The Mad Dash of Spring

Perennial beds well sprayed with garlic spray to keep deer out

Order of operation is a big focus in spring. I try to juggernaut around the property from task to task with maximum efficiency. If I go down to the compost pile to dump weeds, I dump the weeds then fill the now empty wheelbarrow with sifted compost from the adjacent ripe compost pile and take this black gold to a waiting bed which I prepared earlier in the morning.

If you catch me standing in the middle of the garden looking spaced out, it’s probably because I am lining up the tasks in my head. Bing bing bing. Or I am simply spaced out. Or I am recovering from yet another hour using the garlic spray tank.

I’m also big on multitasking. If I am carrying one thing from here to there, I add other things going the same way to save on trips. Say for example this morning when I picked up a half dozen broken down cardboard boxes to use for mulch, a sledgehammer and a flat of Sweet Pea babies in one trip because they all needed to go to the vegetable garden.

Today I began what I thought was going to be a streamlined pickup and drop off smoothly accomplished…….then life or spring or being human pulled me up short and showed me that maybe I should slow down. Maybe I also sometimes often always need to make two three four trips not one trip. And maybe I should plan on accomplishing one or two tasks a day not twelve.

You see, the Sweet Peas which HATE to have their roots disturbed (and I mean SERIOUSLY HATE THIS) were the casualty in this morning’s overly ambitious three item pick up. Their flat flipped as I carried it to the vegetable garden and all the babies got dumped on the ground. Profuse apologies were offered as I scooped them up, planted them with love and bitter regret then watered them in with Green & Tonic AND Emergency Care.

The thing is, I have an elegant erroneous idea in my head about the time and effort necessary for every garden task and I am completely mistaken about my ability to execute a plan…….. then reality enters the picture.

Today reality showed up in spades. Not only did the Sweet Peas get dumped, but a task I thought would take five minutes, nearly finished me off. There is a frog fountain in the Arbor Garden. Several days ago when we still had snow, I cleaned out the ornamental pool where the frog fountain burbles away all summer except when the pump gets clogged, a dog jumps into the pool for a swim and disconnects the tubing or someone trips over the cord that frequently unburies itself and this unplugs the pump. As I trotted by the pool this morning, I thought I’d take “a few minutes” to get the pump on the frog fountain going.

Such optimism.

When in the history of humankind has a water pump for a garden fountain functioned properly on the first try? In a word, NEVER. The few minutes ticked into an hour as I fussed with the pump, but then with the pump finally functioning…. I found myself wrestling to get the water tube in place on the underside of the concrete frog that composes the fountain. Quite simply I lwas overmatched for the job. In my flawless mistaken memory I have easily positioned the rocks underneath the fountain and then attached the water tube to the fountain itself without problem.

Today this “easy task” was like wrestling lions in the coliseum. Rocks that hold the fountain in place slid out of my grasp to the bottom of the pool. After mucking around the bottom of the freezing cold pool to retrieve rocks and rebuild the platform, I was still left with getting the fountain working. It was like juggling a watermelon to get the frog flipped over, water tube inserted then flipped back in place and resettled correctly on the rocks. When completely wet and exhausted I finally got the frog cockeyed but spurting some water through its mouth with only a modest amount of leakage underneath the fountain, I heaved myself to my feet and went on with my other tasks, ignoring the fact that I now had odiferous pond slime soaking my shirt and pants. The dog didn’t care I smelled bad so why should I?

As my garden day ended, I vowed to slow down breathe, chill, hydrate, avoid pond scum and be human tomorrow. Then the mail arrived with an enormous box of seed potatoes. A whole garden is dedicated to potatoes this year, and of course it is not ready for potato planting. BUT THE POTATOES ARE NOW HERE! And in Ireland they have had their potatoes in since St Patrick’s Day and this is relevant because really our climates are sooooooo similar?

It is a real test of will for me to leave the potatoes on the kitchen table for a couple days until I can get the potato patch ready. It is a real test to IGNORE the potatoes and just do the other jobs planned.

Here’s my new list of goals for tomorrow, just modified in light of today’s misadventures and the arrival of the potatoes. Wish me luck!

  1. Cut back Rose suckers in Rose Gardens
  2. Weed Asparagus bed
  3. Finish mulching vegetable garden
  4. Weed Hollyhocks
  5. Transplant Snapdragon babies
  6. Cut back Thyme in front garden
  7. Leave potatoes on kitchen table