Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The very definition of the word!

I am obsessed.

Obsessed with gardening.

I blame it on mom. I inherited my green thumb and my love of plants from her. However, I think it mutated into something larger and scarier in me. I've gone far beyond where she was when I was growing up. Why couldn't I have been happy with a few roses, tulips and house plants? Why?!

But noooooOOOOooo! Here I am, in the middle of a massive backyard remodel and it's October. I have 52 plants left to get into the ground. That's right, as in Left Over. I've put several dozen into the front yard (16 were purchased at the Denver Botanical Garden Fall Sale, many many more were relocated from the backyard to the front yard) already. That 52 does not include the hundreds that are waiting on my back deck for either sale or heeling in for the winter in my raised bed to be sold in the spring.

Did I mention that I'm planning on going into business raising plants for sale? Umm...I am! At least, I'm thinking about it and am putting together a collection of plants to sell, plants to use as stock (think cuttings) and supplies. I thought I'd grow some for sale in the fall, before the Farmer's markets close in early November, just to get my feet wet.

Well, my feet aren't wet yet, but they're getting cold!

Anyway, I have this huge plan - a project plan, if you will - to get my nascent business off the ground. It goes like this:

  1. Design backyard remodel.
  2. Relocate all sun-loving plants to the front yard and replace them with part-shade plants.
  3. Ensure the backyard will be Wildlife Habitat certifiable. Food, water, cover, and places to raise young are the requirements.
  4. Finish the side yard flagstone pathway project (placed on hold since April).
  5. Install raised (heated?) sand bed for starting cuttings.
  6. I can parley the certification into a sales angle at the market. I created a habitat for wildlife. You can, too! Ask me how!

The part that I'm in the middle of right now is #2. I spent a lot of time on #1 and am still revising it as I go (Scary - it involves a compass and everything!). The problem with installing 52 new potted plants is that for every plant I want to install, I have at least two that need to be relocated! That means 3 holes need to be dug in my very hard clay soil for every plant! Aieee!

Originally, I was going to relocate all of the plants first, then order a truckload of compost, till it all in, rework the sprinkler system and then plant the new plants. However, that plan has gone into the circular file since I am quickly running out of time. Did I mention it was October? It's getting cold. So long as I can get the plants installed prior to the first hard frost, I'm OK. Did I mention that I'm doing this almost entirely on my own? I break out the Erician (read that as Eric-EE-an) when I need a seriously large hole to be dug or very heavy things to be lifted. For example, this weekend he moved my crabapple tree from where it was to 70' away.

Yes, we're moving trees around here. You'd be amazed at what you can do when you're determined! Or obsessed.

OK, it was just a small tree, but it wasn't very happy sitting in the shade (There it is again, interfering with my plants!) under the ash tree. So, we moved it to the one sunny corner left in the yard. That corner will now proceed to shadiness as the crabapple grows up. It was so unhappy that it had a tiny rootball. I had E dig a 4 foot hole, expecting the rootball to be 3' around. It was around 1' or 1.5' around! Ack! This would explain why it didn't seem to be putting on a lot of growth, huh? It looks happier already. If you're wondering, Why all this effort? I would be sad if it died, it was a Mother's Day present from E & C a couple of years ago.

Therefore, instead of the original plan, I am now placing the potted plants according to my design, removing any pre-existing plants and reinstalling them elsewhere, digging individual holes as needed with the Mantis, amending the soil with bagged compost (I've run out of my own), and watering the plants in with root stimulant. Repeat ad nauseum. Did I mention the water feature?

Oh yeah! I'm installing a water feature!

This involves digging two really really big and deep holes. I'm using the Mantis and even with that, it's taking awhile. I need to get some sand tomorrow with which I will level the plastic liners in the ground. Then I will need to get some flagstone to line cover the liner edges with (will happen after the plants are done) and raise the soil level around the stone. It will be the same stone that the path will be made out of, so I can at least get some of the materials for that project. The sand bed, the side yard and the certification will all have to wait for next spring, but the plants I've purchased have to go in now.

My obsession makes sense now, doesn't it? Doesn't it?


1 comment:

Tessa said...

My mother says that if you are interested in volunteering at the botanical gardens, to call her. e-mail me for her number. You can volunteer with her in the alpine rock garden, or she can get you set up to volunteer somewhere else, like in the herb garden, etc. There are different perks to the different areas. Some have minimum hour requirements and then give lots of perks, etc. It just depends on the group.

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