Your Garden Will Never Be The Same

Friday, August 29, 2008

If I Were Soil ...

If I were soil capable of supporting rooted life -

I would refuse to allow grass to grow.

I would only provide nutrients to more garden friendly human delights.

I would house those that prove to be beautiful, surprising or colorful presences to behold.

Silvery Leaves of Pulmonaira
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

Whose fabulous fuzzy leaves cast such a ray of beautiful light over the cooling green of shade.

Red Charm Peony
Image © CJ Diamond

One must admire the appearance of true red so rare amidst an ocean of pinks and white.

Cheerful Purple Coneflowers
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

Whose excitement never wanes as the family circle gets more daring and bold than ever before.

Delicate Columbine Dancing on a Breeze
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

For I will clothe the sprightly faeries with blossoms as billowing frocks at the spring cotillion.

Blue Parakeet Iris
Image © CJ Diamond

Who fair echo the color of the early summer sky connecting the awakened soil with the heavens.

Strangely Colored Heuchera Leaves
Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

The appearance of which is meant only to delight the viewer with their bizarre unexpectedness.

Perhaps it is better that I am not soil, for what would the cattle and sheep eat?

This is not to say that I would cast out the trees or luscious fruits or crispy vegetables. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it is wiser that I am only allowed to play with the soil. On further musing if I did gain total control of it things might become a bit one sided!

Yet I cannot help but wonder if the world would be a happier place if I could build Utopia.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

Have you any idea what it is like to be walking along minding your own business when a special presence just butts in and creates it's unique little self loudly known? One ignores the rude tactics as the comely entity comes into view. It is shouting at me and not one word befalls my ear. I was no where near the cursed thing and yet it had the audacity to solicit my attention from afar.

Look at it waggling it leaves and preening about two aisles over. Like I am this easy? Really, I can turn off your button just as fast as you decide to light up. Talk about stealing the limelight! I am keeping my attention here where it was before you so rudely interrupted my train of thought. Like, talk to the hand already.

Sure. Like I can concentrate on this ordinary old Zonal Geranium while you are over there just exuding all manner of siren type behavior. Perhaps if I pay you a moments' notice you will cease and desist with your loud voice disturbing my simple errand.

My conscious mind warns me not to get any closer to you. Did I pay that little reminder a shred of heed? You shameless little plant! You have led me into the path of temptation too great to be just where you will be most happily ignored. All right! You win ... I have a pot that is you all day long, well I will right after we pop over to the pottery department on our way to the checkout counter.

Perhaps it would be wiser to buy potting soil at a store that does not stock live plants.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I Got Your Note

Image © Lost In The Flowers Media

The thing I liked about lunch hour when I was placed at the helm of the landscape contracting office was that everyone else left. There was just me, a Diet Pepsi and the opportunity to concentrate. An entire 45 minutes or so of peace, broken only by a ringing phone. As long as I willed the phone not to ring, life was good.

Don't think that the presence of the staff would have allowed me to accomplish a task. No one asked for them. They were here to do what I could not because I was either out or on the phone. Then there were the things that no one knew how to do but moi. This was a moi job.

My powers of mental control kept that ringer silent for all of 30 minutes. Okay, I answered it right before the machine did.

"Hello!" said the female voice. "Its Judy, Judy Stein. How are you?"

The good news? She is a gem of a client. The bad news? Perhaps it isn't all that bad. I'll let you decide for your self after following this conversation.

"I fine, Judy. I'll bet the guys cut your new lawn area today." I answered.

"OH, we just got in from France late last night," she gushed. "What a lovely trip it was, ten whole days of rest! Still I am glad to be home again. That's why I called, to talk to you about this note."

"Note?" I was puzzled. I can't recall sending her a note or why I would have. "When did I send you a note, Judy?"

"I'm not sure, it must have arrived while we were away. I was just opening this pile of mail and there it was. It was nice of you to let me know about the sod. I wondered if anyone called the police?"

Moi again, there is no one else to transfer this humdinger too. Visions of all manner of things those infuriating guys might have done blasted my mind. A blend of angst and bafflement now formed a knot at the top of my stomach.

"Whatever they have done, surely it is nothing to call the police over," I stammered. "You and I have always had such a great relationship, Judy can't we settle this without bringing the law into it?"

"But it was stolen," she cried. "Who on earth would do such a thing? I know it is just grass, but if there is a police report then I can turn it into my insurance company."

"Some lowlife actually came to your house while you were gone, rolled up all that new sod and took it? Are you kidding me? This is the first I have heard about it. "Let me call the truck and ask them what they know." Now, I have had some really crazy events go on that I had to deal with from this office, but this here took the cake. There is no way of my guys would be stupid enough to do this. It was definitely an outside job.

Just as I had my hand half way to the two-way button, Judy went on to say, "What do you mean you didn't know about it? You wrote me this note. I know this is your signature on here. Is everything all right, dear?"

What on earth is this woman talking about? By now I am literally beside myself. I decided to start at the beginning,

"Judy, you have been gone for 10 days. Look at the date on your statement. I typed that note the day after they finished the work in your yard. By the time it reached your mailbox you had already left town. So how could I have known that your sod was stolen?"

"But, Tammy, the note clearly states that you knew." She replied, and my mouth fell open. "It clearly states here in the note that the sod was taken."

At which point I burst out laughing. I really couldn't help myself, being swept up in a wave of relief that made it all the more hilarious. It was definitely one of those moments you are lucky to be conversing with a friendly client who has known you since childhood.

"Now really, I have been robbed of my perfect new lawn and you are laughing?" Judy sputtered. "What is wrong with you?"

"Judy, did you look out the window before you called me?" I asked wiping my tears.

"You know, I think you might just need a vacation yourself. Why would I look out the window after I your note?" Now her voice is all concerned for me. "Shall I just call the police myself?"

Lord, please don't let me laugh again! " Judy, have you seen the crime scene at all? Please do me a favor; go over and look out the window. If there is just bare dirt out there, I promise I will call the police."

A minute later Judy is laughing. "Now why did it not occur to me to look outside before I called? No wonder you were so confused. But please, could you explain this note? Why would you tell me it was taken if it was not?"

"When sod roots into the soil under it, the trade term is that it "has taken", as in taken root. The note says 'As soon as the sod has taken we will mow the area'. I guess I should not type it that way on people's statements. You are the first person to think it meant stolen."

"Isn't this silly?" she asked as she chuckled. "In fact, this is the craziest thing I have done in quite some time. You must have thought I lost my mind! Wait until Jerry comes home, he will be rolling when I tell him about my day."

"Well, at least I do not have to put the crew on trial and try to squeeze out a confession. I was horrified when you wanted to know if there was police report." I was still giggling, but talking almost normally.

"What a stitch!" she laughed. Well, at least the day is off to a good start. I'll let you get back to work now, I need to go and unpack. Keep laughing now. Goodbye!"

Judy was still laughing when the phone hit the receiver.

Friday, August 22, 2008

First Peek at Foam #1

PLANT SCOOP for 2009 - River Series Tiarellas

Tiarella cordifolia 'Delaware'
Image courtesy of Plants Nouveau

Plants that run form a flowing carpet that would remind one of a river. The developer of this new group of Tiarella selections has named them after a river from the east coast area of the United States. The River Series consists of five lovely cultivars of Tiarella cordifolia. Each bears unique leaf shapes and telltale dark markings.

'Delaware' Tiarella is the product of 15 years of cross breeding and selection of plantsman Sinclair A. Adam. Just one of 150 hybrid seedlings selected from a test group of 15,000 plants.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Want a Tropical Paradise...

You know it is really refreshing to work with a landscape design client who actually gardens. So, I was very excited about this new project. The client wants wild abandon and color everywhere. Brilliant color too because her significant other is color blind. Totally my cup of tea you know.

So after many hours of layout and several on site meetings at the new home under construction on the waterfront and golf course. I have developed exactly what she has instructed me she wants out of her yard. She wants something different than what everyone else in the entire area has.

No areas are completely without evergreens. There is tropical foliage, grasses, flowering trees, shrubs and perennials threaded through the entire scope of bed layouts. A huge rose garden and don't forget the annuals. The client is ecstatic when looking over all the photos of the plants and reviewing which ones are in what bed.

The majority of the planting was completed a month before cold weather set in. A handful of perennials were completely unavailable until spring. She was absolutely in love with her yard the day the last of the season's work was done. A gardener always thinks they have found heaven when everything comes out so lovely from the plan.

Don't ask me what happened over the winter to this person who has gardened for years farther north. I was totally caught by surprise when she called in February to say,

"There are so many blanks spots in my planting beds. Why aren't there more evergreens?"

My mind froze. Like did she really just say this? Did she expect Elephant Ears and Canna Lilies to stay for her to admire all year long in zone 7? She knew what would disappear last summer before it was planted. Before I could utter more than,

"Um..." I was blasted with yet another zinger.

"I am having a huge party on March 29th and I want all the rest of the perennials planted, these dead ones must be replaced by 2 days before the event. We can't have you people in here with all the other setting up that must be done. Oh yes, and we need to plant the Impatiens and the rest of the new annuals when you come to do the other work before the party."

What does one say to someone like this? This is not zone 10? Have you lost your meds? I mean it could snow tomorrow if Mother Nature felt like throwing us a curve. The last threat of frost is like on April 15. Better yet, none of these plants will be available until maybe early May. The gardener client is telling me her perennials are dead when they are dormant! Deep breath here ...

"The Elephant Ears are not dead, they will be back when the weather warms up enough in June. In fact none of those plants are dead, they are sleeping until warm weather. The amount and placement of evergreens was approved by you last summer. We can plant winter annuals for the party but they are an additional cost over the installation contract price as they are not part of that planting list or item pricing."

Well, this did not go over real well.

"I do not want all these holes in my landscaping! No one else has them, why must I?"

One gets the feeling she would have liked to been a gardener prior to building this house but she has perhaps not ventured past drooling over magazine photos. No, I know she actually does play in the dirt and can identify and converse about certain plants - both woody and herbaceous. Perhaps she is sleep talking?

After a few more minutes, I finally managed to make her understand that party or not, the weather was not ready (inside or outside a greenhouse) for the plants she wanted to be planted before the first of April. Was she happy about the situation? Of course not! But I am not God and there is no heating system installed in her soil to wake them up faster than nature.

Just because the house looks like it was built in Florida, it actually sits several states north of there and hours from the Keys. The real pip in the winter woman is that she did not want evergreens everywhere when she was the summer woman who approved then entire project.It isn't like she bought the wrong shoes to match her suit and can return them for a better suiting pair!