I ache in every muscle of my body. Even the joints of my fingers are sore. It’s that good kind of soreness, though, the kind that reminds me I did manual labor yesterday. I must have trudged up and down that hill sixty times between mowing, pruning, going back and forth for tools and iced water, going up and down for food and to consult my gardening books, turning the water off and on to water in seeds, and finally, wheeling barrow after barrow of mulch.
I also broke the hoe. Hoeing is hard work. Too hard for the hoe, apparently. I feel pretty good about my body outlasting a metal and wood tool, but my back feels it today.
The hill is very steep. It is too steep to push a wheelbarrow or lawnmower directly up the face. I pushed the wheelbarrow in switchbacks to get each load of mulch to the patch I was covering.
But it is done! The hardest part of my vacation gardening ambitions is now complete. As I suspected I would, I did go to the nursery.
“Just to look,” I told myself.
“We’re not going to buy anything,” I said to my daughter when I asked if she wanted to go with me.
And as I suspected I would, I bought something. A goldenrod. I’ve been wanting one for two years! How could I pass it up? We’ve never had one because we’ve never had a meadow garden, and it would look silly in the flower beds we do have. But I’ve always really really wanted one.
“We need something to anchor the hill while we wait for the seeds to sprout.” That’s how I justified it to myself.
“It’s good for butterflies and birds,” I told our daughter. That’s how I justified it to her.
So I bought a goldenrod that was bursting out of its pot. When I shook the plastic container off, there was hardly any soil: it was nothing but a tangled mass of roots. “I think I can make four plantings out of this one purchase,” I said to myself. I couldn’t pull anything apart to divide the mass, so I cut through the pot-shaped root ball instead. I hope the plants survive. I really don’t know what I’m doing in the garden. I’m shocked anything lives under my care. Goldenrod is supposed to be pretty hardy, though, so I’ve got my fingers crossed it’ll be okay.
I transplanted some bee balm from out front, and then I called our daughter up to plant the seeds. I spread cleome (spider plant) seeds next to the fence since those plants can get to be 5 feet tall. Then our daughter scattered milkweed, dill, liatris (blazing star), zinnia, and the wildflower mix. All of these should be good for butterflies and hummingbirds.
After I cursed the hill with every single wheelbarrow full of mulch, and swore under my breath every time I slipped or almost fell down the hill trying spread the mulch, I finally watered it all in at about 6:00pm. I inspected my fingernails as I watered. They were shredded and filled with dirt.
After my shower, I stood on the porch and observed my work: a big empty patch of yard that is now a different shade of brown than it was before, rough at the edges because I was too tired to cart one more load of mulch up the hill. It does look better, I suppose. I just hope those seeds sprout.