Crazy Plant Lady

’Tis the season when I expend massive amounts of energy on my garden.

“Oh, is it planting time there already?” you ask.

Well… kinda, but not really.  I’ve planted a few seeds, but it’s too early for most things.

“Oh; then you’re digging and preparing your garden?  I could see where that would be a lot of work.”

Well, no; not yet.  It’s still too wet.

“So exactly what is taking so much energy…?”

Well… um… my own idiocy.

Every day I hurry out to eagerly examine the garden.  Are any new crocuses blooming?  Are the cherry buds maybe just a bit fatter than yesterday?  Why are my poor rhododendrons looking so yellow?

I rush off to the Rhododendron Society and pick the brains of every member who doesn’t flee as soon as they realize I’m vectoring toward them.  I pore over obscure sites on the internet.  Organic fertilizer tailored to acid-loving plants:  applied.  Bark mulch:  check.  Could it be a magnesium deficiency?  I sprinkle on some Epsom salts.  Maybe the soil pH is too high.  Sulphur to the rescue!  It can’t be iron deficiency; our soil is red with iron oxide.  But maybe a little foliar feeding of ferrous sulphate would help…

Then I hover.  Maybe they look a bit better today.

But no.  It’s only a trick of the light.  *sigh*

The next day, same thing.  Maybe they’re a little greener now?

I don’t know why I do it.  I’ve been gardening all my life, and I know better.  I have NEVER seen a plant respond to fertilizer overnight.  But that’s not from a lack of effort on my part.  With all the emotional energy I’ve been pouring into these plants, they should be surging toward the sky like Jack’s beanstalk.

I try equally hard to alter the climate through sheer psychic (or is that ‘psycho’?) effort.  I stare at the sky, fists clenched by my sides, willing spring to arrive.  Snow is not allowed!  The clouds must dissipate!  The sun must come out!

Our tomato and pepper seedlings have just emerged indoors, and I’m equally obsessed.  The light in the south window isn’t bright enough – they need to be outside.  But it’s only 5 degrees Celsius, and that’s not warm enough for tomatoes and peppers.  So they can go outside in the afternoon when it’s warm, as long as I remember to bring them in at sunset.  And when will they get their second set of leaves?  Tomorrow?  This evening?  NOW?!?

It’s lucky I never had children.  The poor kids would be scarred for life when they awakened in the middle of the night to find me leaning over their cribs with a measuring tape, checking to see whether they’d grown since I’d put them to bed a few hours ago.

Fortunately plants are oblivious to my antics; and in another month I’ll have so much garden work I’ll be far too tired to obsess over a rhododendron’s precise shade of green.

But until then… maybe I should check that rhodo one more time this afternoon.

Just in case…

It’s spring, hooray! Must… obsess… over… garden… now…

My poor yellowing rhododendron. Maybe I’m giving it performance anxiety.

49 thoughts on “Crazy Plant Lady

  1. Plants wilt just at the sight of me. No matterfertilizer, begging, sunlight or rain they wither at my passing. Should I ever be within a hundred miles shield your prized green things or they shall turn brown at the hint of my being in the vicinity.


  2. Spring is almost totally there….we saw so many bushes and trees with spring blooms when we were in the Seattle area a couple of weekends ago….here in Arizona, it just goes from pleasant and nice (plants are happy) to stinking hot by May (plants not so happy):)


  3. I know exactly what you are saying, Diane! I’ve never been green-fingered, but last year I planted some seeds, which grew into Seedlings and I was beside myself. Every moment I had I’d check in on them. That old saying about a watched kettle works the same with Seedlings too… but then, there’s that magical day when they are in full bloom… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You sound totally sane and reasonable to me! I’ve been an enthusiastic gardener for eons! I am the kind of gardener who goes out to the garden and wants to pull on the plants to help then get up there a little faster, so I know about “checking” on the plant’s progress.

    I moved from Boise, Idaho to Hamilton, Montana last fall so I am building a new garden this year, but not before I mine the rocks of the old riverbed that are lurking beneath the surface in my backyard. My best bet is to build raised bed garden and I do have a lovely endless source of alpaca Pooh for free. I can hardly wait to get going.

    The deer in the neighborhood are going to be a problem as well. They used to live in what was a pasture where my house is now. I think they are the ones I call the “gang of five” who just about ran me over when they were trying to pass a UPS truck recently.I do have a fence that should keep them out, but it won’t help out in the front yard. There are only about five things that they won’t eat unless they’re absolutely starving. That’s what I will plant. It probably won’t be a very interesting garden, but now I understand why I don’t see much in the way of variety in our town in the front yards.

    I’m ready with seeds in hand, wishing you Happy Gardening!


    • Happy Gardening to you, too! A whole new garden – what an exciting challenge for you! I looked up Hamilton, MT, and it looks as though you’re right in a valley between two mountain ranges – that ought to make things interesting.

      I sit outside with my mug of tea looking at the barren mounds of gravel in our yard, but the same as you, I’m seeing how beautiful it will be after it’s all planted and growing. The bareroot roses are in the nurseries now, and I can hardly restrain myself!

      Good luck with your deer problem, too. We have a few plants outside our fence, and even though Portugal laurels are supposed to be unappetizing to deer, one of them got eaten anyway. I guess it just depend on how hungry the deer are. At least they haven’t bothered our yuccas… yet. 😉


  5. Your spring will come soon enough. I think the wine idea and two weeks somewhere else will bring it on relatively faster.
    Tanya is going bonkers with no garden. She has a row of seedlings in the west window but it is too cool and they are growing slowly. Which is okay as they have another 6 weeks before they can even think about going outdoors at my daughter’s place. If we were back in Ukraine she would really be going mad as it is colder there than here and still lots of snow. Usually spring comes March 1 but it looks like now maybe April 1. Storks and other wading birds have come back and are freezing and starving. People are trying to rescue them, taking them indoors and feeding them fish, but that has its limits.


    • What crazy weather the world is having! I’ve often wondered whether migratory birds have the ability to think, “Oops, this was a bad idea; let’s backtrack to where it’s warmer”. I guess not. Maybe they’re so worn out that they can’t make it? Or their instinctive drive is so strong they don’t consider it? I hope the weather moderates enough that they can survive over there.

      And poor Tanya. I hope she can survive, too. I can only imagine how much she’s missing her garden; but I’m sure she’d rather have you healthy (even if it’s a close contest with the garden). 😉


  6. I can’t help with the rhodie leaf issue because I never get to see our rhodie’s leaves in spring. The deer eat it bare every fall and the poor thing has to grow new leaves over the summer; they reach maturity just about in time to get eaten again. Needless to say, it never blooms because the deer eat the buds too.

    The rest of your garden looks nice! I hope you show us more pictures as more plants bloom or are planted!


    • That first sentence is kind of strange, don’t you think? Let’s try again … I can’t help figure out what’s wrong with the rhododendron leaves because I don’t know what they are supposed to look like after the winter because we never have any after the winter because . . . . and you can pick it up from there 🙂


      • LOL! Actually, I did get the gist of that first sentence. As soon as I saw the word “deer” I figured it out with no trouble at all. So far our deer fence has been keeping the hungry nibblers at bay, but after seeing the destruction they wrought in only a few days, I feel sorry for your poor rhododendron. It must be a tough one if it can survive that kind of abuse!

        And I hope to have some pretty garden photos to share this year… fingers crossed!


  7. Oh my, do I understand the garden obsession! LOL! Every year I make it a race between the daffodils and the hyacinth to see which will bloom first. I check the new growth daily and make my predictions on the winner (this year the daffodils were first, but the last two years it’s been the hyacinth). I’d love to plant crocus but since it will always blooms first the others wouldn’t ever have a chance (yes I know I’m going a little crazy with the anthropomorphism but I have to keep things fair, Hahahaha!) ok shutting up now before they come for me with the straight jackets😂.
    And I too love rhododendrons and have the same issues. I do everything trying to get them to look healthy! Fertilizer, mulch, epsoms salt, 7 dust, I played music for them…and yes I really did try music, lol. My poor neighbors. Anyway HAPPY SPRING!


    • Happy spring to you, too! 🙂 I’m grinning just visualizing you playing music for your rhododendrons. I haven’t tried that yet, but it could still happen. At least I don’t have any neighbours who live near enough to catch me and call the men in the white coats.

      My daffodils and hyacinths are in a race, too, and I think the daffs might win this year. They’re sooooo close…


  8. OK while I vote “nitrogen deficiency” I am TOTALLY all for Andrew’s solution. Might have to give that a go here, even though our ground remains frozen as well and half snow covered. But it’s probably time to get my tomato seedlings started, come to think of it. Little warming pad, some grow lights and a safe place away from the furry 4 leggeds, and we’re good to go.


    • I wondered about a nitrogen deficiency, too; particularly since our “soil” is basically gravel with no organic matter in it. But I thought my fertilizer should have corrected a nitrogen deficiency by now – I put it on six weeks ago. Maybe the soil is still too cold for them to take up nutrients effectively…?


      • So while I’m not a master gardener, here are my thoughts anyhow. Cold may be contributing, but a bigger issue may be that you have gravel. If you put the fertilizer on 6 weeks ago and haven’t done it since, it’s possible it’s just washed away. My recommendation would be to incorporate a slow release pellet into the gravel or do a weak liquid application a couple of times a week. If you did a pellet, you may need more than you think, especially since you don’t have anything to hold it there. Also you might want to consider if there is a way to add some peat moss, garden soil or even compost just below the surface with the gravel back on top. So if you were planting new shrubs, dig the hole a bit deeper, line the hole with maybe a soil and peat moss blend to hold some water, then fill. Let me know how it goes!! And if any of my suggestions work, I want an autographed copy of the next book, LOL.


        • Your advice gave me reassurance, as an obsessive -compulsive swede I set about improving our Parksville lot when we moved from Sask four years ago.
          Our Garden soil was hardly gravel-a layer of sand(1/2 inch) spread over what was euphemistically called “6 minus fill” meaning if it would pass through a 6 inch grizzly it got packed into the marine clay dredged from French Creek Harbour as fill! No matter if it was 14″ long in the other dimension! And all underlain by mountainside.

          Borrowed a pick from our neighbour, bought a 1/2 inch gravel screen and started digging and sifting. My wife would scrape the moss off the plastic mesh that at one time held the sod? together-I would start digging and sifting – saving any fines as starting material and hauling rock to Havelock paving to help refill their gravel quarry.

          After digging 2 ft of garbage out the first garden my wife laid out, we went shopping for topsoil—-how they bastardize that term on Vancouver island-their topsoil was the same sifted pea gravel and crusher fines as I had left over from my efforts mixed with sawmill slash, some compost and lots of soot scraped from the kilns they burn sawdust in—organic but loaded with enough creosote that I could feel the skin cancer crawling up my arms as I was examining the various products.

          Our solution was to buy LOTS of Nanaimo kitchenwaste compost to mix with the sand/gravel crap that I salvaged and 18″ of this mix went back in the hole to be topped with 6″ of my wife proprietary potting soil mix(1/3 peat,1/3 vermiculite(asbestos free as certified by the Chinese producer) and 1/3 compost.

          Three years of working finally got enough of the yard improved to satisfy my wife, returned the pick to my neighbour and took the worn out spade back to Sask to impress those who thought I had retired.

          Now we only need enough compost to top up the gardens as the compost rots down-lucky as the last load of compost from our trusted source was actually raw barnyard manure-to the dismay of all our neighbours over a 2 block radius. Won’t do that again!

          Good luck to all prairie transplants-that soil that made our muddy roads impassable after every rain was a treasure of untold value. Give us another ice age, ten thousand years of glaciation and BC might eventually amount to something!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hi neighbour! I’m glad I’m not the only one who was horrified at what they call “garden soil” here. I grew up in the black and rich Manitoba gumbo, and the “soil” here is what we would have called “beach sand” in Manitoba.

            Then again, with all the rain here, gumbo would be a disaster; so I guess I can’t complain. Like you, we’re in the process of digging and screening and amending in the hope of someday having actual soil. We did plant the rhodos in amended soil, but I think it needs some more help. We’re wavering on the edge of trying Sea Soil, but haven’t taken that pricey plunge yet. We have nearly a 1/4 acre of garden, so we’re trying to save money where we can. We’re just hoping our horse manure is ready to use soon!


        • Thanks, Beth! We did actually dig out holes for our rhodos and add back the “soil” amended with compost before planting them, and that’s probably what sustained them through last summer. I’m guessing it’s all used up by now. I did use a slow-release pellet fertilizer a couple of months ago with no effect, but it was raining a lot and not very warm, so as you say, it probably just washed away. I’ve been afraid to burn them with fertilizer because I overdid it last summer and their leaves got scorched (but it wasn’t raining then). Maybe I just need to try a bit more fertilizer. If I get happy green rhodos, I’ll be in touch about that autographed copy! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

    • I’m already thrilled with all the spring bulbs that are coming up! We still have a LOT of landscaping to do, but we’ll pick away at it. That’s one nice thing about a vivid imagination – even when there’s nothing out there but gravel and rocks, my mind’s eye is already seeing trees and flowers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. People don’t understand how much energy is used while doing psychokinesis to move things around. However, I may I suggest that you use telekinesis instead to change the snow to sun. It might be less mental energy to transform snow to sun rather than mentally try to push snow out of the way of the sun. Note this is best done while standing in the garden barefoot wearing a thin flowery patterned dress and raising your arms to the sky shouting, “White snow, become my golden sun.”

    Or you might try my wine gardening trick to grow plants faster. Buy six bottles of wine. Drink one a day until they’re all gone. Then collapse into a bed (flower bed or bedroom, your choice). When you sober up (or are released from the hospital), you’ll discover that all your flowers have may wonderful progress.

    I should note that I’ve tried both and find the the hospital releases me faster after the wine exercise…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My “dirt”, such as it is, will remain frozen for another month at least. Then only the top few inches will be thawed.
    Some people talk to their plants or play music for them in order to encourage growth. I don’t like to coddle mine so I threaten them. “You can be replaced, ya know!” The results seem to be about the same indicating that they don’t take me seriously whatever I do.
    I also have horses and therefore, horse poop, which is a product in high demand in these parts. It’s made fresh daily, but I compost it into a fine quality product. I don’t take money for it, but never refuse a good trade. Besides I like giving people shit.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Love signs of spring. I live in eastern NC and as I look out my window it is SNOWING! The weather this spring has been crazy — warm in February & snow 2-3 times in March. We have planted the garden in the past on Good Friday. Don’t think that will happen this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re pretty much screwed here, I think. Fruit trees and all other trees are blooming like crazy. And we ALWAYS get the dreaded “Easter Cold Snap.” Always. More times than not (like 60%) the cold snap brings a freeze hard enough to finish the fruit trees for the year. Mild winter, too. I’m no fan of winter, but I much prefer when we get several iterations of REALLY COLD temps. Like 20 degF/-7 degC cold. Like, cold enough to kill off pests and such critters before they hatch in the spring. Yeah, THAT cold.

      Didn’t happen. Only even wore a coat to work once, I think. Gonna be a buggy summer, looks like. And have I mentioned I hate buggy summers?


      • You haven’t; but I completely understand. The mosquitoes are starting here already. Fortunately there aren’t many; but why are the first ones of the season always large enough to carry away pets and small children?

        And you’re right about the fruit trees, of course. I know I shouldn’t be so eager for them to bloom when we’re still getting frost most nights; but… but… *gazes at the sky and wills sunshine and warm weather*

        Liked by 1 person

  12. So, you’ve charted the hourly temps of your compost, right? Since right after it was unloaded, right? I mean surface temps on a 25 centimeter grid and every 25 cm down all the way to the ground, right? And moisture content, too, right? I mentioned hourly, too, right?

    And you’ve totally blown off the people at the Rodo Society who roll their eyes and tell you to, “Leave that shi, er, compost alone!!” right?

    And you call yourself a gardener…tsk, tsk.

    Just so you know, you sound exactly like me after I sand a piece of oak through 600 grit and lay on a glassy-smooth coat of urethane. I have to MAKE myself leave the garage and do something else. Anything else.

    And by anything else, I mean leave immediately on a two-week vacation.

    But still, there’s this part of me that’s going, “Is it dry enough to touch yet…?”

    Different symptoms, same sickness. I totally get it. Seriously. I totally do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I understand completely! But just to totally mess you up: When Hubby built our live-edge quilted-maple headboard, he did the fine sanding and the multiple coats of glassy-smooth polyurethane and it was beautiful. But when he did the side rails, the first coat of polyurethane went on fine… and the second coat BUBBLED!!!! He was really glad he had checked it before it had completely dried. Just sayin’… *ducks and flees from loud profanity and flying objects*

      Liked by 1 person

      • The second coat bubbled? It BUBBLED? How the heck did THAT happen??

        Oh, wait. First things first. So is this a story about some weird anomaly that has a happy ending regardless? Or is this a story about someone waxing the car with silicone-based spray-on wax next to the furniture with the drying flawless coat of urethane?

        If it’s the first, I’m all ears. Er, so to speak.

        If it’s the second, just forget I mentioned it. Just sayin’… 😉


        • LOL! We never did figure it out. I swear I didn’t go near the project between the first and second coats; and if Hubby did, he isn’t admitting it. The story does have a happy ending: After he cleaned off the crappy polyurethane and resanded the side rails, the next coats went on just fine and the bed is beautiful. But we still have no idea why it happened. It’s just one of those things that will nag at our memories EVERY SINGLE TIME we finish anything with polyurethane. Grrr.

          Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.