Re: [gardeners] Fourth of July

penny x stamm (
Thu, 4 Jul 2002 23:24:54 -0400

And a Happy Fourth back to your house, George!  But I didn't spend 
the day the way you did...

We're under water rationing in a drought, and the temps have 
stuck at 94* with 79% humidity, making it a virtual temp of 114*.
It's quite enuf to boil anybody's brain. When we drive across the 
Tappan Zee Bridge to New Jersey, we can barely see the other
shore of the Hudson River, the haze is so thick! 

My current problem is one of logistics. We have 6 zones on our
lawn watering system, 6 zones on our shrubbery system, and
3 zones on another clock for the 9 flower beds and veggie garden.
 [We installed everything except the lawn part...]  We are allowed
to water from 5: to 9: am and 7: to 9:pm, on odd dates.  That adds
up to 6 hours every other day.  In this heat, I pass by well 
established rhodies alonside the driveway amd see that they are
collapsing. I look outside the front door and find some other
rhodies wilted. Have never seen such a condition here before!
Because we had to make 2 trips to St.Louis and 1 to Rochester,
we've put NO flowers in all those beds yet, as of July 4th!  The
strange thing to see, however, is my big annual flower bed by
the back door -- it is a riot of bloom!  There are 5 clumps of
black eyed susan (which I never planted..), about 3 dozen 
gladioli up high and opening their blooms, 4 beautiful deep
purple salvia, 7 giant dahlias in bloom, and hundred of cleome
everywhere already in flower!  Oh yes, and a gailardia. It all
wintered over without any help from me... And what's even 
funnier:  each year I have been planting blue ageratum 
around the entire bed, making the outline of a grand piano
which is an eye catcher. What on earth do I see out there
now...? There are 1/2 inch tall ageratum seedlings lining the
border, spaced 8 inches apart without weed competition.
If YOU were an ageratum and dropped a hundred seeds in
a season, would you leave behind just ONE plant where you
once stood...? It defies me.

Back to the underground soaker system. Zones 1 & 12 have
too many running feet of hose to be efficient. Not enough water 
gets delivered. So last year Jimmie installed in-line on-and-off 
valves on these 2 zones so that we can water either half on
demand. But someone who is insane has to get herself out
there and change 2 valves for each of those sections to jibe
with the water restrictions and the collapsing plants!  Guess
who...?   And the Virtual flower bed by the back door cannot
stand the 8 hours of full blazing sun, and so I have to hop
down to the garage to push a button against the law several
times a day, to save its life. 

We came back from St.Louis to discover that the old black 
rubber soaker in the veggie garden had burst and was flooding
the lawn but starving the tomatoes! And the ornamental plum
had completely fallen over. And some animal had bitten into the
Netafim drip line and created an Old Faithful. Rush, rush, rush
the repairs. We came back from Rochester to discover that 
the same kind of black hose had burst in the raspberry patch,
so now of course we know that we must discard those soakers
altogether -- I put a real hose and sprinkler on that outlet, and
so now whenever the tomatoes get watered, so does some portion 
of the shrubbery!  Only problem is that I am required to move that
sprinkler by hand.  

Only way to handle all of this, plus the regular skeleton maintenance,
is to pour a bucket of water over my head about 4 times a day. 
And to drink quarts of iced tea. I come inside beet red and dripping,
and Jimmie innocently says, very wide-eyed, "Don't you think
perhaps you're overdoing it...?"  

Penny, NY


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