Before leaving on vacation, most people prepare by getting someone to pick up their paper, feed their dog or cat, and get the mail. Before we leave, I am always in a panic because I need someone to watch the garden too. If I had my choice, I’d only travel during the months between November and February. However, this philosophy doesn’t coincide with school.
Over the years, we’ve tried an automatic watering system which worked with my soaker hoses. After that first summer, it quit, and we never replaced it. Opening all of the zones at the same time didn’t work well because the hoses watered at different rates with older hoses being more full of sediment and slower.
Lucky for me, this year, our nephew, C., has offered to house sit and watch over my baby plants.
As I led him through the garden yesterday, he seemed to think it was beautiful. That is the first step to getting good help. If the person likes plants, they are more likely to go outside and give them even the slightest care.
Still, I wondered if he would be able to keep everything watered. My system, which has been added onto over the years, is archaic. Long hoses ferry water to various “Y” connections that can be turned on and off. I’ve memorized which ones water slowly and which flood the area quickly (sometimes due to needed repairs.)
Would he know that some plants like esperanza, a Texas native, and tropical lantana, are very tolerant of neglect, but that when the hydrangeas droop, it means they need water NOW!
I’m not saying I don’t trust him, but these are things we learn over time through trial and error.
Add to this that the plants I’m supposed to trial for Athens Select arrived at my gate yesterday in a much disheveled state. Two didn’t have tags, and all of them looked like they’d been turned on their heads. I shoved them into the ground and watered them well. Let’s hope they make it.
- Complete laying shredded pine bark as mulch in the lower beds.
- Plant the last flat of impatiens in front.
- Fix all of the hoses
- Replace the hose and “Y” connector to lower beds on the right.
- Make sure everything is well watered before I leave.
Of these five things, I’ve only got time to do numbers 4 and 5.
On another matter, I want to be clear that I don’t hate all David Austin roses. I won’t be digging any of mine up, and I do love some of them very much in spite of the work they cause. I also agree that they smell wonderful, just like old roses.
For those of you who live in climates similar to England, cool summers with plenty of moisture, I’m sure they perform as advertised. However, in Oklahoma, mine are blooming, but already covered in blackspot. They will just have to shed their leaves while I’m gone. When I return, I will clean up and bag the diseased leaves and throw them away. ‘Graham Thomas’ and ‘Heritage’ are the least affected in my garden as of today.
As I’m typing this, my weather radio is screaming an alarm, and I can hear David Payne on the television chasing storms west of me. Gotta go watch.
Hope all of you are having happy gardening adventures. See you on the road.