After a very stormy evening, I made a trip out to my hometown to see if there was any damage since there was a tornado that touched down just west of Winsted yesterday afternoon. Fortunately the tornado touched down in a bean field and did not cause any severe damage or injuries.
There were as many as 70 tornadoes that tore through the state of Minnesota during the course of the evening, likely an all time record. Unfortunately three cities did not escape damage. Windom was devastated by the storms. A tornado flattened most of the buildings in town. It will likely take years to rebuild. There were three deaths from three different areas of the state. My heart goes out to their families and loved ones.
The weather can change so quickly this time of the year, often with very little advanced warning. Every day brings a new beginning, and often endings – sometimes unexpected, sometimes not.
Today is a new beginning for a flower garden in the front lawn. Eleanor (my soon-to-be-mother-in-law) ordered several hundred flower bulbs including gladiola, anemone, allium, and acidanthera. It seems we received a double order and I had already planted the first shipment. Since there was no more room in that garden for more, it seemed necessary to start another garden. Gardeners can never have too many gardens, right?
The front lawn at my new home is half shade, half sun. The shade is created by the umbrella of a massive oak tree.
Several years ago, Steve and I landscaped the area beneath the tree because it was impossible to get grass to grow in the deep shade beneath the tree. We covered the ground with black plastic, then hauled in loads of mulch from the free mulch pile and added a border of field stones. We planted several different types of hostas, which have been doing well even though they get very little sun. Hostas are one of my all-time favorite perennial plants because they grow pretty much anywhere and as long as you keep the slugs and rabbits away, they are happy to grow in even the deepest shade year after year.
After assembling the tools and a quick trip to the local garden center to purchase some sun loving plants, I’m ready to begin creating the new garden.
Laying the garden hose out in the shape that I want the garden to be, I use a sod cutter to cut through the lawn.
Using a flat edged shovel, I dig up the sod, clearing the area that will be the new garden. Because the oak tree roots are just below the surface of most of the lawn, I’ll fill in the areas with organic compost from the very large “compost bin” area beneath the oak tree.
The new garden will be somewhat of a raised bed, since I don’t want to dig into the ground and disturb the oak tree roots. This way I don’t have to worry about cutting into underground utility lines either.
An easy way to transport dirt, mulch, and rocks is to use a tarp. Just load the material on the tarp, drag the tarp to the new locations and dump it off.
Now it’s time to plant. A trick I learned from my father-in-law who was an avid gardener, is to dig the hole (three times larger than the root ball), then fill it with water before planting. This works well for tomatoes, shrubs and anything that is transplanted from a pot into the ground. It works especially well for plants that need a lot of moisture and are planted in the heat of the day (it’s 85 degrees and pretty humid as this new garden is being created). It also means that I am officially playing in the mud now.
The same method is used for planting the Zinnia, Dianthus, and Petunias.
Steve, being a loyal Green Bay Packer fan often wonders why there are so many yellow and purple flowers in the gardens. I can only say that this is Minnesota, and also point out that there is a lot of green in the gardens too:)
Here’s the final result.
Another (cooler) day, I’ll add an edging of field stone to give the garden a more defined look. But now it’s time to hose off my garden clogs, cool down, and have a cold beverage.