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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


A Little Late to the Dance

Finally! I’m a little late to the dance, but I finally got the front highway bed planted with the colorful flower show that will hopefully take us all the way through summer and into fall. I think this one will be worth the drive-by to see. I went back to my old-school Pepto-Bismol pink petunias surrounded by Indian Summer Rudbeckia, five colors of coleus, and three shades of vinca. My old, giant petunia baskets are hanging and blooming their heads off. I built a couple of dry river beds going through it all for drainage, but more importantly, they are paths for me to sneak in and out of the beds with my snippers, nippers, fertilizers, and hoses. I use a Dosatron to liquid feed the bedding plants. I love the Doser because I make a concentrate, stick the tube in it, and fertilizer comes out of my hose. You can use any kind of fertilizer you want, from synthetic stuff like Miracle-Gro to organic teas that can be bought or made. It’s easier on the plants to use a slow-release organic fertilizer. We sell an inexpensive version of a Dosatron called a Syphonex. A Syphonex is screwed onto your hose bib like a hose, then you screw your hose into that. You drop the tube into your five-gallon bucket with your concentrate, and fertilizer comes out of your hose for about 30 bucks. I just find it so much more practical than mixing Miracle-Gro type stuff, which means I am more apt to fertilize more frequently.

Mimi and I spent one morning this week trimming back the palm fronds on three of our palm trees up front on the Highway 51 bed. We trimmed up the Vitex, which are about to bloom, and we trimmed the junipers and hollies so everything looks nice and neat. The next day, we started freshening up the soil and mulched the whole bed. The following day, Javier and I planted over 600 bedding plants to make it look its best ever. I’m excited about those Rudbeckias kicking in a little later in June; that yellow is loud enough to grab the attention of the folks speeding past our place. Until now, the beds were pretty neat-looking with yellow violas looking great, and our snapdragons were on their third round of blooms. It looked so good I couldn’t make myself do the deed before our big Mother’s Day weekend.

The reason I want the front bed to look extra razzle-dazzle is because the area behind that bed is now ready to be shopped. We have moved part of our business back up front near Highway 51. Mimi has transformed that area into a pottery mecca. She has done it again; for the last eight months, she has worked tirelessly with our crew to mix Asian pottery with metal and steel warehouse style with specimen trees as a backdrop to the inspirational displays that only she can concoct from thin air. Each quadrant has a specific theme, and some sections are nothing but fountains. It’s quite a walk through there; you don’t have to be in the market for pottery to enjoy it. The walk leads right into our indoor plant and sales area, where you never know what you might see. Mimi had gigantic eastern red cedar tree trunks cut into specific heights and put flat stones on them for display tables—it looks so cool. We are proud of our new area and a little scared that the seven containers of pottery might not have been enough. People are loving the pots, and they are constantly moving out. More are coming in soon, I’m sure.

We have finally taken the tops off the greenhouses. That heat lets us know when it’s time to slow those bedding plants down so they don’t get overgrown. That day usually comes right around Memorial Day. Next week is Memorial Day, so everything is on track. This Monday, we will get a chance to celebrate Memorial Day and take a minute to think about and show respect to those who lost their lives while trying to defend our country. It’s a great day to have friends and family over to take some time out to consider those who paid the ultimate price. It’s also a great time to get your yard in order so you can have people over and bore them to death about all the stuff that excites you about your yard. Sometimes it is hard to remember that you are probably the only one truly excited about that stuff. I have walked people through my yard, yapping the whole time about what was and what is and what shall be, only to realize that they haven’t seen or heard a thing I was squawking on about. Then some people can really see the layers of beautiful things and can hear the stories about how these layers came to be.

We are entering a new phase with our yard as we do away with more and more turf, adding more layers of plants to eventually keep the earth from being exposed to the direct, piercing sun’s rays. It will be easier to maintain once the plants become established since weeds won’t have light or space to thrive. There will always be taking out things that we don’t like or didn’t work, and there will always be adding new things to take their places, so it will stay fun and challenging.

We will be heading to South Carolina to visit our daughter, Mia. We are going on a fence-staining expedition. Mia bought a house recently and added a lot of fence within the last year. We are going to join forces and get the fence protected—our idea of a fun time. Just wish it could be a little hotter. Mimi and I noticed that we will be passing right through Atlanta, where our new favorite band, Goose, will be playing. Goose will be there the night before the staining expedition ensues, and so shall we. A fun night to do a little dancing and bump with my not-so-big, fat woman.

Later in July, we bought our tickets for a night with Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Colorado. We can hike for a few days, come down to Denver for a reggae festival, then we will be back to focus on the big wedding day in our yard in October. It’ll be time to get the plants ready to be seen by some of our favorite people while we welcome this wonderful family into ours—big stuff! Those little trips are fun and last about as long as we really feel like leaving our home and our business. One day we can get back into the big, long trips, but for now, we have a lot to be excited about right here in our little neck of the woods.

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