Friday, February 11, 2011

The Head Gardener is Tired of Winter ...

Through the Garden Gate: 2/10/2011
And she is just itching to get outside to continue the massive cleanup effort that faces us.  She insisted that we make a start last Saturday and we spent several pleasant hours removing mushy foliage on herbaceous perennials and cutting back dead wood on woody perennials and shrubs.  There are piles of dead limbs and foliage scattered about Wit's End, all of which must remain there until we can find assistance in removing them.  For you see, dear fellow gardeners, there was an unforeseen consequence of that extended period of intense activity after several weeks of  relatively little gardening.  As I was contemplating changing into my gardening clothes after church Sunday morning, I turned slightly to the right, leaned down no more than 10 degrees and introduced myself to a world of pain.  One or more of the discs in my lower back had finally had enough abuse and could stay silent no longer.

The first of Amy's tulips to emerge, looking a bit worse for the weather
As I see it, the HG has only herself to blame for our inability to take advantage of today's sunny skies and milder temperatures (a high of 52 is predicted).  She strong-armed me into doing all that work on Saturday, even as I protested that it was too much too soon.  I was thinking in terms of the woody plants ... conventional wisdom here in south central Texas is to leave dead wood on plants such as Hamelias and Durantas until the danger of a hard freeze has passed, to protect the live wood from freezing temperatures.  The HG being the experienced and opinionated gardener that she is, however, persuaded me that all of the plants being pruned had proven themselves able to handle such treatment last winter.  As she also pointed out, the bark was peeling away from the trunks just a few inches above the ground.  That wood was history, future freezes or not.  I did convince her to let me leave a good 10-12 inches of dead wood unpruned on most plants so freezing temperatures would be less likely to make it into the roots.

Narcissus 'Grand Soleil D'Or' (we think)
So here I sit at the computer with a sulky Head Gardener and an aching back.  I've promised her that we can take frequent walkabouts around our corner of Katy, pen and pad in hand, so she can dictate notes to me on how various plants responded to this winter's low.  We'll share the results of our walkabouts in a future post (later today, if the HG has her way ... since sitting too long exacerbates the back issues, however, she may have to wait.)

16 comments:

Gail said...

Dear Cindy, I am so sorry that you are laid up just when winter has finally/possibly/we hope decided to move on. It's frustrating to be kept from gardening~But, soon, after some rest, you will be ordering the Head Gardener around. gail

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence said...

I hope you are out there soon MCOK! Rest up, friend. H.

Layanee said...

How frustrating to see all the damage and then not be able to hack it back just yet. Patience. Spring is coming. They tell me so anyway.

fairegarden said...

You and the Head Gardener need to get on the same page, it sounds like! May your back feel much better very soon, so you can get back to the gardening. Now remember, you don't need to do it all in one day.
Frances

Alison said...

Ouch! I have back problems too (two ruptured discs, never fixed), so I feel your pain and understand your frustration.

Hope the HG gives you a break from all her sulking.

patsy Bell Hobson said...

I am happy to see these first little signs of spring. Take care. You will be out there soon enough. Because it just would't be spring without you there in the garden.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I'm so sorry for your bad weather troubles. I bet things will get better soon. I hope you also feel much better my dear friend.~~Dee

andrea said...

oh cindy, i'm so sorry to hear about your back! that was me this time last year, and i know it's no fun at all... at least you still have some time to recover before the full on-slaught of spring chores are upon us. maybe the head gardener should hire some other good hands to do the rest of the spring cleanup? she can always supervise with her keen eyes.

Kathy said...

I hate back problems. I found Spinal Stabilization by Rick Jemmett to help me. At least, I haven't had a muscle spasm since I started the very basic beginner exercises.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I feel your pain! That sounds a lot like what I did to my back last year. It's hard to take it easy until your body has healed.

Pam/Digging said...

I'm tired of winter too, but the promise of spring will return this weekend. Hope your back feels better in time to enjoy it!

Elizabeth Barrow said...

I hope it's not too bad! If you aren't better soon, we'll have to arrange to have you and the HG carried out on a litter so you can enjoy the spring weather -- and you can garden with an imperious wave of the hand. "That goes OVER THERE, and put THAT THERE out," etc. Best wishes!

Rose said...

Cindy, I do hope your back feels better soon! I know it must be frustrating, but the pruning and clean-up can wait until you're back in shape. And yes, I am so tired of winter, too--a thaw is in our forecast later next week; maybe I'll actually be able to see my garden then.

Susan Tomlinson said...

Feel better soon. But have no fear, spring will wait for you.

Cindy, MCOK said...

Thanks, y'all, for the support. I'm feeling much better than I did.

getgrounded said...

Cindy, as a chiropractor with disc injuries myself, I can sympathize big time. Get thee to a Pilates Class and find a chiro nearby who uses Applied Kinesiology (a gentle method of treatment) to fix you. Take 2000 mg of magnesium a day for weeks. And hire someone to haul off that dead wood ") . So sorry.