Sunday, May 24, 2015

R.I.P. Pinwheels: wherein I slightly destroy garden art

Made it through the winter, woohoo!

Some years ago, in my zeal to defend my Prunus maackii against those dastardly, ever-hungry moose, I concocted a trio of giant pinwheels. Yes, you read that correctly. Pinwheels. (I am pausing a moment to savor these feelings of humility, shame, and perhaps a touch of defiance. There. I am done.)

I designed and welded those things to last through a hurricane. (See here, here, and here, for the story.) They came with us when we moved over four years ago, but never quite looked right at the spot in the backyard lawn where I placed them. Fate intervened with the occasional windstorm in winter. Now the moving parts were bent and broken, what to do?

Meanwhile, I had found the equivalent of a hen’s tooth at the home improvement store. I have been on the hunt for Malus ‘Prairiefire’ without hope for many years, because, let’s face it, Alaska is pathetic (and I’m only slightly exaggerating here) when it comes to variety of plant offerings. I am still looking for Viburnum ‘Wentworth.’ It’s been 5 years. Pathetic.

So my $27 Malus ‘Prairiefire’ crabapple is sitting in it’s pot, waiting. And waiting. I don’t dare plant it because I have no scheme to protect it from the moose. Schemes to protect trees from the moose fall in this order, from least effective to most: 1. folk remedies, like soap-on-a-rope or wolf urine (tied for number 1 with) prayer, 2. dogs (too unreliable), 3. Plantskydd (a blood based product), 4. fencing, 5. electrified fencing, and 6. paid assassins.

Since the Alaska Department of Fish and Game frowns on number 6, and number 5 seems a bit much for the front yard, I settle for numbers 1, 3, and 4. I plant the tree. I spray the tree with Plantskydd. I pray. I sleep. I wake up. Remove pinwheels from the back yard, rip off and snip off tin wheels, march to front yard, and pound the rebar into the ground, no doubt loosing a permanent bit of my hearing in the process. (Note to self: A hammer pounding rebar is loud. Get earmuffs from the garage, idiot.)

Now I can hang some discreet fencing from the rebar surrounding my tree and have the surety of a number 4 level of protection. And what happened to the spinning portion of my old pinwheels, you ask? I managed to salvage one as a d├ęcor item for the soon-to-be-built playhouse for the kids.

It’s Memorial Day weekend, the traditional “planting out” date for south central Alaska. I planted out a month ago, so I can relax this long weekend. Viva la zone cheaters!!


Any repurposing or recycling of garden art? Are your annuals and veggies planted? And do you have to protect your trees?


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