Returning Home To (Plant) Carnage

The Crisping Of 2015 is (mostly) my fault. Last fall, I ordered a bunch of shrubs and trees to be the “bones” of my ornamental and edible front yard landscape.

Naturally, they arrived when we were sick this spring, so I set them in the shade until a better moment to plant.  A couple of weeks later, seeing the small pots lined up against a wall, I frantically dug some little holes, filled them in with a bit of compost, put in the dormant plants, tamped down the dirt, emergency planting done.

Since then, I’ve watered and given them some foliar feeding to keep them going, but a bit of TLC is no match for choking grass reaching out of sod laid on clay and plastic mesh with baking heat and sun rays reflecting of a sidewalk with absolutely no shade. (Welcome to the heat island that is our side of the street in the lush, green Pacific NW.)

Sun-Scorched Shrubs

After a victorious Sunday of digging and planting in the front yard, I returned home yesterday evening to scorched, crispy-leaved shrubs bordering the sidewalk.

The Firelight Hydrangea, Chuck Hayes Gardenia, Double Mint Gardenia, and Sweet Tea Olive that seemed to have survived our surprise insta-summer with only mild stress looked well on their to giving up the chlorophyll ghost. (✖╭╮✖)

I’d had it; with myself, with short-term builder beauty measures like sod, with crackling sun and no trees. After an 11PM watering of the garden beds and potted tomatoes, I, my little green spade, and garden hose set up triage in the front yard.

A Stop-Gap Solution

For the next hour and a half, I spaded under and ripped out strips of sod a foot to a foot-and- a-half around each plant. The roots were dry and dusty. While soaking the exposed soil, I mixed in a composting mulch and covered up any roots peeking above the surface.

Next, I went after my Gold Thread Cypress and Filicoides False Cypress to make sure they had plenty of breathing room. All of the torn out sod went to fill in our gravelly berm (AKA the hellstrip) and an unevenly graded slope of large gravel left by the person who leveled our property before we moved in.

1:20AM, I forced myself to leave project Stop-Gap and headed to bed fully intending to arise at 5AM to do some more digging but, yeah, that didn’t happen. I couldn’t move until after 7. Big dreams, you know?

To sum up, I have a classic case of Gardener’s Regret #overdoingit and I am paying the price for lollygagging. To be fair, I have dealt with some serious anxiety and had trouble leaving the house this spring, but now that I’ve had a Rx adjustment, my confidence is returning and it’s time to TCB, as AnonySpouse puts it. Here’s hoping my baby bushes survive. (⊙︿⊙✿)


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