Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One Thing Leads to Another...

It seemed like a good idea at the time. "$100 worth of quality plants for just $20!" Or was it $25? Whatever, it was too good a deal to pass up. Although I don't need any more plants to take care of. And they didn't say what the plants were. "Garden Grab Bag! While they last!" So I ordered them.

Busy days passed and I forgot about my bargain plants. They arrived weeks later rather inconveniently as we were trying to get ready for the neighbor to cut hay off our fields, which meant mowing strips around each field to keep him from running into irrigation pipe, leaning fences, stumps, and other impediments. I also had to mow the horse electric fence line to keep it from shorting out. Plus clean goat pens so I could move more barkdust off the hay trailer that needed to be empty when the hay was baled. (The renewed barkdust path from barn to house to shop had used up maybe half of the huge load.)

The plants were, I suppose, quite a bargain: 6 bareroot Pink Freedom hedge roses (big and well-rooted), 3 Mammoth Red Raspberries (sticks with roots), 2 geraniums (possibly alive), 2 daylilies (definitely alive), and 6 purple coneflowers (of which only a couple were recognizable as plants but maybe they'll surprise me).

It's always fun to figure out where to plant things. I elected to plant the hedge roses behind the carriage house, against the gray metal. That area had only smoke bushes in it that were obliterated by grass. I would have to mow first. That's good because I wanted to mow and liberate the smoke bushes but other things had taken precedence. Even better, in mowing I discovered a smoke bush I didn't know was there... buried in the grass. I also found some enormous holes that needed filling. That was good, too, because I needed to clean a goat pen to get it ready for barkdust. I could put the pen cleanings in the holes, which I did.

The roses were to go behind the smoke bushes and newly filled holes but the hard-packed clay dirt proved impossible to dig. That was okay because I have lots of compost behind the barn. I hauled that in and made mounds, planted a rose in each mound and watered. They'll be more visible that way when they bloom behind the smoke bushes. They're not too impressive right now, mounded behind the manure and straw filled holes, and without any leaves yet, but here's hoping. When you look at this photo, try to imagine beautiful green rose bushes covered with pink flowers. There will be neatly mown grass around purplish smoke bushes in the foreground. I know, it's hard. We must have faith.

After all that work to plant 6 roses, I was not thrilled about finding a home for the Mammoth Red Raspberries, especially since I had recently gone to a great deal of trouble to dig out the herb bed, give it all new compost on top of Weed Block black fabric, and plant 6 raspberries. The instructions had said to plant them at least 500 feet from wild blackberries. There is no place on our farm, except maybe in the middle of a hay field, that is 500 feet from wild blackberries. The old herb bed was as close as I could come. Today I added barkdust to the herb-bed-turned- raspberry-row. That took a few more wheelbarrow loads off the hay trailer.

The bargain Mammoth Red Raspberries are now planted in the Fruits and Nuts section of my arboretum. I had to dig out wild blackberries to plant them... in gopher holes since that was the only place the dirt was soft enough to dig. I backfilled with more gopher dirt. But they needed to be mulched or they would expire of the heat if they survived the gophers and whatever bad thing wild blackberries might give them. That was good because I needed to clean another goat pen to make room for more barkdust. The hay trailer was still mounded high.

Before I could mulch the newly planted Mammoth Red Raspberries (the only thing mammoth about them so far is their name), I had to mow the Fruits and Nuts section of the arboretum. That was good because in so doing I discovered a peach tree that I thought was dead. It has come back from the roots so who knows what it is now. But I mulched it along with newly liberated mulberries and nut trees and the Mammoth Red Raspberry sticks.

The other bargain plants have been thrown in around the flower beds here and there, each with a covering of bark dust. Every little bit helps. But there was still a great deal of the stuff on the hay trailer so I barkdusted the front path. But before I could do that, I had to pull the grass and weeds and overgrown ornamentals I probably should not have planted there in the first place. That was good because the delivery people were going to either have to start carrying machetes to bring packages to our front door or leave their deliveries at the driveway.

The last of the barkdust is now off the hay trailer, as of this morning, having been used in the goat pen I cleaned to get mulch for the Mammoth Red Raspberries. The last half a wheelbarrow load went into the rose bed where I had not intended to barkdust but now that I have, I need to do the rest of that area or it will look odd. Luckily Johnny reminded me that we still have 8 sacks of barkdust from last year that we didn't know what to do with. That's good. However, the rest of the rose bed needs weeding before I spread any more barkdust. One thing inevitably leads to another...

But, hallelujah, the hay trailer is empty and the bargain plants all have homes, sort of. Let the haying begin!

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