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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Entry for April 29, 2008

Retirement gives me time to do all of the real manly things that I love, like planting petunias. Whenever my Daughter comes over and finds me gardening, she says I am doing “old people stuff.” Harrumph!

I’ve been in this house for nine years, but really did not start any serious landscaping until five years ago. Every year since, I have added to the collection of trees and shrubs. Most of the flowers I prefer are annuals. There is a linden tree in the front yard that I have always wanted to surround with petunias. Each year I plant them, each year they die with screaming finality. Each year I try a different solution. This year’s solution was to double the height of the border-bricks, and then to remove the old soil and replaced it with five cubic feet of the most expensive garden soil on the market. I then bought top-of-the-line petunias, whites, pinks, and purples, truly a manly mix of colors.

I planted two weeks ago and was counting on global warming to protect the flowers from frost. Last night the air temperature threatened to drop below freezing, so I braved the rain and covered the flowerbed with plastic. This morning there was ice on plastic but the plants appeared to be ok. I left the plastic off for most of the day, and just now recovered the flowerbed in preparation for tonight’s dip below freezing. In this area of the country there is always a risk of a late spring frost killing flowers planted before Mother’s day. I always try to stretch the growing season, but usually lose that bet to Mother Nature.

As far as trees and shrubs, I always use them to try to remove unsightly parts of the neighborhood from my line of sight, and to provide some privacy for when I wander the yard wearing only a thong. For “earth day,” I planted a pair of forsythias, one cardinal dogwood, and another half dozen emerald green arborvitaes in the front yard. Except for the flowerbeds, that should just about take care of the front of the house. The stuff I planted five years ago has filled out nicely. The stuff I just planted will take a while to look natural.

Hope the frost doesn’t bite your pansies.

James A. Zachary Jr.

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