My Florida friend was visiting a couple weeks ago. She came into town on a Tuesday and on Wednesday I whisked her away to Westport, even though I had just come from a car show there the weekend before. I wanted her to see the arboretum at Westport Winery. It’s only a few years old, so not fully grown up yet, but it gave us ideas for my own little backyard arboretum. Then we went next door to Lily Lane Farm. We saw, we bought.
The following day I took her to the Pot Shed in Grayland. It’s not what you think, it’s a succulent garden. I’ve driven by the business for years and even used it as a poker run stop a few years ago with her convenient drive-thru driveway. I knew it wasn’t actually a POT shed. She makes leaf pots out of the huge gunnera plants she grows. I always wanted one, and when I was there early the previous week with my husband and daughter, I pulled in to buy one. That’s when it dawned on me she propagates, grows, and sells succulent plants. I felt kind of stupid that I hadn’t realized that before, thinking “a succulent garden” was just her way of saying it was fresh and green. I bought several plants that day, as well as the leaf pot I always wanted. Right as I was leaving I spied another awesome succulent, but resisted the temptation because I’d already paid. However, I dreamed about the one I left behind that night, so I stopped in with my daughter on the way to the next campground and bought it and several more, because I had hatched a plan to make my dry creek bed into a succulent garden.
My friend and I saw and bought more. We schemed and planned all the way home. Once home, we had massive amounts of day lilies and succulents to get into the ground. It was a lot to get done before she went back to Florida, and on top of that, because I put in the dry creek bed after she put the drip system in the backyard last year, she wanted to redesign that area of the drip to make it more efficient with less “trip-age”, which comes from laying long lengths of ¼” line in too many places.
I often get overwhelmed with our gardening projects when she visits. She has the confidence I lack and we don’t usually get everything finished before she heads home. As she fires instructions at me on her way out the door, I weep over the thought of doing it alone. I usually get through it all because I’m determined to get stuff in the ground and keep it alive because I spent the money procuring it all, but it’s not nearly as much fun.
This year, with so much, I was desperate to finish all the work before she left. My friend and I made a good team, complimenting each other with our physical ailments, we strategized a divide and conquer attack. I can’t walk on rocks because my MS wreaked havoc on my balance, she can’t bend her head forward and down to plug drip into the main line because she has arthritis in her neck. She can’t dig holes, I wasn’t able to plant the succulents in the dry creek bed rocks or reroute the main drip lines.
Of course good gardening ideas are like noxious weeds, they spread. But for the first time ever, we got it all done. Suffice it to say, we went, we saw, we bought, we planted, and then planted some more.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.