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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Keep it Interesting

June is gone fair and square. It did get hot but our area generally got some nice showers and some cloud cover to make it bearable. In my mind last year our spigot shut off on the 4th of July. We didn’t get a rain from then until deep in September. There were plants that I was willing to do whatever it takes to keep them alive in those conditions and there were plants that I declared were on their own. Looking back I wish I would have done a little more. I was in denial for a good bit of that drought. I thought that any day we would catch a break. It just kept on going until by the time I realized what was happening some of the plants were parched and I got lazier and lazier the hotter it got. I’m a believer now, downright nervous, that the weather  pattern could happen again. I have pushed my irrigation zones farther back into the parts of the yard that I got lazy on. We have replaced the plants and it looks great, some of it was a blessing and some not so much. It’s hard to see so many dead trees and shrubs backed up by the pine beetle trees, we lost some but not all.

All over town the landscape really looks different with all the pine trees and wind related trees removed, some neighborhoods are hardly recognizable. It’s like a tornado came through but our homes weren’t affected, it all happened so fast I think our heads are still spinning. I often wonder what would have happened if that would have gone on for another 3 or 4 weeks. I know it feasibly could happen and we are preparing as best we can with having a plan in place so that if we see the spigots shut off again we can easily cover as many plants as we can. I am hoping for intermediate showers enough to keep the ground wet at a descent depth. I know it’ll be hot but we will need some rain to keep our now well saturation ground in bounds.

Everyone has had to make decisions about replacing plants in their yards. Some plants are in patterns and losing one or two makes a big difference so they have to be replaced. Some plants you might can live without, some you may have never liked to begin with and it lent an opportunity. Our customers have been excited for changes in their yards and they have been way more cautious about their decisions. It’s fun to make changes in your yard , especially when it’s forced on you, but it is expensive. We want our plants that we spend our money on to give us a long time investment return. Since we have a landscape company we are in a lot of yards and have a good feel for what made it better than others and those are the plants we offered for the most part. We would get the customers to the heat and cold hardiest plants that we observed to be the best chance in case of another double whammy.

Our bedding plant season went well, it seems that more people were digging in the dirt this spring. Our bedding plants looked great as usual and they were flying out of there. Our numbers worked out great but there was a moment that our grower, John Grant, had that look on his face like maybe we didn’t grow enough early enough. Then that mascara running heat came on and things slowed down to the gear that was more comfortable. I’m telling you he is a wizard at having things ready right on time. We still have very fresh bedding plants available and have started our mum crop at the greenhouses. He grows our mums out in the blazing sun on black weed fabric in black pots. Last year it got so hot on the west side of the pots that it cooked the roots. We started noticing a few dying off here and there, then it got hotter and the west side of the plants were dying throughout the crop. We joked about turning the pots during the day, sounds crazy but it would have worked but he grows too many for that to be feasible. We are using a terra cotta colored plastic pot this year just in case.

Some of our summer plans have occurred and we have some coming. After seeing Dead And Company at the sphere our next journey was to Atlanta to dance with Goose and on to Greenville, South Carolina to see our daughter Mia. Mia bought a house and had a fence that needed staining. Their weather during the summer is very similar to ours just not early and the heat doesn’t go as late in October like ours. The fence staining went great and looked great. That’s one of those things that feels good to have checked off your list for 3 or 4 years. Each of us four had a paint gun, they had pressure washed the fence before we got there and they had everything ready. It was really fun especially as we finished it up. We were good and tired and hungry. Mia and Cody took us out to a wonderful outside dinner and we took a great walk around their beautiful city. The next day we had a good hike to some waterfalls, had a cold swim to cool off, 2 miles back to the car and got hungry again. The next morning Mia had to get on back to work and we decided to spend an extra day or two just hanging around Greenville. We loved it, late mornings, great coffee shops and spent time with them in the evenings. We just couldn’t leave their scene, it’s a good one. We have a weekend coming with our friends from Bay Saint Louis for some boating and fishing. That is another place that we love to hang around for a couple of days, it’s kind of Mississippi and it’s kind of New Orleans in a way that is fun. Later in this month we will have our trip to Denver for some hiking and some concerts. About equal time for both. One of our nights was to be with Neil Young, they have now cancelled due to every band member being sick. Sounds fishy to me. We are excited to see those mountains and breath some mountain air in late July.

We had a Sunday morning here at our house that we really enjoyed. We have some friends right around the corner who devote a lot of time to their garden. We have been going back and forth to see each others yards for years. They are early birds so we get together by the pond at 7:30 am with some good coffee and some blackberry scones and chat for a while. When we are good and ready we begin walking the paths around the yard and dissecting things we’ve all observed in our yards. We are such nerds that we’ve begun taking notes, there is so much to learn from others who have the same passion. We discussed possibly getting together with other like minded people who would want to see others yards and have theirs seen. It would be fun if it could be kept light, just about an hour or so, in and out so no one has to tie up too much of their day yet enough time to take it all in. It’s amazing how much can be taken from those kinds of visits, it brings renewed excitement and ideas to build towards. Thats what it’s all about for me, keep it interesting.

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