a day at home

As I expected, I had a lovely day at home today. Rain is so reassuring when you need it. I looked at the gusts from inside my warm cheery little house and thought, “Yes! All the deep watering is being taken care of.”

We, that’s the gardening crew “we” (as opposed to the family, royal, hospital or mental patient “we”), have put in a number of trees this summer that need a little extra to get them over the hump. So we put a 1/2 hour drip on them, approximately once a week- depending on the weather. Rain like we got today feels like we got a freebie at a tag sale or that nature was working in sync with us.

I tend to be more a ‘work with mother nature’ kind of gardener as opposed to the ‘impose your aesthetic sense on the garden no matter if that plant will never grow there’ kind. But perhaps that is because I work mostly on the implementational end of things.  I got to visit a number of lovely houses this summer on garden tours and ended up chatting with one of the gardeners about the person who had designed her garden. She said that he was a very helpful and flexible kind of designer who helped figure out mutations to the plan in response to changing conditions. No wonder he was the primary designer featured on the tours, I could only applaud. Trees grow and make shade where there was none. Zones change, microclimates exist.  The owner’s new wife hates yellow. Biblical type plagues descend on Viburnums. Salt water gets into wells and poisons the plants – that last one happened to us just recently at one of our estates, thank goodness we weren’t watering too much. At another estate, a freak microburst knocked down more than half of our old growth trees, I bet you can just imagine how much that changed everything. Basically, things happen and accommodations have to be made. To me it is what makes gardening so much fun… well, one of the things. There is a beautiful tension between the flux of changing conditions and the predictable patterns that make up gardening.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have seven baby seedlings, aka volunteers, in pots that I weeded out of a client’s garden and just couldn’t put into the compost bin. I am such a sucker for a plucky survivor – and survivors they are for having lasted the summer in my holding area. I do water them – usually. But winter is fast descending on us and I peered at them out of the window wondering if I should brave the flood to give them a little time to develop a root system (knowing I would do no such thing). I remember a time when I used to garden in the rain. I had a wonderful alpaca sweater and in that and my straw hat I was good to go for a day of wet and wild, but no longer. I have developed a cat-like aversion to it. Well, not my cat – but he is another case all together. I don’t count any cat as being stereotypical that likes hanging out in the bathtub and the rain, adores dogs, likes to take walks and won’t sit on laps.

Oh, my goodness, is that the time? I have a fun filled day of mushrooms that I have to get up early for tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes – now, where is my mushroom book…


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