Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Garden to-do list for May…

You’ve seen them; they’re everywhere in magazines and on blogs. I'm talking about “to-do” lists for the garden. Do you ever read them? Just for fun? Who the heck uses these lists…and why do so many lists like these exist?
  1. Nip fading flowers off wisteria to encourage rebloom in summer.
  2. To clear planting beds of weeds, dig, amend, and level soil, then water. In 10 days, hoe the seedlings, then plant.
  3. Plant ornamental grasses.
  4. Plant or repair warm-season lawns.
  5. Welcome toads to your garden by offering them a source of water and a place to stay. One toad can eat from ten to twenty thousand insects a year. You can make a toad house by partially burying a terra cotta pot on its side.
If I were to write a to-do list based on my garden tasks for May it would look something like this:
  1. Panic. You’ve bought too many plants and they need to get in the ground NOW. But it’s raining and the ground is too wet to plant.
  2. Mow the lawn.
  3. It’s raining. Make lists of what you need to plant and where they will go, refer to this list once you can get out there and work.
  4. Attend another plant sale and buy more plants.
  5. The sun is shining! Go outside and start planting based on your list. Get distracted and start weeding/pulling Vinca vine/moving a couple of plants that are obviously in the wrong place/cutting dead foliage off Yuccas. (note: the sun is going down now and you only planted 2 plants).
  6. Bring a few containers of overwintered plants up from the basement. Twist oddly while carrying a heavy one and feel your back go OUCH. Keep on carrying more heavy things for an hour or so until you can barely move.
  7. Start placing some of those plants you’ve purchased around the garden in the empty spots. Panic. Realize instead of buying too many you’ve bought too few. Race to the nursery NOW before everything good is gone.
  8. It’s raining. Revise planting list to include newly purchased plants.
  9. Stare at the garden for at least an hour trying to figure out what needs to be moved, something isn't quite right. Pretend to water a couple of things so the neighbors won't wonder what you're doing.
  10. Clear the calendar for an uninterrupted day of planting, get out early and get to work! Start to be distracted by all the things that need to be done…get overwhelmed. Snap at significant other when he comes out to see how you’re doing. Realize you’re being a dork…this is supposed to be fun! Adjust attitude.
  11. Instead of waiting for a cool rainy day (of which there will be plenty) move a few tender plants in the 80 degree sun. Watch them die a slow painful death over the next week or so.
  12. No rain for the last 12 hours, better mow the lawn while it’s dryish.
  13. Start to worry because you haven’t yet bought your Tomato starts. Even though it’s still too cold to plant everyone else is buying and there won’t be any good ones (Sungold) left when you are ready!
  14. Pull patio furniture out of the garage, oil the wood and tighten all the screws. Plan a nice dinner on the patio. Admit that it’s no fun to eat in the rain and move the meal inside.
  15. No plant sales this weekend…sad, instead visit a nursery or two. Buy more plants.
  16. Enjoy a blissful day of planting (paying no attention to that silly list) and tending to the garden. Sit back at the end of the day (glass of wine in hand) and admire what you’ve created.
I could go on but I think you get the idea. Spring is manic; it’s the season of too many ideas and not enough time. All winter long you’ve thought about what you will do in the garden when you finally can, and now...ready set GO!

How about you? What does your “to-do” list read like?

45 comments:

  1. I regret that #6 is on my list too. Which pretty much takes care of most of the others, rain or shine, for the next week or so. Happy May Day!

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    1. Oh no! I'm sorry to hear that. Have you sought the assistance of a Chiropractic professional or just letting time do the healing?

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  2. LOL. This post cracked me up. I can definitely see myself in there. I have tons of plants still waiting to go SOMEWHERE. Many are too small to be effective in the landscape so I'm keeping them in pots for now.

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    1. I'm actually getting the opportunity this year to plant a couple that were too small for the landscape last year...this leaves me with empty containers to fill! (oh no, didn't get that on the list)

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  3. You speak for us all. What a good laugh I had today as it rains here and I make task lists while watching all the unplanted things drown in their pots. Thanks for the hee hees.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know I'm not alone. Prior to publishing this post I had a bit of apprehension...like am I outing myself as a total freak?

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  4. SO TRUE! I always find myself with too many plant purchases and then bang #7 of your list hits!! When you are in that panic, anything can happen at the nursery. I find myself in a predicament with my recent love for olive trees (we'll see how I feel after a couple winters). One of the neglected embarrassing parts of the yard is going to potentially have a mediterranean overhaul. But my greatest to do list item is waging war on the bishops weed. It won't be pretty. It is starting to spread around the base of my mediterranean fan palm!

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    1. You are not alone in your olive tree love...I know a few brave people who have fallen under their spell. As for your b.w. project all I have to say is good luck and there is no time like now to get started. Every day you wait it's pushing it's evil little fingers out further into your garden...(insert devilish laugh here).

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    2. Oh it's soo true. I'm going to have b.w. nightmares!!!! Being choked out by the wretched b.w.... If I wasn't at work I'd be on eradication duty right now!

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  5. Oh my - I had a good laugh in my office (co-workers are wondering why I'm crying). That is exactly the list I would write - you left out nothing. Spring IS manic and I'm in a total panic for 3 months. My family doesn't seem to understand the deadline I'm up against! This last weekend I finally did sit down for a few moments in an exhausted state to enjoy a drink while looking at my accomplishments. Then I jumped again when I spotted a weed!

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    1. Yay it's good for your coworkers to wonder about your sanity every now and then, it keeps them on their toes!

      Isn't it ridiculous what we put ourselves through?

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  6. Disturbingly close to home with this list, but I'm slightly better prepared this year due to early spring. #9 is big for me this year.

    It's been a few years since I've thought "I don't have enough plants!", but I still trade/buy/beg for more. My goal is to have my driveway significantly cleared of plants by the end of June, but that could be unrealistic. I may have to start guerrilla gardening in order to get rid of them all.

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    1. Guerrilla gardening as in planting public/other peoples spaces? Yes! The world needs more of that. I hope that you'll report on if you reached your goal come the end of June.

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  7. Hah hah hah. Only thing I'd add: look to your neighbors' yards for must-have treasures from said sales that you've no place to plants...

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    1. Envy is one of the 7 deadly sins you know.

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  8. Also good to know, I am doing right!

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    1. Oh yes you are, especially the part about buying plants you don't have a place for!

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  9. ::wiping tears from eyes::

    YES. This might be the only list I'd actually complete.

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    1. Congratulations! By the humble power bestowed upon me by no one I now pronounce you a serious gardener.

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  10. Yeah my "to do" list looks a lot more like yours than the generic one. Who on earth has time to dead head Wisteria?

    Right now I'm resting from a busy week. I still have more to plant and more soil to move but my back is still unhappy from the past month or running around.

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    1. I wonder if those that write the lists do so on their own or there is editorial pressure? "Everybody loves lists...get us a list!"

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  11. All I would add is that you could forgo the ruse with the hose: surely our neighbors have gotten used to us by now.

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  12. 1. Pray for some normal temperatures.

    The last month has delivered below average temperatures, below average sunshine and over 200% of average rainfall. The longer term forecast for May is more of the same.

    It feels like winter and is bringing on my winter habits, i.e. not doing much and becoming very tired.

    It's very depressing :(

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    1. I'm sorry...it sounds depressing, kind of like our spring was last year. I'd say that it must mean your June onward will be delightful but ours certainly wasn't last year. It was the summer that never happened.

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  13. I admit my eyes always glaze over at those ubiquitous to-do lists. They alway sound so bossy! But I knew yours would be a deviant to-list, and I wasn't disappointed! Not manic around here, just a general low-grade panic that I've bought too many plants with nowhere to put them -- in other words, business as usual.

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    1. I often wonder how different my gardening life would be in a climate like yours. In my imagination at least it's nearly summer year round. If I didn't have the usual fall chores, followed by the dormancy of winter and then the manic spring would it be better? Worse? Easier?

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  14. Hilarious, I've got shop for more plants down, but my list doesn't include the rain part.

    Thursday I'm headed to a huge grower's plant sale for plants that won't be introduced to the garden centers until next season. Like I need more plants...but just had to share with someone who would understand.

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    1. Wow...please take lots of pictures!

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  15. Your number 16 is the best!! Great post, made me giggle this evening. I don't like to do list, the further I get into gardening the less likely I am to make one. It's nicer to be much more relaxed and spontaneous with ones approach to gardening than slaving over these 'to do' lists.

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    1. I agree...and a funny thing happened after I wrote this post. It was all in good fun of course but it made me really think about how I was approaching spring. I've never been much good at enjoying the process, I get very focused on reaching the goal. Well the last week I've been much more relaxed in my approach. There isn't a deadline, sure I want to have the plants in the ground in time that they can get adjusted before the rain stops and things heat up...but it's only May! I've got all month (and probably most of June too). S l o w d o w n . . .

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  16. My panic list needs to also include: January annual resolution to dig divide mulch and NOT order new plants so that garden develops filled in mature look instead of patchy weedy mess. Then in March when unseasonable warm weather strikes, order on impulse from charming southern catalog plants that will never appear in northern nurseries; at end of April, when snowing again, try to keep these poor visitors from tropics warm until garden turns warm and wet again. They shrivel and moan in fresh air. Will they revive if planted? Again resolve to attack Japanese beetle problem seriously, and fantasize over exotic rustic handmade, attractive and expensive,deer fencing while watching snow after deer eat trillium newly moved after reading someone else's list. Panic is the perfect list.

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  17. You forgot about replacing plants that died over the winter only to realize they didn't die, you just didn't plant them anywhere near where you thought you did (I SWEAR I planted my martagon lilies in the front yard not the back yard...)

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    1. Oh yes! This is a good one. For me it's usually a case of digging into them when replacing them and seeing signs of growth, after I've just chopped them into bits. One could cry when that happens.

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  18. Love that to do list! So true! Mine will include get too excited to wait for the average frost date to pass, plant tender annuals, then frantically cover them when frost is forecast.

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  19. Ha ! The most relevant to-do-list I've ever seen.The glass of wine is vital.

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  20. I laughed over your list -- so much truer than those silly magazine lists. Mine is like this:
    1. Panic because it's already up to 90F, we've had no rain in weeks, and I still have a dozen plants waiting to be planted. Do I have enough plastic furniture to place over them for shade protection?
    2. Realize I still haven't spread 10 bags of mulch I bought 2 weeks ago, and now it's humid and hot, and I'll have to get sweaty and mosquito-bitten while I do it.
    3. Nursery sales are being advertised, but vow not to buy any more plants except agaves or yuccas. It's too late to plant anything else. Must. Not. Plant. Until. October.
    4. Plant perennials I bought at nursery sales and then become a slave to the hose to keep them from melting in 90-degree weather.
    5. Watch weeds grow with no apparent need for rain or watering.
    6. Wish I loved summer like Loree does.
    7. Spend 100-degree days submerged in pool, staring at garden and planning for fall.

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    1. I love it! And I'm sure you'd love summer if you lived in Portland (and of course the reverse, I'd dread it under the death-star)

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  21. Oh yes...that seems far more realistic...and you've reminded me I REALLY need to take a watering can with me while I'm walking around staring at things...my neighbors will be so relieved ;-)

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