May 23, 2014

DIAGNOSIS - Attention Deficit Gardening

A nearly black Salpiglossis, which self-seeded into a tub where an orange tree is growing, has grown to magnificent proportions throughout the winter in our greenhouse. Almost impossible to grow in a hot and humid New England summer, this old fashioned annual can be grown as a winter pot plant under cool glass, and this is proof.

Who needs a Cross Fit membership when they keep a garden?  I was reminded last weekend while chatting with other garden blog friends at Trade Secrets, that I am not alone in my grief. Really -- who has time to do it all? I certainly don't. For example:

4:35 am   Awakened by morning chorus of robins
4:45 am  Fall back asleep
5:10 am  Dogs wake me up to tell me that the robins are up
5:11 am  Mind starts racing about various garden chores to be done
5:12 am  Finally decide to get out of bed - no use waiting, as the weather looks sunny

>ugh< OK, Full disclosure - see? Much of my garden is indeed a mess, so don't feel bad. I really...who can do it all?
Not even me, no way.

5:30 am  Activate new Nespresso machine - double shot espresso with cinnamon
6:00 am  Eggwhite omelet, fresh strawberries and a second espresso. Then a third.
7:00 am  Make to-do list
7:20 am  Make second to-do list
7:26 am  Edit to-do list with a third coffee

I took a chance with an early spring crop of Kale, a chance, because heirloom kale grows best in cool weather, which is why it is often suggested as an autumn crop sown in July, but so far, we have yet to reach 80º F, and our kale is thriving.

7:26 am Get distracted on-line, order Amazon books, download iTunes songs and Seeds.
7:55 am  Walk out onto deck, start picking up dog toys and dog poop around yard.
8:10 am  Open vent in greenhouse, get distracted watering pots on the walk
8:45 am  Decide to rake a little on the side lawn, remember that there is that a mulch pile too
9:30 am  Spread a load of much, then Decide to 'quickly' cut down some shrubs and a magnolia tree

Pea tendrils being picked for a new way to create a spring salad. More about these soon.

9:45  am  Send Joe to Home Depot to get new chainsaw, and a deep shovel to dig-out bamboo sprouts
10:30 am Decide that I had better transplant tomato seedlings in greenhouse
10:45 am  haul out citrus trees in large tubs from greenhouse, and the agapanthus pots, place them around garden.
10:50  am  Drag tree branches to the wood so Joe doesn't yell that I just leave piles everywhere

Our two devil dogs, brother and sister Weasley and Daphne (Doodles) examine citrus pots for mice as they are being taken out of the greenhouse for the summer. Daph sneaks a taste, but quickly discovers that the fruit is too sour.

11:00 am Start raking out side beds, and digging bamboo from around hellebore's
12:00 noon  Joe returns from Home Depot - start cutting trees and some shrubs
1:00 lunch - Joe is hungry: note to self, teach him how to make a proper veggi burger
1:30  notice that the back yard is crazy messy. Loose temper. Shit, Lily Beetles.
1:35 Weeds!! In the perennial border - start pulling out but notice wisteria runners
1:46 Fence really needs to be painted, and I have some paint, but do I have brushes?
2:00  Too tired to rake any more due to blisters, start re-digging bamboo-from-hell
2:30  Take a break in the greenhouse, repotting fuchsia's into larger pots - pot 18 plants up.

Male Orioles fight in a spectacular white- leaved selection of Acer palmatum, a Japanese Maple that has pure white foliage when it first emerges in early spring, especially a cool one such as the one we are experiencing this year.

2:38 Need to make third to-do list for supplies. Need stakes, netting for vines, gravel for new walk
3:00  Feel guilting about not mulching. Haul one wheelbarrow full -- Look.....Orioles!!!
3:02 Distracted by walk that needs to be swept, decide that containers from greenhouse need placement
3:30 Realize that I'm too sore to haul pots anymore, I start making more piles with branches
3:38 Orchids need repotting - now, as I notice new growth on cymbidiums . Start trimming bonsai
4:00 Decide to make more piles, one for plastic pots, one for dog toys, one for tomato stakes
4:30 Sow some Prickly Poppies, Cilantro, random seeds that I found.
4:45 Decide to transplant parsley and celery into garden now that it is shady

Mesclun mix growing in wooden flats ( real, vintage ones from a nearby old greenhouse that was going out of business). I find that these flats with sterilized potting soil, allows me to grow very clean baby greens that I can snip with scissors.

5:00 Maybe it's time to drink something - start to envy noisy neighbors for having a party
5:24 Find twine, and decide to clean off and organize potting bench in greenhouse
5:45 Find box of seeds that I forgot about, sow Lima beans in pots for a head start
6:23 Joe reminds me that there are boxes of plants that arrived that need to be unpacked. Trees!
7:30 Pick mesclun for dinner, start soaking it in water. Find Turkey eggs behind greenhouse.

8:10 Omelet with asparagus, eggs, chives, goat cheese and arugula tasted better than it should.
8:31 Run hot bath with Bliss Pink Champagne and Raspberry bubble bath. I'm a big girl.
Settle in 'my chair' with Lydia, blanket and laptop - watch Mr. Selfridge.
10:30. Decide to watch second repeat airing of Mr. Selfrifidge because I was distracted with laptop.
11:08 Crash in bed with dogs after watching weather for tomorrow.

At the end of the day, one can, and should take a little time to rest ( a beer?) and appreciate the little things. Wrenny, our house wren returned last night, I heard his calling, and calling, and mentioned to Joe that he is yelling for us to clean out the wren houses, but he reminded me that Wrenny is actually just calling to get a little Wren booty. Oh little wren. I wish you luck. Above, a Fothergilla blooms near the greenhouse. Always well behaved, this native North American shrub looks great 12 months a year. Nice branches, incredible fall color, and pretty nice flowers, wouldn't you say?


  1. Sounds like my kind of day. I bet you sleep soundly.

  2. Dizzy just reading, at your day. Thank you for sharing, good chuckle. I have to work hard, not to get distracted in the garden, good to know it's going around. The greens look so tender and delicious. How do you sterilize potting soil? Is that only for greenhouse growing? I would think it would get pretty unsterilized quickly outside? (Smiling wide)

  3. Your day sounds a lot like mine do! Every time a gardener starts to do something, six other things rear their heads.

  4. This cracks me up. Love it!


  5. A friend of mine who reads your blog regularly said that you seem to like Salpiglossis. I live in the PNW and it's pretty easy to grow here (sorry) and I have fallen in love with the flowers. Last summer I saw a Kiwi green one and could kick myself for not buying it. I both bought the plant and grew them from seed this year. The ones I bought are either dark maroon, purple with yellow or just plain bright yellow. The ones from seed are several different shades of purple with the yellow stripe. The flowers are smaller though. Keep up the good work!


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