Some crazy ish happened in my garden this week.
The good news: I finally really got outside and got some stuff done, after being lazy and unmotivated all spring. The toddler ran his little cars and trucks down his gutter/“track” while I planted and swept and chopped on our patio. I planted some heuchera (which I covet for its dinosaur-skin-looking leaves), nurtured my purple-flowering
klematis* Clematis (such a disturbing name), butchered an antique eunymous bush and checked in on my planters. (More on those unfortunate specimens later).
The bad news: a car caught on fire on the street outside my house and pulled over right next to my favorite (and pretty much only successful) flower bed, scorching some beloved friends. Some yellow lilies are looking pretty fried, their leaves gone from crisp and green to burnt-yellow and lanky in minutes. But the real victim was a wee purple cabbage plant that was actually doing quite well – a big surprise, as it had come back unexpectedly from last summer. (And I thought it was an annual, dead-by-snow.) But the car fire smoked that perky little cabbage into what looked like a wilted, withered mummy hand. And so that was that. I pulled it out today.
I have no idea how the car fire happened. I just heard a weird noise Thursday afternoon, and looked out to see two fire trucks, a police car and what looked like a Ford Focus shooting flames from its hood. This was obviously of concern, as it was right next to my old, wooden house. But the firemen broke out their pickaxes and pried the hood open and hosed the fire down, breaking the windows and sending shards of glass into my front yard. As you can imagine, the 2-year-old found this all very exciting. I kept waiting for the Hollywood explosion which, thankfully, did not come.
(Note to self: Dig glass out of the yard before husband mows next.)
Days later, I actually found myself still bemoaning the poor scorched cabbage, probably because – due to my overall lack of success in the garden – anything that returns, thrives, LIVES, is overly precious. (Witness the cheap, unremarkable Duty Miller I’m determined to save.) Then I remembered… some poor girl’s car caught on fire! I mean, now THAT’s a bummer. All the firefighters extracted from her trunk was a case of Mountain Dew. (There’s a commercial. Dude – extreme driving!)
Are all gardeners this petty? Does it make you lose perspective on life’s real problems to worry over cabbage plants and Dusty Miller and eunymous pruning? (I remember I once wrote a really fun story on a hot controversy in the Seattle gardening community over topiary… and I thought those people were NUTS.)
Maybe these are just more lovely “problems” to ponder.
In other bizarre plantkiller news: the planters I took such pains with last week nearly got destroyed in the recent downpour. Especially as I managed to position one directly under a huge spout of water coming off the house. The Coleus got really torn up, with broken stems, looking very Seussical. Nice…
In the bed where the cabbage died, I finally weeded today and planted some cool red Celosia. It did really well in that sun-kissed, favored bed last year, so I’m going for a repeat. And this time, I did not place it in a morbid little row, measuring the distance between plants with a ruler. (Tombstone planting, my husband called it. A little anal and not very attractive.) I put them in a few bunches close together and I love it so much, I think I’ll add more. Maybe some yellow and orange, to match all the wild lilies.
* Correction courtesy of my mom, the human spell checker. Though I have to say, this does make this beautiful plant sound even more like a venereal disease. Eeeeew. Don’t even try to google image this if your spelling is a little off.