Sunday, January 14, 2018

Love To Garden But Have Health Issues? Gotta Cheat And Make Some Changes.

Sooner or later health and age issues will catch up with you.  In my mind I'm still 35 and can work in my garden all day long. But my body says ... who you kiddin'? I'm going on 67, have a bad back ... and bad knees. To top it off ... I'm a 16 month out Breast Cancer Survivor. Four rounds of Chemo and 35 Radiation treatments takes a lot out of you. As a result, my immune system is forever compromised. Right now, I 'm getting over a cold and my Doc told me it might take me about a month to really feel better. To say the least, my mind and body has gone through a lot.

Yet, the thing that still makes me happiest ... is working in the garden. And I refuse to give it up ... but I can compromise. That is my goal for the upcoming gardening season.

                     For years ... from April through mid-June ... I've had daffodils

along with Irises, Bleeding Hearts, Astilbe, and Alliums to dependably brighten up quite a few of my garden beds.

When they would begin to fade, I would normally plant clumps of annuals around them for Summer color.

                                     LOTS OF ANNUALS EQUALS LOTS OF DIGGING. 

                                                    So, I'm going to cheat! 

 I'll buy a flat or two of annuals and fill some large flower pots with them ... then hire a teen in the neighborhood to tuck the pots into different places for spots of color.

I may even consider Silk flowers ... How could I even contemplate comitting such a sacrilege you might wonder?  Hey,  it is not as tacky as you might think.  And there are benefits. You don't have to fertilize or water them ... and slugs, deer and groundhogs won't eat them. I am a bit embarassed to say this, but this hanging basket is still hanging above my well and it's mid-January. 

Summer, though, can be more of a challenge, especially if it's hotter and drier than normal.  But I do have quite a few hardy perennials I can rely on.  Catmint, Yarrow, Butterfly Weed, Shasta Daisies, and Black-eyed Susans are champs.  They happily grow and flourish on their own.  They can stand a dry spell ...  but on a really hot day, the Shastas are happier if they get a good soaking before the Summer afternoon sun hits them.

Three years ago I fell in love with the tall Garden Phlox I planted in my front garden with Impatiens as a front border for them. They pretty much bloom from mid-summer right through the Fall. They are easy to care for, they spread each year, and their scent is heavenly. They don't seem to mind the heat of Summer as long as they are well-watered.  They will continue to bloom as long as you cut them back. 

I'm know I'm jumping around, but I had to mention something else about flower pots. I use only pots on my back deck. They always come to the rescue in the lazy days of Summer.  I have a water hook-up to the left side of the deck. All I have to do is pull the hose up through the rails and water my plants. Easy peasy!

Have you tried trellises with flower pots? Last Summer I had Morning Glory and Moon flower vines covering my 2 tall trellises on the back deck. Mind you ... I had more vines than flowers due to a very late start and a cooler and wetter Summer than usual.  But at least I had showy green leaves climbing up the trellises. This coming year I will start the seeds sooner. I'll try both an outside winter sowing (around March) and also start some seeds indoors in April. 

This coming growing season I am also going to use water sprinklers to water my garden beds. 

Normally, I had been using a watering can and/or hose to soak down my flower beds, but it really is too time consuming. Too much walking ... too much refilling the watering can ... and the heavy weight of the filled can has become too much for my shoulder and wrist. I've got Arthritis in my shoulder and Carpel Tunnel in my wrist and hand.  It might seem counter-productive to drag a hose and sprinkler around, but it will save time in the long run.  A sprinkler can cover a much larger area. In-ground sprinklers would be nice, but the cost just won't fit in the budget.  So, I will compromise. I just love  the word ... compromise!

Well, this is what my new agenda will be for the 2018 Gardening season. Wish me luck ... I'll let you know how it goes!

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