You know that you haven’t posted recently when your blog host has FORGOTTEN WHO YOU ARE. There have been a series of small, normal kid crises here, the kind that happen so perfectly in sequence that the cynical part of my brain suspects that they may actually be a choreographed series of events. So, I have been in full mother mode, and therefore on autopilot for absolutely everything else in my life. I know we had Thanksgiving, but I have almost no memory of it. Christmas will happen whether or not I pay any attention (Santa does the gifts, the kids do the decorating; I’m not really necessary). And, fortunately, we have discovered that we do not actually have to sacrifice a goat on the winter solstice in order for the days to start getting longer. It’s such a time-saver!
Despite all the distractions, however, I continue to work outside just about every day. The work this time of year is pretty mundane. I spend a lot of time cutting back dead and dying herbaceous perennials. Then, as these sprawling clumps get cleaned up, I find weeds lurking under them which I pull and finally the whole area gets raked smooth and enrobed in mulch. I have been doing a little planting, and am starting to plot the wintertime plants-are-really-dormant-so won’t-notice-what-you-do-to-them moves. Mostly, though, I have been rearranging potted and out-of-the-ground plants for the winter.
I have spent the better part of the last two weeks simply moving plants from one storage area to another. I have several motives for this. First of all, I am sick of entering my house through a thicket of plants. If they were planted it would be lush and romantic, but that sea of black plastic pots is both ugly and nerve-wracking in that it constantly reminds me of all the plant-tending jobs I have to do. Every time I come home I experience a tsunami of silent reproach: weed me, label me, divide me, plant me. I do a lot, but it is never enough and I just have to accept that, which having the problem in my face all the time does not facilitate. Second, it makes this area always dirty, which then gets tracked into the house, which then makes me depressed. Third, if the plants are here they get worked on here which creates a giant mess that takes me forever to clean up, so it is making way more work than I want to do. If I work on them elsewhere the mess will stay there, well away from the house.
So I started moving them, cartload after cartload after cartload.
And, after several days and many trips…
I even filled up the sandbox. Passing time had made it obsolete for its original purpose, so now it will make an excellent holding bed for those plants which are just temporarily (meaning anywhere from two days to three years) out of the ground and therefore do not require potting up. Yes, these would be far better off potted and labeled, but a combination of relentless optimism (“Oh, I’ll get that replanted right away!”) and chronic time shortage makes this a reality.
And I even filled up the space next to the sandbox…
I have pretty much finished tidying all the plants away, and I am really enjoying having everything in more organized spaces. It makes it much easier for me to house plants after I take them out of the ground, and when I want to plant something my plants are now clearly separated from the plant sale plants so I know exactly what my choices are. With a lot of work and a little luck we hope to sell a lot of plants at the sale, and I will keep getting mine in the ground so that there will be many fewer plants by the summer. (She said with conviction.)
There is only one little wrinkle in all this effort. I did exactly the same thing last year at this time. Then I accomplished it in just a few days, but I got all the plants put away, the driveway clear and swept completely clean (including getting the dirt out of the expansion cracks with a fish-tail weeder) in time to host Thanksgiving. I could barely walk, but I was so happy. Then, over the course of 365 days almost exactly, plant by plant, indecision compounded by indecision, laziness upon laziness, I filled it all up again. This year my vow, of course, is NEVER AGAIN. We shall see.