Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Yesterday, the sun was shining after many gray days, and I was puttering in the yard, doing one of my three favorite yard tasks, transplanting (the other two being weeding and pruning). I was moving some foxgloves that had volunteered in the rose bed to a better location. As I worked, I was lamenting the fact that the deer decimate my roses EVERY year. They looked awful! What could I do about it, short of building a fence around the entire yard or at least around the rose bed which would look stupid since it the roses sit against the front of the house.

BING! An idea. I could move the roses into the tiny fenced vegetable garden. I could hear Culley, Raymond, and Jay groaning when they heard this idea, and I anticipated that Cindy would resist the idea as well, having convinced me to move ALL flowers out of the vegetable bed 2 years ago. The only one who might understand was Michael who enjoys the pleasures and challenges of rose cultivation as much as me.

But when I get such an idea, there is no stopping me and as it turned out Cindy didn't resist at all. She heard me out. I told her I would leave room for tomato plants in the summer and her watermelon plant too. I would set up barrels and use the long planter box on the patio to grow lettuce. Those were the only veggies we really wanted to grow. We are not farmers and my passion in the garden is flowers and design and TRANSPLANTING J

"OK," said Cindy, "Go for it!"

So I prepared a place in the veggie garden and started digging up the first bush. Immediately, I discovered that there was another reason the roses were not doing well. The earth was webbed with the roots of the 3 mulberry trees that shade our house and sit 5 feet in front of the roses and the earth is putrid smelling as well. It took a great deal of effort to dig up the first bush. I probably made a mistake in moving my favorite one first, but it now sits in its new home in rich soil in a place of honor in the fenced garden: the first plant you see upon opening the gate.

The goal: To move one bush each day for the next week. And Cindy came up with a great idea for putting something in place of the roses. She suggested I put several wine barrels along the front of the house and plant deer resistant bushes in them such as the butterfly bushes I've been wanting. The beauty of this idea is that the plants won't have to compete with mulberry tree roots, the barrels are moveable if we ever paint the house, and they are consistent with my rustic landscape design.

Feels good to get back into one of the focal points of retirement life (the other two being family and writing each of which has gotten its fair due of late).

The sun is shining again and I'm going to go transplant another rose.


1 comment:

Annie said...

Save room for a possible Cottonwood. Our day needed some outdoor activity. Robert spent the past couple days trimming the Mulberry trees, today we trimmmed the Ashes and Walnut and I cut back the Cottonwood out on my rock and neatened up the yard before the storm comes in. I plunked the best of the little clippings into a pot. If it takes it's yours. I also tidied up the rock and verified that my six year old goldfish did fall prey to a strange cat around last month. I didn't tell anyone of the suspected masacre as I've cried wolf before, but today as I moved shelters and suctioned out the pond it was clear that the frog legs and Shibunkin fins were no hoax. The other pond still has some small feeders which will get a new home. I also took a couple hacks off the roses (could still use a consult here) and blew the yard a bit. The sillly orange flowers (Calendulas you said) and their Poppy companions had me chuckling today. Here's to the joys of the winter yard work. Also think about your rocks before the earth gets too wet to get them.