Monday, April 28, 2014

Conan the Plant Destroyer

DH and I have been together going on four years now, and this is my third year working in the yard, creating a garden, and using the property. 

Year 1-  I was working full time and that is when I purchased trees for the apple orchard, some perennials, berry bushes and the sticks with leaves (boxwoods).  I cleaned out flower beds which had not been tended to in years, found some lovely surprises, and moved some plants around, and took out others.  Found a bleeding heart that is immense, removed several pine shrubs which were along the house which harbored termites.   The house was in a lot of shade, and there were several trees around the house which were questionable at best.

I planted what I consider my "go to" plants.  Easy care, perennials, some blossoming and fragrant and a few annuals.  Weigela, Honeysuckle, Butterfly bush, Columbine, Hydrangea, and Sweet William as well as some pansies, snap dragons, sweet peas, hollyhocks and petunias.  All of these were planted along the side of the house in their appropriate sun/shade loving spots.  The Columbine did alright, but they didn't thrive, the sweet william-  same thing.  The pansies, and snap dragons struggled, and everything else just kind of shriveled up and died.  I added fertilizer, mulch, some sand, and planted several little bunches of creeping phlox I purchased from a nearby farm.  Still nothing would grow in the "dead" zone except the creeping phlox.  While talking to DH several weeks later and expressing my frustration at growing anything around the house he mentioned that a bush which was by the back door was full of poison ivy, and because the flower bed was such a tangle of weeds and ratty looking lilac bushes which had poison ivy too,  he had actually taken soil sterilizer and sprayed it all along the foundation of the house, then tilled it in. Tore the offending plants out except for the bush in hopes that the poison ivy would be gone. 

Creeping Phlox soon it will be covered with tons of little purple, white and pinwheel looking flowers
I just looked at him and asked why didn't you tell me this earlier?  He looked at me and asked why?  I told him, that is probably why everything struggled or died. I read the container.  Yep that area will not be able to have anything grow for at least 12 months.  I was hoping that the following year would be better.

Year 2- I am not working full time, looking for a job, any job.  We had moved the back door to the sun porch to give us a mudroom, took out all the old chain link fence since we decided to not have any pets for a while.  Interestingly enough the creeping phlox survived and is just doing that creeping, the Columbine, and sweet william returned and I even had pansies, and snap dragons return probably because it was a mild winter.  The yard needed some fill because it had kind of been worn down probably from many years of being a dog run, so we brought in fill and we spread what was called wildflower meadow seeds.  Slowly I watched the area filled in with grass, and some dark pink, fuchsia, white, purple, flowers started to rear their dainty heads. 
Bleeding Heart I transplanted to the front of the house
 One day DH was mowing the lawn, and it sounded like the mower was closer than to the house than it needed to be.  I looked out and DH had mowed through the wildflower meadow. When I asked him why he did it he said well the grass was getting high in there.  I just looked at him and asked what part of wildflower meadow did you not understand?  Grass, wildflowers.....He looked at me and said there were flowers growing in the that?  I just said yep, and walked away. 

Year 3-  This year.  I had planted rhubarb two years ago from a start one of the guys DH worked with provided,  but where it was planted was kind of low and after all the rain last year it drowned.  I still wanted rhubarb so I bought some starts and planted them last week around where we planted the telephone pole for my bottle tree. 

Saturday DH worked outside, waiting for the SIL to return the tiller.  He mowed the neighbors, and our lawn, fixed the log splitter because it was not starting correctly.  I went to work in the afternoon, and didn't get home until late.

Sunday morning conversation:
 DH-  I tilled the garden.
Me-  Oh I thought it would be too wet.
DH-  Oh no it is perfect.  I have it all tilled and will till it again when we are ready to plant in a couple of weeks.  It looks beauteous.
Me-  It probably could use some compost, sand, and manure.
DH-  Did you see how well I tilled?
Me-  No I haven't looked at it, I just woke up.
DH-  Come see!
I looked out and am aghast to see that he tilled the garden and around my bottle tree.
Me- You tilled around the bottle tree?
DH- Yes why wouldn't I?
Me- Because you watched me plant the rhubarb starts last week around it.  I showed you the package had 3 rootstocks in it, where I was just expecting one.
DH (looking crestfallen)-  I totally forgot you planted those.
Me-  Why do you hate me?
DH-  Hey maybe because it is early in the season I won't kill any more of your plants or flowers?
Me-  I highly doubt that.

To say the least Sunday was a trip to the home improvement store for a new faucet for the back side of the house so I am not dragging hundreds of feet of hose.  And I found rhubarb!  I got two, and made Conan the Plant Destroyer plant them.
He then dug through the garage and found some of that old white wire hoop fencing and put it around them to protect them.

I will say though, yes the garden looks nice, and he didn't till under my flowering almond shrub, or chives!

On to quilting.  I joined the relaxing robin which you use an orphan block and make something from it by adding borders. 
I put a border on it.  Next I need some sort of 2nd border, but I am fresh out of the peach and aqua...ok maybe I have a tiny bit somewhere in the stash, but probably not enough to do the next border in flying geese or anything.  I wonder what other colors I could add to this?  I thought about adding yellows and grays to it. Decisions, decisions....I have hit analysis paralysis.  Just can't decide. 

I have housework to do, and some laundry,  maybe inspiration will hit.

Happy Monday everyone!


  1. I loved your stories of your gardening adventures! You had me laughing! I hope 'Conan" will behave!! Look forward to seeing your next border.

  2. that is so funny. you work so hard and then what? My husband was cutting up a tree that fell on our property and he was walking through one of my flower beds in the front yard. I yelled at him because he was trampling my bee balm that was coming up. I guess the men just get so focused on what they are doing they don't see anything else. :0)

  3. My friend Joannie's husband is also Conan the Plant Destroyer! He is forever "helping" her by "weeding" (removing healthy plants) and such. My husband avoids yard work but at least likes to shovel snow!

  4. Tommy g-g-parents scraped our yard before lawn mowers were invented and to this day nothing wants to grow there, of course trees take all the water in the ground to.

  5. gray and yellow sound divine. audition some fabric. you may be surprised by something in your stash. I started with pink and blue on mine and now I have a variety of colors I can use.
    have fun!


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