best wishes for a wonderful showing. :)

Joel said...

We need to make an music video!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I think Joel has a good idea.

Your garden paradise ditty cracked me up.

I'm sure this weekend's garden tour will be enjoyed by all.

Love and hugs to you both ~ FlowerLady

Larry said...

The description of your gardens is well-deserved.... they will NOT dissappoint!!! So good to see you last Sunday.... wish we'd had more time to talk though.... one of these days!! Larry

Karen said...

Sue, thank you! The weather did cool down considerably today!

Thank you, Beth, I'm glad I can bring a smile now and then. Look forward to meeting you very soon!

Joel, we should make a music video, but first I have to rewrite a few lines to get the whole family in the act. :-)

Rainey, glad you enjoyed the silly rewrite. I am a big fan of Weird Al.

Larry, thank you! Yes, we'll have to get together soon and talk glass and gardening.

outlawgardener said...

Thank you so much for the belly laugh, Karen! I love seeing weeds in gardens on tours as mine is always full of them but I'd never say anything about it aloud. Your description of your hot self - Oh how we gardeners can relate. It's not pretty this dirt work.

Tootsie said... has been so long since I visited I am ashamed...but, as usual I am still in jaw dropping awe at how gorgeous your gardens are. I moved to an acreage in November and I have the space to do some beautiful things like you have...but I haven't had a chance yet. I didn't even plant one seed this year and I have yet to get a chance to even think about re-building my greenhouse. :( Maybe in the
You my friend have some of the most beautiful spaces. I love it.

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

Pam's English Garden said...

No one would ever be disappointed visiting your paradise, Karen. Stunning. P. x