Today was one of those days. We all have them.
The vet called to say that my sweet Slinky Malinki needed an additional blood test. Earlier tests revealed an infection, an elevated thyroid and unexplained weight loss. She refused her pill hidden in delectable treats, and I wasn’t able to pill her without the help of my husband who’s on a business trip…in the Bahamas.
My youngest son called from school not feeling well and asked to come home early. He seems to be doing okay, but he’s only called home from school twice in three years so I worry. It’s a mom thing.
The check-engine light stubbornly refuses to budge on my aging van, much like the extra weight around my aging midriff. This is not a good week for the car to break down.
So, when the going gets tough, the tough get gardening. After dinner with the boys and a quick clean up, I headed out doors. I pruned away dead branches from the lavender shrubs, cleaned out several pots, and watered my neglected annuals. The coleus had to go, a task I’ve been putting off. White flies or mites were everywhere, so any hope of saving cuttings was finally put to rest. San Jose has a yard waste pick up each week with our trash. I didn’t want to compost the ‘buggy’ plant so on to the heap it went. I filled up my watering cans, trimmed the potted roses and swept the by-now-dark front deck.
I brought the fairy garden into the garage for some TLC and finally called it a day. Hard work, especially outdoors, is invigorating and cathartic. Problems remain, but a clear head and a tired body put it all in perspective.
What do you do when the going gets tough?
It’s that time of year again. Garden clean-up. I’d rather decorate than clean, but I know how good I’ll feel when these chores are finally done.
I’m a lazy gardener when it comes to tools, but I’ve promised myself I’ll be better this year. I expect the spades and forks to dig on demand, with very little TLC between seasons. When my hand shears are dull, my husband works his magic and returns them in sharp shape. The rest of the tools deserve the royal treatment as well.
I can hardly wait to get them out of storage each spring, but putting them away feels like such a chore. I’m ready to move on to the next thing. Right now, they’re stacked in the garage in a not-so-convenient spot. I need to slap them together to loosen the dust. Then I’ll damp wipe the surfaces before storing them in the shed for the winter. I use extra-large Ziploc® bags to keep them clean between seasons.
I made a slipcover for the garden swing in May with a few easy ties for quick removal I tossed it into the washing machine yesterday, then dried it on low. It’s ready to store for the winter. I want to come up with a teepee-styled cover for the entire swing to keep the original cover and frame clean and dry. One year I used an old vinyl tablecloth with flocking on the back. It worked fine until the squirrels moved in, shredding it into nesting material over the course of a few days.
I don’t have too many empty pots, thanks to our mild winters. I clean the pots that aren’t in use and store them upside down in the side yard. Some gardeners scrub with a mild solution of bleach to kill off any parasites, but I try to go the organic route. Using mild detergent and super hot water does the trick.
Stakes, trellises and supports
Saving the easy stuff for last, I just stack these in a corner near the shed and have them at the ready for next season.
Have you already tackled your garden-cleaning chores? Do you put it off like me? Check back tomorrow for a progress report. Once I click the “publish” key, the pressure is on!
Hawaiian Vacation Pumpkin
Tips for cleaning and storing your garden tools.