October 19, 2006

Confessions of a cranky gardener

The weather's fair! The air is warm, the sun is shining! All's right with the world! Seize the day and the trowel and get your procrastinating butt out into the glories of nature and plant all those abused bulbs that have been sitting in their delivery box, lo these many days. Weeks.

Well, that's what I did.

But my back is not a happy camper and I quickly realized that planting those bulbs among the rosebushes was not going to be easy, even if I had a good back. The front beds needed a complete reorganization. Not going to happen.

I persevered and managed to get all the bulbs for the front squeezed into absurd little corners, discovering in the meanwhile that there are still spots in my garden that feel more like concrete than loam, despite all my attempts to amend the soil so far. These will get special attention with compost and leaves, but in the meanwhile...

Before heading back inside - and leaving the backyard bulbs for another day - I decided on the spur of the moment to pop the cannas out of the large pots at the end of the sidewalk. How hard could it be?

Stop laughing. It's not nice.

Those modest little tubers had exploded, giving no aboveground signs of it either, other than one puny little sprout. Not only had they anchored themselves with a ferocious determination to stay put, they had tangled their roots in with the ivy, geraniums and sedums as if to say, "I dare you!"

I was not to be outdone by mere tubers, and in the end I prevailed, growling and muttering, but I have never in my life had such difficulty prying plants out of pots. (Yes, that was growling and muttering, not cursing. I don't swear, but there are times when the temptation to do so is severe. This was one of those times. I'm glad you didn't choose that moment to walk by.)

Cana tubers

I've set them on newspaper to dry for a few days, and then I'll find the coolest spot I can to store them. Of course, after all of this I looked up cannas and found that most people recommend leaving them in the ground till frost has taken the foliage. Like, NOW they tell me. *grumble, grumble* Still, I have found many times that plants can be very forgiving, as well as illiterate, and as long as I don't let these babies either rot or dessicate, they should be quite impressive next year. Wish me luck.

Now I'll go nurse the scratches on my hands and rest my poor aching back. Why on earth do I do these things to myself? And there's still the back yard to do... *snarl* At least there's no roses back there.

Previous post on the topic of Cannas

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7 comments:

pinar said...

well good luck..
I had a dogwood I wanted to change pace.. but they won.. my arms and back didot let me further struggling.. I am happy there is someone winning.. enjoy your week end and good weather..=)

Carol said...

I have a pot of cannas in the back yard... looks like I have my work cut out for me! Thanks for the warning.

Anya said...

Oh no -you just reminded me I have bulbs to plant as well - and more are coming in the mail! I too have cannas to unpot, in addition to several elephant ears. And, last but not least, a bed full of dahlias to unearth (groan) - I try to focus on the past beauty of these flowers as I freeze my hands and wonder inwardly why, oh why, I didnt do this when the weather was warmer. Because we still had buds! That's why!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

"Still, I have found many times that plants can be very forgiving, as well as illiterate..." I just love your sense of humor, Janet, even when you profess to be cranky. :)

Good luck with the back yard!

Janet said...

BSG, I had had time to calm down! ;o) Although my kids have told me in the past that I'm funniest when I'm angry...

Anya, I've been asking myself similar questions. What was I thinking??? I was thinking how beautiful the flowers were in the catalogue and how gorgeous they would be in spring when I'm really hungry for flowers. Right now though, I HATE those darn bulbs!

Annie in Austin said...

Janet, here's one of those 'grass is greener' observations: When people warned me that cannas could be invasive down here, it seemed unlikely, but turned out to be true.
So now, although I don't have to dig them up for storage in fall, I'm wresting huge chunks of cannas out of the beds in fall & spring, just to reclaim some territory.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Janet said...

Annie, all I can say is "Oy!" And I believe you. There are houses around here with summer "hedges" of cannas. I'm willing to bet they started with just one or two.