||[May. 14th, 2003|05:49 am]
|||||Chirp chirp chirp||]|
Growing a garden makes you look at rain a different way. Sure, you can water and water and keep your plants alive, but rainwater is what makes them flourish (there is a simple explanation for this - no chlorine in the rainwater). Last fall, while I was unemployed, was when I decided to take gardening seriously and started envisioning the plan that would eventually be our wonderful new back yard. (Everything has grown up considerably, but I don't have a recent photo.) My first nod to this newfound desire to grow things was the planting of some herbs and about 100 tulip, daffodil, and crocus bulbs.
It took several days, and ended with some large clumps where I gave up on the bulb planter and just pounding the hardpan doil with a shovel to get enough scraped off. I also planted two butterfly bushes, but could barely dig holes big enough to acommodate them. I'm kind of amazed that they survived.
Sunday before gaming neorxnawang and I went the garden shop, where I bought some herbs, a flat of ivy (48 plants), three bleeding hearts and two large wisteria (they were fresh out of partridge in a pear tree, sadly). We got home with an hour to spare and I decided to start planting. I remembered last year's experience and winced as I pulled on the gloves.
The trowel sunk into the earth like a welcome lover. Instead of scratching and scraping away at the soil by centimeters, two turns were enough to dig holes to accommodate the herbs. For the smaller ivy I didn't so much have to dig a hole as to press the soil to one side and set one in, firm the soil around its roots. I planted half of it within the hour, then finished the ivy and planted the bleeding hearts in the evening.
The wisteria waited for Monday because the next storm came through. The four foot-high plants were in 18" pots, meaning LARGE holes. (Actually, driving home from the greenhouse on Sunday with them standing in the trunk of my sedan, tied in, high above the roof, was a little like being a float in the Macy's parade.) Even at the bottom of the hole, the soil was saturated.
Today is supposed to be sunny and warmer, and the foliage on my lovelies will no doubt be appreciably larger by the time I get home. But I know that the rain we're supposed to get tomorrow keeps the soil soft and pliant for the roots I can't see, spreading and anchoring these perennials in the soil. And this first year, that's the most important part of all. I'm grateful for the rain. I'm grateful we didn't attempt this last summer during the drought. But I'm also grateful that I fought that drought-hardened soil and can appreciate what we have so much more.