|A small milkweed beetle investigates a crown vetch bloom…neither of which have anything whatsoever to do with the post below.|
Well, I know what I'll be doing for the next few days…digging holes! Forty-some holes in a yard where even a gallon-sized excavation can often take well over an hour. This comes thanks to the rocks and limestone fill which were used over the decades to build up, by several vertical feet, what was once a low island. After which a thin covering of soil was sprinkled overtop. This stone underlay is therefore barely beneath the surface, typically flush with the grass roots. You never know when your shovel goes ker-thunk whether you're dealing with a thumb-sized pebble or a boulder bigger than a Volkswagen.
So it's going to be WAY MORE work than simply shoveling out a bunch of modest holes. Alas, how I wish I had someone else to blame! I always think enforced labor goes easier if you can assign the responsibility to someone else. Unfortunately, I got myself into this mess—a sweaty, back-breaking, hard-work dilemma I've repeatedly self-inflicted every year since moving to this streamside cottage, though this time around I've set a new standard of necessary toiling drudgery.
This whole predicament is caused by three things—my love of plants, an Irishman's penchant for thrift, and the fact that the sprawling complex of greenhouses and nursery acres of one of the larger national garden and landscaping catalog retailers is located a short drive up the road. Every year, at spring's end, they put their leftover stock on sale—serious, deeply-discounted, practically-a-steal sale! Roses and dozens more good-sized plants in gallon containers, $1.99; perennials, 99¢; and everything else a huge percentage off. Hundreds of things, thousands and thousands of plants. Everything from succulents to ornamental grasses to ground-covers to mints and herbs to blooming things too numerous to imagine—practically whatever you can name is available for a pittance.
When the three-day event kicks off on opening morning, several hundred eager shoppers are waiting. More stream in by the minute. Only the amateurs and planting-space challenged select a push-cart for their prizes; the rest of us grab one of the flatbed wagons which are roughly the dimensions of a dinning-room table and capable of hauling, oh, forty-something plants with ease. Some poor souls, apparently having even less than my own modicum of restraint, pile on a couple hundred gotta-have plants. A few purchase more than one wagon load.
At any rate, while you're enjoying your weekend—all those picnics and outdoor rambles, fishing trips, and lazing-about-in-the-sun snoozes—I'll be dig, dig, digging. That is, if I don't make a second run up the road for a few more delightfully cheap plants.