Shovel ready!

One thing a gardener learns early on is to follow the old adage, “Make hay while the sun shines.”  Timing can be crucial in many things, and especially in gardening.  Decide to sleep in instead of deadheading those chives, and a million seedlings appear that will eventually have to be weeded out.  Binge watch movies instead of picking the strawberries, and when you finally do look, many will be rotten or ruined by birds or bugs.  I could go on for hours…..but I won’t. (I hear your sigh of relief!)  I will just say that I have learned that when it is dry enough to get my truck where I want it, it’s time to shovel mulch.  So, that’s what I’ve been doing for days and days…shoveling, shoveling, shoveling…4 truckloads to date, and I’m happy I did, because last night, we finally got a huge, much-needed rain, which means I won’t be able to get my truck to the potager for days to come!  I’m so glad I shoveled mulch while the sun shone and the ground was firm, even though it was 90 degrees!  Now you can no longer see the bare landscape cloth in the potager’s paths.  Potager mid June east half compressed  It looks so much nicer with mulched paths, don’t you agree?

Potager mid June 17  And, the Front Island, Addition Garden, Potager’s exterior borders, Blue Garden, and Front Garden have also been mulched.  I’d pat myself on the back, but my arms and shoulders are too tired to try.

Shoveling mulch is not that bad, but I’ve spent the last two days shoveling stone.  Yep!  Stone.  Dixie River Rock to be exact.  Two loads!  I finally decided to stone the lavender slope.  You may recall that I plopped 60 baby lavender plants onto a bare slope (it had been bull-dozed to make a level spot for the potager) on the south side of the potager.  No soil prep, no great expectations.  I just wanted to get them in the ground before winter, and crossed my fingers that they would survive.  “Next spring, I’ll properly amend the soil, etc., etc., etc.,” I promised them.  Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen, but amazingly all but one came through the winter, and they grew well over the summer.  But, I was still not convinced they would survive, so I wasn’t about to invest in stone yet.  (It’s 4 times more costly than mulch but of course lavender can’t tolerate wood chip mulch.)  However, this winter was ghastly.  Wet, wet, and more wet (need I mention lavender likes it dry?) and in that heavy clay their roots probably rarely dried out.  And, when it turned bitter, bitter cold there was no snow cover for protection, and the west wind sweeps across the slope with icy breath.  If they had all died, I wouldn’t have been surprised, but only 6 succumbed, and upon inspection, it was mostly due to rainfall eroding the soil away from their surface roots.  So, I am rewarding their courage and endurance with a lovely layer of stone.   Here’s the before (it’s embarrassingly ugly and I had tidied the landscape cloth and weeded!)  You can count the 6 dead lavenders.  Well, actually, you can only count five, because I pulled one out already.  I’d show you the after, but it’s not quite finished because I ran out of stone.

Lavender slope pre-stone but you can see a bit of it in this photo:  Lavender slope stoning compressed  It’s a lovely shade of warm brown that looks good with the potager fence.  It will absorb heat and improve air circulation around the lavender plants, and hold that silly landscape cloth in place.  Once it’s all stoned you won’t know that there are three different bits of landscape cloth underneath.  I bet you noticed that right away, but at the time I had a little of this and a little of that, so that’s what was used.  And, of course it will have a lovely clean, crisp top edge, the dead bits will be trimmed out, and the path between the slope and the potager will have a new layer of mulch.  That won’t be happening until it dries out enough to get the truck back there again, and with rain in the forecast for today and again on the weekend it’s not likely.  So, my shovel and I can both have a rest….or not.  One makes hay, or shovels mulch and stone while the sun shines, but after a rain and while it’s overcast, a wise gardener weeds and plants.

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About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
This entry was posted in gardening, kitchen gardens, lavender, mulching, Potager, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Shovel ready!

  1. I think you and your shovel truly deserve a rest.. what magnificent beds.. and I truly know the amount of work needed to achieve such results.. Well Done.. 🙂

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  2. bcparkison says:

    You are really a SUPER-WOMAN. an inspiration for sure. Maybe someday…maybe only in my dreams this will be me too.

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  3. prepper365 says:

    Looks amazing, great job!

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  4. I see a fabulous slope of lavender in your future! After living in the UK several years ago, I learned to LOVE lavender. I have dreamed ever since of having a big field of lavender plants. Right now, I just have one lonely plant, but have managed to grow more from seed this year. Hoping to get them into the ground soon.

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    • carolee says:

      i had 7,000 plants at one point (you can see photos on my website) and my favorite task was taking lavender cuttings. After harvest, there was nothing that compared to seeing all the beams in the barn hanging full of lavender bunches. Every morning, as I opened the door, the scent was amazing. Customers loved it! I loved going out in the field to compare varieties.. Best of luck with your own lavender dreams.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Laurie Graves says:

    The beds look great and look forward to seeing the spiffed-up lavender. After all the work you’ve done, you deserve a movie binge. 😉

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  6. I feel your PAIN!!! I too decided that at my age I could still shovel anything…a whole dump truck load of pea gravel, about 4 yds. and I was sore for several days but it was and is so worth it!

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  7. countrysidedaydreamer says:

    Ahhh, I have been taking every opportunity between Spring showers, to get out and shovel compost. Tis the season 🙂

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  8. Nice Work! I like to shovel, too, but I’ve never tackled rock. You are brave!

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  9. sharawrsome says:

    I’m inspired to finish my minor mulch refresh in the back yard! And rotate the compost tumblers!

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  10. Jan says:

    Absolutely … weed and plant after a rain !!! I enjoyed your post and the pictures !!! Beautiful garden !! jan

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  11. You’re gardens are absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Lots of hard work shows! I can’t wait to see the Lavender in full bloom!

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