Yep, it's going to take us a whole season at this rate. We did get one bush planted.
There are excuses. I found out that the rock covered bed they all are going into has been kept so (relatively) weed-free because some idiot covered it all with solid black plastic!
Down here, the ground is penetrable when it's nicely wet. The rain we just had should have accomplished that nicely. Only, not when those damn plastic sheets cover everything. They don't even do a good job of sorting out the decorative rocks from the dirt underneath. And really, tall weeds and spurge do come up just fine anyway. We still get to kill tall stuff and pull out the spurge that the ants have been using for their shade parasols about twice a year. So I figure the only real reason for the plastic is somebody owns stock in the company.
I freely grumble about it the whole time I'm trying to get the shovel to break through the plastic and all the rocks and all the concrete-like ground just to make one singe little hole. Just dirt with a few rocks? Not a problem. This? There are lots of resting stops while a little more bucket water loosens dirt enough to get a couple more shovelfuls out, then more water, more chopping through the hole, more water....
You may gather that we are just back from the Botanical Garden's semi-annual plant sale. Today is Member Preview Day, just a fancy way of saying our membership lets us and 30,000 other folks in a day earlier than just plain folks to select our plants. They open at 7 AM, and really, it was just as well we arrived 15 minutes later than that because they were still letting in the waiting line of first arrivals
as we got there. The thought of getting there early enough to stand around and wait, stand around and wait, stand around and wait, and finally have the privilege to walk through a couple acres of plants and select the ones we wanted just makes me cringe.
And I came with my scooter!
Poor Steve decided to try making the sale using just his walking stick rather than putting his scooter in the back also and still expect room to tote half a dozen bushes home. He learned just how sensible a decision that was. Yes, we did fit the bushes in. But he's currently lying down trying to find a way to feel better, recovering from our morning.
We arrived with a plan. It started with a list that we had been working on for over a month, including some last-minute revisions. Most of those were changes in varieties in favor of fragrance or being better for hummingbirds. The next part of the plan was to wake up really early, hit the road fighting rush hour traffic since the Garden is on the other side of downtown Phoenix from us, and hope for a close parking spot to the sale entrance.
OK, that last little bit wasn't perfectly implemented. At least we did find handicapped parking, but it was much closer to the Garden front entrance than the sale entrance. Still....
The last part of the plan was to find a staff volunteer both helpful and well informed as to what was located where, and convince (him) to lead us to the good stuff. In turn, he parked us in a findable spot and took our shopping list with him, returning six times with a listed item. Oh, we forgot to tell him that we only really wanted 5, but when his first find was the rarest of the plants on the list, we decided to make room for all six. Why argue with success?
Steve and I swapped which of us was sitting and which standing while waiting for our plants, so it wasn't complete torture for either of us. Still, it wasn't the last time this morning that we mutually agreed that this was our last time to stock the yard with plants.
When I said that the above was our last part of the plan, I lied. Sorry. We also brought garbage bags with drawstring tops to surround the plants as much as possible. They kept dirt confined on the ones that had to be tipped to fit in the car, and kept most of the branches confined on the sprawlers. We'd already noted several broken branches as we were checking out and wanted to minimize the damage. Then we sat in the car for a few minutes, partly to rest, and partly waiting for a break in the traffic as other customers wound up and down the aisles looking either for parking or exits. Apparently none of them wanted our spot.
So, home before 10 AM with delusions of planting. By 11:30 we settled for getting one in. The bags were opened around the rest so they wouldn't bake, water was added to their pots, and the biggest broken branch was pruned and set in the water tub that the dogs have been under the illusion was for their personal private use. I had given up on the branch, wilted as it was, but it started perking up quite quickly, enough that I now suffer from delusions of it rooting and providing us with a bonus plant.
Of course, with space being limited, I expect if it does survive, it'll get planted right next to its clone. Just a bigger bush faster.
At any rate, we think maybe another bush can go in early this evening. It'll still be beastly hot but the sun will be gone. If we pick the littlest pot, we should manage planting and rabbit caging it before the light is all gone. Then one tomorrow morning before the sun comes up, etc., etc.
Assuming we still have some energy for the task.
I think I've got a sunburn.
The first bush in was the Flame Honeysuckle, and we didn't even have it in the ground yet before it's first winged visitor was exploring the nectar content of the red blooms. Kinda makes you want to keep going.
Later, that is.