gravel road girl

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Garden dreamin’

I’m sitting here with my laptop warming my knees and a mug of chamomile honey tea close by–watching the snow.

SNOW.

Have you looked at the calendar? It’s May 2nd.

Just sayin.’

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Yes, I know, I prayed for it. People have been reminding me of that all day. I’m waiting for my house to be pummeled with snowballs. Someone even called me ‘the snow whisperer.’ (I kinda like that. I’m going to have a  t-shirt made–for next year.)

But for right now, I could do without the snow. The wind. The slushy mess that sent cars skittering into the ditches this morning. Not mine, thankfully. And I’ve been looking out at my forlorn daffodils, blooms sagging under a heavy hood of white. Tulips turning their backs to the icy onslaught. I think they’re going to be o.k., but I might need to go out and give them a pep talk tomorrow.

Thankfully, I haven’t done much gardening yet. By ‘much’ I mean very little! Like cutting back my perennials and raking out some of the flower beds. We’ve done the preliminary major dog do-do clean up. Actually, I’ll give credit where credit is due–Tessa and Seth did the poop-scooping. And I’m continually in the process of picking up sticks and branches. On 3.5 acres this is an ongoing thing, especially with the winds we’ve been having. And I’ve wandered around making lists of all the plants that need dividing. All necessary chores, but they aren’t giving me the gardening satisfaction I’m looking for. So, during one of those especially cold, dreary days we’ve had, I pulled down my gardening basket.

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If you’re a gardener-wanna-be, you need a gardening basket. If you’re a gardener and don’t have one, I’m not sure how you survive. You probably just make more trips to the garden shed, or, more likely, you’re much more organized than I am. This is like a purse for gardening–it has everything in it that I might need for a trip to the garden or around the yard. So I’ll give you the run-down of what I keep handy in my basket.

GLOVES~

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These are last year’s mud gloves, and they are probably headed for the trash. Because they’re plastic-coated, a year of gardening leaves them pretty stinky and stiff.

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Here are this year’s gloves (notice the Target sale sticker! ALWAYS shop for next year’s gloves at the end of the season–great deals!) The orangey-colored gloves are rose gloves. The longer, leather ‘sleeves’ give great protection against thorns. Believe me, if you’ve ever tried to nab a weed down under a rosebush–it ain’t pretty! So I may not use these gloves often, but when I need them, I need them!

PRUNERS~

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I have a thing for pruners. Can you tell? It’s like athletes and their shoes. I have different pruners for different jobs. I have pruners that SHOULD be thrown away. And I have favorite pruners that don’t even work the best, but I still grab the ‘old faithful’ ones. And all of them are in my gardening basket. On this day I was sharpening my pruners. How tedious, right? A bit over the top maybe? But when you’re out there cutting back your mums or pruning your fruit trees, you’ll be glad you have a sharp edge. So I give everything a squirt of WD-40 and a scrubbing with some steel wool. Then I take my nifty sharpening tool (red half-circle in the upper left of the pic) and run the blades through the sharpener. You can buy this tool at the Tractor Supply store in Ankeny for under $10. Soooo worth it!

Let’s see. Other necessary odds and ends for the gardening basket–

–a couple of trowels (little shovels) for planting and for digging out stubborn weeds. Again, I have several–just because.

old sunglasses. You know, the ones that are outdated or slightly scratched. Great for gardening because you don’t care if you drop them, lose them, or break them.

–a plastic container and foam paint brush. For those stubborn or invasive weeds, pour full-strength Roundup in the container and use the brush to paint down the weed. Yeah, I pretty much mean business.

–an old butcher knife. Pick one up at a garage sale because these are great for dividing your perennials. Dig those overgrown bad boys out with a shovel and then cut it up into two, three, or even more plants! I also use mine to chop the leaves off my rhubarb once I’ve pulled it. No worries about using your good kitchen utensils.

–my favorite gardening books. I’ll talk more about these in another gardening post. But the two books I keep handy are Flower Gardening Secrets by Cynthia Van Hazinga and Trowel and Error by Sharon Lovejoy. I have others, too, but these are entertaining and inspiring as well as helpful.

–and SEEDS!2013-04-06 12.32.28

Once I start planting, I usually keep my seeds tucked into a large Ziploc bag (I’ve been known to forget my gardening basket in garden–overnight). I never have a chunk of time to plant my whole garden at once. So I’m constantly putting in a few rows of lettuce, more beans, or zinnias, zinnias, zinnias!! Really, don’t get me started on my favorites.

Anyway, those are the basics in my gardening basket. It won’t stay neat and tidy for long, though. I’m sure that warmer weather is on its way and will be here to stay. And then I’ll have those glorious mornings when I grab my coffee cup in one hand and my basket in the other and head out to my yard. Not a worry in my mind except how to get rid of those Japanese beetles, and where to move that clump of day lilies. . .

 

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