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The Flower Garden Part Two

posted 3/6/2011 12:58:58 PM |
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It became clear over the next several days that the neighbors clearly thought I was crazy. Who plows up their front yard after all ?? They thought I was even crazier when the next thing that happened was a dump truck pulling into the driveway a few days later with a load of mushroom compost that they then proceeded to dump on the parking pad. We had gotten a load the year before when we first started the vegetable garden but it had been dumped out of sight of the neighbors behind the workshop so it was near the garden. This load was in full sight of all and it was BIG.

I don’t know if you know what mushroom compost is but it’s what’s left over after the large scale growing of mushrooms. It’s largest component is horse manure and little white button mushrooms as well as several others are grown on it. Will you think differently about the little white button mushrooms you eat from now on ?? We are blessed to have a mushroom factory within 25 miles of us because that stuff is worth it’s weight in gold for gardening. It is one of the absolute best compost/fertilizers that money can buy and best of all ~ it’s cheap. At the time a large dump truck full cost $150. I won’t deny that it’s slightly fragrant but GOOD compost has little to no smell and this wasn’t overwhelming by any means. Just it’s own distinct fragrance. Here in Tennessee there is a large amount of red clay in the dirt and for some reason I will never understand when they dig basements they scatter that red clay all over the yard. When they get that deep the clay is so compacted and basically dead that’s it’s virtually impossible to grow anything in so why in the world would they spread it in the yard of all places ?? But I digress.

That pile of compost took up almost the entire parking pad and was taller than I am. It was a virtual mountain of compost !! When JB got home that evening he asked me if we were crazy for doing this again. As I said we had gotten a load the year before when we started the vegetable garden and we knew what awaited us. I just grinned and told him sometimes you have to go through a little sh*t to get to the good stuff. He just laughed and hugged me.

Over the next several days after the compost came every spare moment I had I would round up whatever kids were home and we worked. JB did the same if he was home and if nobody else was there I worked on my own. Shovelful by shovelful we loaded the wheelbarrows and hauled wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load of compost out to the newly plowed garden. Shovelful by shovelful we scattered it over the garden and raked it in. We all had blisters by the time we finished but we had managed to get about a 4 inch layer over all of it but the paths and it actually had some brown mixed in with the red. The kids always moaned and groaned but they always ended up enjoying themselves before we were done. We laughed and talked and made light work of it. We connected. That was one thing the Garden was always good for. It took us 4 days to get that mountain down to nothing and hose off the parking pad.

Next came the tilling. JB and the boys did most of that because I had a lot of trouble with that old monster tiller. I had learned that the year before. It would yank me off my feet regularly and I would end up face down with the tiller on it’s side or with it sitting there gloating and putt putting LOL. I had cussed the dang many a time last year but this year I let them handle it. It took them another 4 days of tilling until I was satisfied with the way the dirt looked and felt. I always want to feel the earth in my hands when I garden and I very seldom ever wear gloves when I do. The dirt connects me to the rest of the world. It makes me feel grounded and soothed and calm. You can tell a lot just by handling the dirt.

Once that was done it was time to not only let the garden rest but to give us a small break as well. I scattered all purpose fertilizer over it, we raked it in and let it sit for about a week. JB had made me a homemade tamper and every other day I went out and tamped down the pathways and had one or the other of the kids do it on the days that I didn’t. They all took a few turns. I wanted dirt paths to start with because there was only so much money to invest in it and while I knew hardscape should come first I didn’t want to wait another year before I actually had flowers. I knew this would be an ongoing project and I knew also that I would have time later on down the road to add the gravel to the paths that I eventually wanted.

We worked on it hard that first year. I’m sure the kids thought I was punishing them for no reason LOL. We brought in boulders that we got for free. They were re-doing the highway near our house and I stopped and asked the road crew about the possibility of getting some of them. They told me I could have all I wanted and that was all I needed to hear. Each and every one of the kids groaned when they heard that LOL. They knew what they were in for. The foreman even had them loaded them into the bed of the truck for us. It was fun getting them out but we ended up getting five pickup loads of boulders. We put some in the Garden and some in other areas that we knew we would be wanting to landscape later on down the road. We planted perennials, annuals and biennials. We planted seeds and plants and vines and shrubs and roots and bulbs and rhizomes and tubers. We weeded and weeded and weeded and watered and watered and watered. We planted roses, irises, peonies, poppies, yarrow, lambs ears, lavender, hollyhocks, baptisia, delphiniums, daylilies, clematis, anemones and lilies. We planted Butterfly bush, weigela, evergreens and azaleas. We planted hostas, astilbe, heuchera, bleeding hearts and ferns. We weeded and weeded and weeded and watered and watered and watered. Come fall we planted asters, tulips, bluebells, dahlias, mums, crocus, hyacinths and muscari. And still we weeded and watered until at last winter closed it all down.

And the Garden grew. It grew beautifully.

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   read more blogs!

Blogs by lilofval:
A little sense of wonder
The Best of March
Things that shouldn't be ...
Musings from the Back Yard
The Flower Garden Part Four
The Flower Garden Part Three
The Flower Garden Part Two
The Flower Garden Part One
Pink's Move
I'm Curious ....
Happy Birthday !!
Buying an Island
Are you ready ???
A Mixed Up Southern Fairy Tale


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Mar 6 @ 2:26PM  
Hey lady, It was another great read with lots of feeling and insite into youand your love of the garden and of your family.
I'll be looking for the finish and the photo'sI hope!

Mar 6 @ 2:57PM  
Great story Lil, really enjoy it

Mar 6 @ 3:19PM  
That was a lovely story. I know you had to be proud and I am sure your family was as well. I love to work in the yard, and as you said the dirt/soil grounds you and eases your life.

Mar 6 @ 6:22PM  
looking for your finisished product now that you hooked me. It sang to me when you said the words "we connected" Thats what its all about. When you said your neighbors thought you were crazy, it reminded my of my favorite movie "field of dreams" when kevin costner plowed under his corn field to build a baseball field. Dreams come in many forms.

Mar 6 @ 8:14PM  
Oh yeah, tiller' Reminds of the time I tried my Dad's tiller out when I was 7 yrs old....didn't turn out so good....that damn thing about had me air born. After that, I left that part to Dad...and contented myself with helping Mom with planting seeds and pulling weeds afterward. Of course, when the tomatoes grew, and were nice and red, my sisters and I had our own snacks outside while playing. Drove Mom nuts because she wanted those tomatoes for canning. Then there was the green peppers, the carrots, and yes, even the cucumbers.

I've got a flower box right under my kitchen window. Since I've been here, it's had the fake flowers in it. Of course, they're dingy looking now...been thinking of maybe throwing those out, get some good potting soil, and put some real flowers in it this year.

Mar 7 @ 8:09PM  
Great story Lil. I'll just bet your garden was gorgeous.
Do you have any pictures to share?

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The Flower Garden Part Two