Wednesday, June 2, 2010

the itch I can't scratch

Against better judgement, I planted my tomatoes today. It's pretty much got to the point where they were either going to die in the house due to small pot or they're going to die outside due to frost.  (Frost is expected all the way until next week. For reals June? Gah.) I'll try to do the best I can to keep them alive, but so far the odds have not been in my favour. I initially wanted to buy 6 plants because that's how many I had last year, but ended up buying 12 because we figured what the hell? I'm taking care of them already, what's a few more? Well 5 died in the house (because I've had them in here since friggin' April. Why are they selling tomatoes in April?! Why? Who authorized that and why can't I find them ever again after that month?), and I broke one of them in half while planting, so I ended up with 6 anyway.

Junipers. Thou art mine enemy. We have a whole 'hedge' of them in front of our house. They were here when we bought the house, and they've never been taken care of. Naturally, like all plants, when they realize they have the right of way, they'll take over pretty much everything they can. In our case, this also includes our porch. Did you know that if one of their branches touches dirt, it starts growing roots and turns itself into another plant? Yeah, I didn't know that either. I just discovered it today in my quest to rip them out. Oh did you also know that when they're tall and unmanaged, they're all pretty much dead under the greenery and any fallen needles kinda compost themselves into dirt which covers lower branches which then root themselves...and yeah. Vicious circle. These are not no-maintenance plants like everyone assumes. Unless you want a hedge of them. There's that obscene notion.

 So I don't necessarily hate them. Let's just be clear. I'm not against planting one in the corner as some nice greenery and junipery smell and then keeping it nice and trim and, well, this is odd to have to say outloud, but as a low-to-the-ground bush-like plant as they're intended to grow. You know, maintaining the plant like most plants require you to do (I'm talking to you, lilac owners). So trust me when I say this: once they pack up, you pretty much have to do away with most of them and it's not going to be easy and there will be casualties on both sides, so you know, just. Think before you plant, ok?

Anyhoo, I want to paint all the wood trim on our house (as I've probably mentioned before). So besides the fact that I wanted to get rid of half the junipers anyway, I had to get rid of most them around the porch. There's no way I could have gotten in with a paintbrush with them there. So I did a little more juniper cutting today (mostly to clear the porch perimeter) and started scraping off the old loose paint.

I've never done that, by the way. Scraping off old flakey paint, but it's one hard and tedious job, let me tell you. I thought it would be pretty easy. I got myself a paint scraper and thought I could just go around and brush those visible flakes right off, but no. I had to sit and scrape and brush one spindle for a good minute or two, and I still didn't manage to remove any of the flaking. So after doing the inner portion and a little of the outer sides, I gave up. My hand is tired and my arms are covered in hives from the junipers. They're all red and swollen and...ugh...lumpy. They also burn like crazy which is another great benefit to allergies. I kinda want to scratch my skin off right now, so I'm trying really hard to keep my hands busy.

my one solitary tulip seems to have survived the heavy snow just fine. Maybe it'll open one of these days

and despite being squished by the snow, my oriental poppies are starting to turn towards the sun again. I love poppies. They're one of my absolute favourite flowers. I'll be sure to take pictures as soon as these open -- they don't last very long. They're the orange ones with black dots. Mm pretty

the cornflowers are the only flower I can actually cut and bring into the house right now. They really love my backyard. Either that or they really like terrible dirt and growing conditions; they don't mind being squished by a fence, having full blazing sun or no sun at all, and they still manage to spread themselves anywhere they can find a speck of loose dirt. Seriously. If you can't grow anything in your yard, get yourself some cornflowers, I'm sure they'll do just fine. 

1 comment:

erika said...

My tomatoes got injured during that last snow - but I am still hoping they pull through. Gardening in Edmonton requires a lot of optimism.