Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Digging a hole for myself... by Cathy Ace

What did you do this summer? Did you take a break from writing? Continue to write while you were on vacation? Change your writing habits at all?

 This is a clue!
What did I do this summer? No writing at all. Plotting, yes. Outlining, yes. Writing, no. (Other than blogs, articles, interviews etc., that is.)

What did I do instead? I planted.
Well, Husband and I planted.
Well, OK then, Husband dug big holes in the spots I picked out, and I sort of whined and criticized as he placed plants into said holes.

In my defence I also brought trailers of soil, plus all the associated bone meal/feeds, mulch and water to the planting every good “helper” does. It doesn’t sound like much, but we have poor, clay-based soil in many parts of our property, so each hole can become a nightmare to dig, has to be two or three times the size of the pot from which the plant is being taken (some holes have been a few feet deep and wide), and we’ve repeated this process with more than a hundred plants.

These were all good-sized maples, ornamental evergreen trees, rhododendrons already over thirty years old, hydrangeas we've grown from cuttings, forsythia from cuttings, hostas, hibiscus, pots of canna lilies and tender hibiscus, and planting out our perennial seedlings of rudbekia, lavatera and the annual petunias, nasturtium and marigolds…for the gardeners amongst you.

Poppy - Assistant to the assistant!
It’s been a LOT of work. Then there’s the watering, of course…and our well ran dry at the beginning of July. So…lots of water trucks delivering water. And lots of hosepipes.

It’s been a BIG planting year, and next year will be too.

Why all this activity? Well, we’re pretty serious gardeners (OK, I admit it, like all gardeners, we’re addicted – and we have five acres with which to indulge our addiction) and a good friend of ours died last year; he’d begged us to save the plants from his commercial-sized greenhouses, which we did. We over-wintered them in pots in a safe spot, and are now doing our best to get what we can into the ground, where it will be happiest. It’s a mammoth undertaking. In April this year I counted around 350 pots. We’re down to something over 200 left. Still a long way to go.

Pots, pots and more pots

The task continues – and we will look forward to next year to see the blooms on the forsythia and rhodos...though many of the hydrangeas have put on a bit of a show for us this year. It will take many years for the maples to create the sort of canopy we’re aiming for, however, so we'll have to be patient (not that it’s easy!). Sorry the photos aren’t full of dazzling blooms or spectacular foliage – you’ll have to use your imagination, as we are!

One of the woodland areas we're planting
The promise...

Hopefully my next novel will bloom into something you’ll enjoy reading next year, too! If you'd like to read something I've already written, CLICK HERE.


Paul D. Marks said...

It sounds like you had a productive summer, Cathy, even if you didn't get any actual writing done. Just like with your garden it's all in the prep work. And speaking of gardens, I wish you could come and help us with ours :-) .

Dietrich Kalteis said...

There's nothing like gardening, Cathy. Lots of time to think up stories.

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Paul - oh heck, trust me...I am up to my ears tending this property, let alone someone else's! LOL. But you're right about prep work being important for both writing and gardening. And I am a detailed prepper!

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Dieter - you're right, I like to uproot weeds as I plot the demise of victims :-)

Susan C Shea said...

Beautiful, Cathy! Last year, I toured the English gardens in Surrey and Sussex designed by Gertrude Jekyll and was amazed by blooming rhododendrons as tall as trees, many planted by her in the 1930s. Her sense of color and texture was brilliant. Looks like you're heading the same way.

Cathy Ace said...

Hi Susan - thanks! The first rhodo I planted here is now about twenty feet tall, and about fifteen feet wide. I adore rhodos, and azaleas too, of course! We're up to about 300 on the property in total now, some extremely large, some which will always remain small. Our late friend David bred new rhodos for the world to enjoy, and we're fortunate to have some which are truly unique. I also enjoy Jekyll's garden designs, and we do have a great number of white/silver plants of the type she favoured (ie obsessed about!), largely because we want to make sure our night-garden is as appealing to moths as our day-garden is to other pollinators. Once these pots are all planted then we can begin work on building the colour palette for the high/late summer, because our spring and early garden summer is already well-blessed with so many foaming blooms, and our fall garden benefits from a wide variety of maples.