Just when I thought I couldn’t shovel and more another wheelbarrow load of mulch, my wonderful daughter arrived for a visit! She usually comes just before they leave for their months in Italy, but this year she came a week earlier to help me prepare for the big brunch for 22 and garden tour. Bless her heart! Things definitely looked a lot better before she left. She mulched the entire south path, gave the North Island and the the entire Potager Exterior Border a good top dressing of mulch to freshen it and make the tulips stand out more.
She scraped off the old paint, primed and painted two Adirondack chairs my father made for me years and years ago. Now they look brand new and fresh. Those looking so good made the white wicker furniture in the gazebo look gray and tired, so after a stiff brushing and many, many coats using $115 in spray primer and paint, they looked equally refreshed. But the furniture looking so good caused Alicia to pronounce the cushions “disgusting!” so she began an internet search for new cushions!
We washed all the first floor windows, inside and out and scrubbed the green Adirondack chairs in the potager. And, we managed to pick the the daffodils to condition overnight. That was Day 1!!!
Day 2 began with making and delivering bouquets. Back home, we washed up all the harvesting buckets we’d used the day before and we planted the deck planters, using a combination of newly purchased plants and several that I’d been growing for months in the basement and hardened off. I made protective “covers” using bamboo stakes and floating row cover to protect them from harsh winds and to keep the chipmunks from digging in the planters. Lish did more mulching, this time the Deck Garden edges, and she ran into town for more mulch. We finally made a decision on the cushions and placed the order. It was harder then we expected, because cushions like the original were over $3000, which is absolutely ridiculous! We finally found some reasonably priced slipcovers for the bottom cushions, and ordered lumbar and square pillows instead of the “fitted” ones, which was much, much less expensive. We also got the Fairy Garden houses set out, along with a tidy and even made some colorful pennants to hang for the fairies to enjoy. We did some test recipes, were happy with them, and delivered food to some shut-in friends.
Day 3 we packed up more food, some tools, and headed to my mother’s. While I took her to the doctor, Lish weeded and mulched Mom’s circle garden and the flower gardens by the front entry. It was a cold, wet day, so not pleasant for outdoor work, but she was determined to get it finished. After lunch, we had a good visit and I took a bouquet to some of Mom’s neighbors. A quick grocery stop on the way home, and then it was back to work putting all the leaves to extend the dining room table to its maximum length, put bows on the centerpiece jars, put the final coat on the chairs, and doing some weedeating along the sidewalk and garden edges. We also ran to a friend’s house to borrow six more chairs. And Lish finished scrubbing my kitchen ceiling for me! More recipe testing. And after dinner, Lish swept out the garage and restored it to “pre-chair painting” condition. Most of the cushions arrived, so we unboxed them and put them out to see the new look. Pretty bold pattern for me, but I’m liking them!
Final day, and we were both a bit tired with sore muscles. Keep in mind all the regular watering had to be done daily, and I was still moving plants from the basement to the greenhouse. We harvested the last of the daffodils and other flowers for the centerpieces. After watering, we wound up all the extra hoses here and there, and rolled up all the heavy frost cloths, hoping we wouldn’t need them again this year! Then we deadheaded all the gardens around the house. Before we knew it, it was time to leave for the airport. It was hard to say good-bye, and my words of thanks for all her work were so inadequate!
Major grocery stop for all the luncheon ingredients on the way home. And upon arrival, I was relieved to find the rest of the cushions had been delivered so I unboxed them and moved all the cardboard we’d accumulated to the pole barn. A big storm rolled through that evening, so it was a good thing David had finished all the mowing earlier in the day.
The next day was baking, setting tables, making centerpieces and doing all the other little things that need doing before guests arrive. The morning of the big brunch started with early food prep. Sadly, it rained all day making it impossible for anyone to tour the gardens (after all that work!) but everyone seemed to enjoy the brunch (two types of quiche, a loaded veggie salad using lots of greens from the potager, maple chicken sausage patties, a big fruit plate, tea, coffee, and two types of cookies.) Instead of a show and tell tour of the potager, my presentation had to be limited to a talk on the precepts of a potager and a bit about soil blocking, succession planting, etc. At least the rain stopped as they were leaving so they could see the “Cretaceous,” “Dordogne”and “Sensual Touch” tulips in the Front Garden looking fresh and full.
It took two days for me to get everything washed up and put away, the borrowed chairs returned, furniture moved back to their usual locations, etc. Platters of quiche and cookies were delivered to some of our bachelor neighbors (who seemed disappointed that what looked like pie…wasn’t!) But with things back to normal, and looking great I was able to catch up the bloom journal, make a new job list, and enjoy some time in the very clean gazebo, lounging on freshly painted chairs with pretty new cushions. Life is good, if sometimes a bit hectic!