Friday, January 1, 2010

Heavyweight Bout of the Year: Trowel vs. Lemonade!

It's that time again.  With a wry face and a sigh I contemplate what went wrong in the garden or needs tweaking and just what I think I'm going to do about it. 




I resolve to enjoy my garden more often.  Lemonade in hand, rather than trowel.  Or shovel.  Or wheelbarrow.  This resolution is kicking in only after the botanical garden has a tour here sometime in late July or early August.  So yeah, three weeks of lemonade after three months of trowel.  It's still more lemonade than last year, even if only at summer's end.... 


Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Overdam': Divide me, please!

I resolve to do less buying and do more giving.  What was I thinking buying a Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star'?  Just where am I going to stuff it?  Meanwhile I have so many (fill in a genus name here) growing that I am like the old woman in the gardening shoe as far as perennials.  It wouldn't be such a problem if I wasn't a compulsive plant buyer.  Last year I had an informal policy that no one that I showed my garden to would leave empty-handed.  I dug up something on the spot if nothing was on hand to give.  "I'll just dig up half this patch of Veronica alpina 'Alba' for you.  Clematis 'Petit Faucon,' see you later.  You said you needed a dozen lilies, right?!"  My holding bed is still overflowing, and it wasn't that big to begin with....  This year I need to step the giving up a notch.  Maybe have a craigslist "come and dig" day or something.  I do have a bunch of ornamental grasses that need dividing....


The sorry state of these tools is a bit embarrassing.

And finally (because let's be realistic here, three resolutions is quite a lot for me), I resolve to clean my garden tools the same day-okay, week-after I use them.  End of season cleaning, or not at all, is more typical for me.  Though most of my tools are inexpensive, I do have a few expensive, well-made items that need looking after.  Yes, I hereby commit to make the effort.  Just how hard could it be to get concrete and rust off of a shovel?

Please feel free to share a garden resolution or three in the comment section.  Thanks, and Happy New Year!

54 comments:

leavesnbloom said...

hehee Christine I can so relate to the cleaning of the tools - it gets done eventually.And as for buying of plants - oh boy theres a sale on just now and I've my eye on a few things - but where am I gonna put them? I think my little list will need pruning. I never do resolutions but I make plans - and the only one is to grow some more unusual seeds this year............. only thing is have I room to grow them! Have a good new year.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Garden resolutions I have none and I intend to keep it that way. Hang on, wasn't that last bit a kind of resolution? ;-)

BTW I was shocked to find that there is cleaning involved with garden tools. I never knew that.

Happy New Year!

Barbara said...

When can I come visit and pick up my garden gift? We put up a wooden garden swing in our garden to encourage the lemonade mode. Great post. Barbara

Teza said...

You are most daring....... I steer clear away from revolut.... I mean resolutions, epsecially of the gardening type! Have a prosperous, happy, healthy and green 2010! Cheers!

Grace Peterson said...

Hi Christine~~ I'm so glad you visited my blog because it put me in touch with you. From your post it's obvious we are kindred spirits. Compulsive plant-buyer, yep. [Please don't go too far with your restraint resolution. I'll lose my support system.] Your sidebar bio sealed the deal "rusty garden art"!!
I love your fish sticks and rain chain. Your growing season photos are enticing. And your orderly tools: heck at least they aren't lying abandoned in the back border somewhere. LOL

Forgive me if you're already a member. I'm going to check after I finish this. BUT, do you know about Blotanical? It's a free-to-join garden blog directory that puts members in touch with fellow gardeners from Australia to France to Hawaii to Pakistan to.... you get the idea. If you're not aware, please consider it. I'm sure there are many gardeners who would love to get acquainted and read about gardening in your neck of the woods. I mean, how many of us have to contend with moose?

Christine B. said...

@leavesnbloom
Pruning my list is always difficult. I find I have better luck if I lose the list and find it two years later. Then I can look at it with a fresh set of eyes. Usually my tastes have changed and I really didn't "need" the plant in the first place. Usually....

CB

Christine B. said...

@Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen
Yes, I found garden tool maintenance shocking, too...the nerve of those tools, rusting on me like that;) Resolving to have no resolutions, sounds liberating to me!

CB

Christine B. said...

@Barbara
Hello Barbara,

Don't come and visit now: all I have to give is snow and dead leaves, check back in July! A swing sounds wonderful, better than drinking lemonade while sitting on the deck, as is the current practice. If I get a swing I wonder if my kids will let me have time on it?

CB

Christine B. said...

@Teza
Cleaning tools is pretty daring for me, or maybe boring is the word I'm looking for. I guess making the committment to do it is the daring part, right?

Happy New Year to you!

CB

Christine B. said...

@Grace Peterson
Hello and thanks for the welcome! I am a member of blotanical, and probably spend way too much time there lately, but there are so many great garden blogs, I can't help myself;) It's good to have a support group for that compulsive plant buying. I'm going to need you to talk me out of buying a Cercidiphyllum, a Cercis, and yet another kind of Miscanthus. None are hardy in my yard, yet that doesn't seem to stop me....

CB

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

My tools would fall over laughing if I cleaned them the same day.LOL! My good intentions go array most days. Sounds like you are going to be busy. I guess we all need to stop and enjoy our gardens more. Blessings in this new year.

Christine B. said...

@Hocking Hills Gardener
Yes, I will be busy. But maybe I can try to use my tools less so then I won't have to clean them as often...I can just see myself expending more energy trying to avoid using tools so I don't have to clean them. Are there such things as tool cleaning fairies?

CB

RainGardener said...

LOL pretty hard I'm sure! Whatta ya wanna go and clean 'em for? So they can get dirty again? I guess I've rinsed mine off when they were so thick with mud I couldn't use them a couple of times but that's my limit. ;-)
You and your family have a wonder New Year.

robyn said...

Hi Christine, thanks for visiting my blog. I have been reading your blog and love it! We are at opposite ends of the world, but gardening brings out so many similarities. I think most passionate gardeners find it hard to stop buying and accumulating plants. Even when not buying plants, I still love getting cuttings!
cheers
Robyn

Christine B. said...

@RainGardener
I would much rather just rinse! The rust is really slowing down my Felco's, I wish it would rinse off. Plus, I do tend to abuse my tools by using them for purposes for which they were not intended: a trowel as a pickax, etc. With such hard treatment, they don't last long without a bit of care...unfortunately.

CB

Christine B. said...

@robyn
Yes, that accumulation passion is strong with me, but I also have a bit of a neat streak, so I do occasionally thow up my hands and say "enough" when it comes to plants. I do a plant purge. And then I see empty space and plants I really, really want. And then I start the cycle all over again. Maybe it's a sickness;)

CB

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

Wonderful post, I also have the problem of buying plants compulsively but I don't enjoy dividing large clumps of perennials. It's quite a situation really. No one left here empty handed either. As for cleaning gardening tools, I just pick off the large chunks by hand, they're just going to get dirty again, aren't they? lol.

Christine B. said...

@Rebecca @ In The Garden
I just had a great thought: maybe I'll try to compulsively buy annuals only so I don't have the dividing issue;)

CB

azplantlady said...

Oh, I just love that you give away plants to everyone who stops by to visit. I would love to visit, although the beautiful plant you give me probably wouldn't survive where I live ;-)

teresa said...

Sounds like your intentions are great and your resolve is strong. Easy to say when you aren't out there looking at that one weed you will pick real fast, or let me move this over there and before you know it, three hours are gone. You sound just like a gardener. And that's a good thing.

Christine B. said...

@azplantlady
I do have a small collection of salvias, sedums, and penstemons. That might be all I have that is hardy in the hot spots!

CB

Christine B. said...

@teresa
Yup, the time warp happens to me all the time. I have a hard time "staying on task" in the garden.

CB

Rebecca @ In The Garden said...

@Christine B.

Good idea! I did buy more last year than usual. The way I see it, there are 2 minor problems with annuals. First, they don't come back, so spending $ on them feels a little frivolous (whereas a perennial is an investment! lol). Second, if you add more of them, they will require new or expanded beds, so the following year there is the dilemna of replanting with annuals or switching to perennials. I more or less keep annuals in pots, and perennials in the ground, although some annuals snuck into my beds this year. Decisions, decisions! ;)

Christine B. said...

@Rebecca @ In The Garden
Annuals are a pain aren't they? I can't help loving them though, some of my most fragrant plants are annuals (up here in AK at least). Alyssum at least has the decency to seed around for the next year. No such luck for stock, sweat peas, and heliotrope! I just need a greenhouse, then I could grow all my annuals and even some perennials myself instead of spending a king's ransom buying them. Too bad there is no room for one in the backyard....

CB

Shari said...

My tools have bright orange handles, which is helpful when I have to go back and search for them on our land somewhere. I figure that's what rain's for! (cleaning tools)I enjoyed my visit here.

Christine B. said...

@Shari
Yes, I keep meaning to do that! I was thinking a bright pink or zebra stripe (or both) on the tool handles would help me find them. I'm the worst at losing trowels, especially.

CB

Twisted willow said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Christine. Now I know what I should be doing now there's snow on the ground - cleaning the tools. Ummm ... maybe I'll get round to it next week. Our M stellata Royal Star is one of the real joys of our garden in Ireland. I'm already looking at those fat buds and imagining what they'll look like when they're all out in a few months time.

Christine B. said...

@Twisted willow
Clean the tools in winter?! It's way too cold and I'm way too wimpy to be out there doing mundane things like cleaning tools;) I'm too busy doing mundane things like shovelling the driveway.... No gardening here until mid May at least!

CB

Meredith said...

If I ever sat down to clean my tools the day I used them, I'd probably fall over in shock. No, I'm much more likely to work myself really hard until there's no light left, and then deal with the muck later -- much later. Maybe not even before I need the tool again, hehehe ;)

Three wonderful resolutions: kindness (to yourself), generosity, and mindfulness. I enjoyed this post.

Red Studio said...

Who could pass up a Magnolia stellata? Thank you for the very funny post. Divide, dig up, and give away is a great plant motto. Especially for those of us who have far too many. And it is fun to share.

Christine B. said...

@Meredith
My tools will be shocked, too!

CB

Christine B. said...

@Red Studio
Magnolias are a bit like unicorns up here in Alaska. Pretty much unheard of...we'll see if mine lives through the winter. I love sharing plants, esp. with new gardeners. Then I tell them they can share that same plant I gave them in a few years when it bulks up. This summer I will be sharing lots of ornamental grasses.

CB

Kate said...

Hi;
First time visit, found you through A Healthy Garden. One of your resolutions fits neatly into my plans! I resolved to buy less by suckering more of friends into giving me seeds and perennial cuttings. I'm teasing you a bit, but 'plant exchange' is one of my resolutions. Happy to have found you. I follow an Alaska Tweeter, which has been great fun.

Deb said...

just found your blog today...been complaining about the cold here in Texas...thought I'd ck out Alaska....

Pam's English Garden said...

Maybe I should make the resolution to spend less time on Blotanical ... But then I would not have found your witty and inspiring blog! I resolve to visit you frequently. Pamela

Christine B. said...

@Kate
Hello Kate,

Thanks for stopping by, but no fair teasing me about taking some perennials off my hands! I predict a banner year for divisions...mostly because I am really overdue on many plants.

CB

Christine B. said...

@Deb
Well, we're about 26F at my place right now. So about ten degrees warmer than most of last week...I need a warm vacation!

CB

Christine B. said...

@Pam's English Garden
Hello Pam,

Thanks for the compliment. I should resolve to spend less time on blotanical as well. But you're right, it's hard when there are so many interesting garden blogs out there. I think I've gained 5 pounds since I joined, how pathetic!

CB

Mary Anne said...

Your tools don't look all that bad! I've seen worse... I only clean mine at the end of the season, with linseed oil. And of course I never put them away dirty or wet. Any less care and the rust starts to form.

I hope you're kidding about the Craig's List thing...you might have a large crowd on your hands otherwise!

Christine B. said...

@Mary Anne
Hi Mary Anne,

Thanks for the tip about linseed oil, I had no clue. Also, the craigslist thing: you might be right! Maybe I'll only take the first two callers or something like that. If people know they have to help dig and divide to get a piece, that might limit the numbers, too. I'll proceed with caution though.

CB

Mary Anne said...

The linseed oil is great - not only do I rub it into the wooden handles (using an old t-shirt) but onto the metal parts too, before hanging them up. I suppose ideally I should do this more than once a year, but...you know how it is.

Yes, definitely proceed with caution if you want to do something like that. Another idea is if you belong to an organization in your community (block watch, church, neighborhood assn, etc.) get the word out that you are holding a "gardener's party" and have them dig up what they want! But you may want them to bring their own tools. (Or if they use yours...they have to clean them...)

Christine B. said...

@Mary Anne
I know just which t-shirt of my husbands that I want to use for the linseed oil;) You are wonderfully kind for sharing all of this great advice with me!

Thanks again!

CB

debsgarden said...

I like your resolutions. I'm afraid i should add the one about cleaning garden tools to my own resolutions. I usually start a gardening day with a tour of the property with coffee (lemonade) in hand. This helps to clarify what most needs to be done that day and gives me a chance to appreciate the garden. If no garden work is planned, the stroll is longer and may be later in the day. I love ending the day with a walk.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I love your idea of not letting people leave empty handed, I need to keep a shovel and some pots in corners of my yard so I can quickly dig things out for visitors :)
I've been trying not to buy things unless I know I have a spot for them, but sometimes there are plants so tempting that I just can't not buy them. Then I come home and rearrange half the yard to make room for them.

Christine B. said...

@debsgarden
I'm afraid about the tool resolution, too. Afraid I won't be able/willing to keep it up. Touring the garden first thing is a great idea. Too often I just head out with good intentions only to get sidetracked by the first thing I see that needs doing.

CB

Christine B. said...

@Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
Sharing plants is such fun, isn't it?! As for tempting plants, oh, how many sirens now inhabit my yard! Way, way too many.

CB

Maria Berg said...

Me to want to give away or plants! It is fun that way and I will also try to clean my garden tools.

I will not make more the 3 new flower beds this year I will try to keep some grass for the kids to run on...
Maria berg,
Ps. It was frozen apple the bird was eating at my blog.

Moonstone Gardens said...

Keep a scrub brush next to the faucet on a long string (otherwise, I promise it will run off). It's easy to clean tools when the tools to clean them with are close at hand. I also keep a spray can of WD40 on a shelf near my tools to give the dry tools a spritz now and then.
I love your blog. And your resolutions are very practical.
Cindee

Christine B. said...

@Maria Berg
No more than three new flower beds? Wow, you are a hard worker, I am getting tired thinking about digging up enough grass to make three new beds. I had to keep some turf grass for the kids, too.

CB

Christine B. said...

@Moonstone Gardens
My hubby kept "borrowing" my WD-40 from the garden and it finally disappeared for good last fall. I'll have to hide a can outside this year. Great idea about the scrubber on a string!

CB

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

At least your tools are hung neatly rather than standing in a corner. Nice post.

Christine B. said...

@Iowa Gardening Woman
Oh, there are some standing in a corner, too...we ran out of room to hang tools on the side of the house so some have ended up in the garage, as well. I suppose I need to purge some tools from the collection at some point in the near future.

CB

Ginger said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!

I need to get better about cleaning my gardening tools, too. I'm bad to leave them out in the weather, which is especially hard on wood-handled tools.

Wendy said...

I am also trying not to buy. I've been very good and not even "saving" the catalogs. They're going straight to recycling. A come a dig day sounds like fun - you could make lemonade for all and have a little garden party as well! Tools look great - I envy your collection. Maybe one of my resolutions could be to start amassing nice tools...

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails