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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Might as Well

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE we have made it to May already. April was a blurry memory with lots of nice rain. We are starting this year off with above average rainfall but not much over. I like it when we get enough rain early because it won’t be long that the flood gates will be shut off and we will be crying about the heat and lack of rain. The frequent rains so far have sure been good to all of our newly planted bedding plants and trees and shrubs around our yard.

The theory about planting in the fall and winter months has proven to be correct this year. Planting in late fall and winter is so much easier on the plants because they are slowly getting acclimated to the searing heat that eventually will arrive. March was cool and wet; April, a little warmer with lots of showers so the plants are awakening slowly and putting on new, tender leaves. By the time we get into the 90s they should be good and tough enough to take our summer temperatures.

Mimi and I have planted more bedding plants this year in our yard than we have in a long time. We are drawn towards plants with chartreuse or silver foliage this year and our blooming plants seem to be in the orange/red range, the colors are striking. We are adding a big bed of agapanthus for some powder blue blooms for a new punch of color that we don’t often use. We have rolled in some new, big pots and spread them throughout the yard with native yuccas we were allowed to dig up at a friend’s place. We surrounded them with bright bougainvilleas. Sometimes a pot with a large plant is just the trick for areas where things don’t always do well for plants. We chose those plants because they are in areas of our yard that get water from our irrigation system. The yuccas and the bougainvilleas should get along just fine and will thrive in the dry conditions. It takes a large pot to pull that off, otherwise the plants will dry out too much and suffer in the hotter months.

I’m hoping to get the yard ready for us to be able to leave it for a week or two this summer when we decide where we will go on our next trip. The irrigation system will take care of about 90% of our yard and the little plants should be up and at ‘em by that time so we can sneak away.

We haven’t decided for sure where but just last night while yurting in our perfect nighttime temperatures Mimi said she’s ready to breath some mountain air. That makes me happy. I’m always up for a hike in the clouds especially in the summer months. I had been searching a great beach trip on an island somewhere and the search was getting interesting. I’m glad she let me know that she’s thinking mountains. Now the search can get even more interesting. There are great mountain trips all over the world. We’d both like to visit somewhere that we’ve never been. I’m thinking northern Italy in the Italian Alps. I’m thinking specifically around the Dolomites and Lake Como region, one of the most beautiful places on earth. We could get in some rugged hikes and some casual R and R.

WHEN THE SEASON begins to slow down around the garden center we will vanish for as long as we can get away with. Hopefully we will have some mini trips until then. We have our daughter in Greenville, S.C. who we will visit. We absolutely love the town where she has decided to make a life. Our visits there are always just perfect since she’s into the same things we are, great hikes and walks around there always leave us good and worn out. We usually need a rest after most of our vacations. We have some friends down on the coast who have a standing invitation complete with some boating and fishing, that really sounds great and probably sooner than later.

Until then we will keep getting the yard and the business ready for our absence. I have applied the fist round of slow release, organic fertilizers and I can see the effect it is having on the health of the plants. I will reapply cotton seed meal as a top dress again later this month for its final feeding. We will continue tweeking the irrigation system until all the plants are getting enough water when they need it. I try to run the system as little as possible. Late in the summer months as the weather changes I know when it’s time to put the system on automatic. Until then I will run it manually only when and where it is necessary. I barely ever water the lawn until much later in June, I’ll keep an eye on the dryness of the ground.

We have several events planned in our yard so this will keep us on our toes until it just gets too hot. I don’t enjoy hosting when it gets too hot when everyone just winds up hanging around inside the house. I love to have people over when the nights are in the 60s and the yard looks fresh. We have several cool places to sit in groups spotted around our pond. We light the torches and a few fire pits with a little music going. It makes for a great evening. I hope you are enjoying your spring and are getting prepared for the summer months so you can go to your idea of a great getaway.

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