I'm back! For the benefit of those who had faith in my return I would be happy to share a glimpse of just what my husband and I have been up to in the garden. You also have to factor in a major heatwave for the duration with temperatures reaching the high 30s, and one day a blistering 44C with the Humidex, to complete the picture. Far from an ideal situation but as sweaty, mucky, ugly and painstaking as it was, now that it is all said and done we are pretty pleased with ourselves. Here is how things went...
At this point (above), we had reconfigured the edge of the bed to bring it out a bit and removed a large serviceberry, cedar, two boxwoods and a good amount of annuals were transferred to the back. The hydrangeas were dug up and moved over and then a serendipitous friendship struck up with a gardener resulted in the transfer of our Korean Lilac as well. That was a huge leap of faith as we were assured that with the proper prep work and constant watering we could pull it off without killing the poor thing. It's also not recommended to move plants and shrubs during a heatwave but we crossed our fingers and just went for it.
Voila! The hydrangeas are really not at all impressed with being moved but next spring they will be as right as rain. As for the lilac, it's getting more sun in its new home and thanks to all the watering has been sprouting new growth like mad...phew. R and I divided a few of the hosta plants from one side of the house and replanted them so hopefully the roots take hold for next spring as well. The yews will eventually form a little hedge under the front window and fairy lights will dress them up during the winter months.
This 'island' held two massive Blue Spruce trees along with a weeping Cherry. An odd combination but they were here when we bought the house fourteen years ago. Due to a fungus affecting the evergreens we decided to have everything removed. It took my husband the better part of two weeks to clear the roots with a shovel, hatchet and at times a steel pole for leverage. Watching him hack his way to China became a favourite pastime for the youth on our street and a couple of robins raised their chicks on the worms he would cast their way. Can you spot Deacon being nosy?
The Armour stone was delivered a couple of weeks ago, all 875 lbs of it. R and I both arrived home from work on a Saturday, changed into our grubby clothes and rolled each rock into position. There are two more in the other bed. More dirt, more sweat....move this one a little this way and then that...have a shower and then make out way to an annual appetizer contest hosted by friends. Too exhausted to manage any such culinary delight we picked up a cake instead.
Oh, and the tree in the centre is a Sun Valley maple. R had spent yet another evening digging a hole (they say dig a $50 hole for a $5 tree). This tree definitely cost more than $5 so the hole was very wide and quite deep. The tree was delivered on a Friday morning so what is a girl to do? Unwinding the hose I partially filled the hole with water, cut the plastic bucket from the root ball and lowered it down...very carefully. The hole was too deep! Jumping into the now muck-filled hole I struggled to raise it while scooping more dirt down inside to raise it. I will never live down the fact that my almost 90 year-old neighbour had to come to my rescue. Seeing me look like Lucille Ball in a vat full of grapes only I was covered in mud made his week, perhaps even his summer! There was also a moment of bickering with my husband in which I lost all credibility when a swipe at my sweaty upper lip with my muddy garden glove left the unmistakable appearance of a Hitler-esque moustache.
Oh sure, we can laugh at the stories now but at the time it was tough going. There were moments when I wanted to throw down my shovel, shed some tears and reach for the number to a landscaping company with a crew of burly men. But now that the tools are all put away and the last scoop of mulch has been placed I am so proud of what has been accomplised through sheer determination, a batch of sunscreen and three cases of water and a ton of ice. It's just too bad that now we're all finished and I can get back to reading, the patio set is in the back!