"What do you mean we have to turn around and go home???" I couldn't believe it, but there was nothing else he could do. To describe my disappointment is beyond my scope of writing talent here. It wasn't my husband's fault, but let's just say he suffered my silent rage. We had just come to the Great River Road, a highway that winds along the eastern edge of the Mississippi River, but instead of enjoying the sights, my mind raced between thoughts of alternatives--including dropping my husband off at the nearest bus station to find his own way home--and the frustrating realization that the weekend I had anticipated was not going to materialize.
By the time we got home that evening, I had sunk into a morass of self-pity that lasted for at least 36 hours. Friday morning I awoke still feeling blue, but left my suitcase packed in the hopes that Husband would come home from work saying, "let's take off today anyway." But, of course, he didn't, and a couple other distressing issues came up Friday that compounded my mood. I felt so bad that I didn't even want to read blogs, which shows you how down in the dumps I was! I slept a lot, watched a couple of movies on TV, and refused to cook. Husband tiptoed around me all day, needless to say.
Life is full of disappointments, of course, and I know none of you want to listen to me wallow in self-pity, so I thought I would turn my disappointment into a topic you can all relate to--gardening disappointments. . .How's that for a segue?!
This past spring when Beckie and I attended some gardening workshops at a local garden center, I saw these scalloped wire baskets on sale and thought I would try something new this year instead of the pre-planted hanging baskets I usually buy. To plant these, you must buy some kind of liner; in this case, the center had moss liners that were pre-formed to fit this basket. Unfortunately, I only picked up one, and when I went back all I could find were the thicker cocoa mats sold in most stores.
I filled each planter with potting soil and added some slow-release fertilizer. I planted a few "Priscilla" Supertunias, Euphorbia "Diamond Frost," and Sutera "Cabana Trailing Blue" in each one. However, planting these was not as easy as it looked. According to the instructions, you can cut a hole in the sides of the mat and "side plant" for a fuller look. The Sutera, a small flowering vine, was perfect for this, I thought, but it's not easy to cut a hole in the side and stick in the plant far enough to take root without losing a bunch of soil. And the thicker cocoa mats were so thick I had to use a boxcutter, and even then had trouble getting through all the thicknesses. After cutting that mat to fit the basket, I decided to forget about side planting and plant everything in the center of that basket.
I wish I could show you a beautiful end result, but I can't. At the moment these two baskets are looking pretty "fried," so the only picture I have is one I took about a month ago. The Priscilla petunias took off pretty well, but I think I almost killed them with too much fertilizer a month ago. At the moment, the euphorbia and the sutera are really growing, but the petunias look as though they're dying. Frankly, they've never looked the way I expected. To top it off, the planters were so heavy that anytime it rained, they bent the shepherds' hooks they were on all the way to the ground. Considering the work and the money spent on plants for these baskets, I think next year I'll go back to buying my usual pre-planted ivy geraniums and just plop them into these baskets!
At the same time I bought these baskets, I also bought this "living wreath" frame. The wire frame comes complete with a moss liner. To plant it, you pop off the wire top and take off the moss topper.
Fill the inside with potting soil and add some slow-release fertilizer. Once the soil is firmly in place, you replace the moss topper and the wire top, and you're ready to plant. You must poke holes in the moss--I used a scissors--which is much easier to work with than the thick cocoa mats. You can side plant--again for a fuller effect--but I found that a little difficult, so I stuck with placing plants at different intervals around the top to fill the wreath as much as possible.
I purchased a flat of hot pink, almost violet impatiens for the wreath, and it took all 36 plants to fill the wreath. You could use any small plant you wish, but this was the sample I saw at the garden center, and I liked the finished result. The instructions that came with the wreath form weren't very clear, so I checked out some websites for more specific instructions and found many other ideas for plantings. One of the most popular was to use small sedums instead. Of course, this would be much more expensive, but perhaps you could keep the wreath for years--don't take my advice on that; I'm just guessing.
Again, the end result was not exactly what I had hoped for. I took this picture just a few weeks after planting the wreath, so it has filled out somewhat since then. But I imagined this wreath full of masses of pink blooms, and that has never happened. I've watered it frequently--a trick in itself--but the impatiens have never bloomed in the way that they usually do for me. It's hanging on my front porch, and from a distance it looks like a wreath of moss, which is not all bad, I guess. I'm not quite as disappointed in it as my baskets and will probably try it again next year. Any suggestions for increasing the blooms, though, would be appreciated!
One more, definitely minor disappointment . . .the hosta buds I showed for Bloom Day a week ago opened into these beautiful flowers on Thursday morning. I saw them but was in too much of a hurry packing for my "long weekend" to take a photo. When I thought of them again this morning and took out my camera, the blooms were already fading. Oh my goodness, one really has to "seize the day" with these blooms! The good thing, though, is that another hosta of the same variety has yet to open its buds, so I will be ready with camera in hand for that one!
To leave you with a more uplifting note, I think I have found one sure cure for a minor case of the blues. Last night I made up my mind to finally go see the movie "Mamma Mia." I was all set to go by myself because no one else was available and I thought I'd punished my husband enough. But at the last minute my oldest granddaughter, who turns 13 on Tuesday, said she'd like to go with me. She likes musicals almost as much as I do and in the last year has become my "theater date." Although the critics--mostly male, I think--didn't like the movie, I thought it was the most enjoyable movie I've seen in a long time. An upbeat plot, great music, and some comic scenes make you forget any troubles you might have and will have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face, humming the title song. Colin Firth didn't have as big a part as I had hoped, but he was still pretty funny and endearing. Pierce Brosnan can't sing, but who cares! I give him three stars for trying anyway. If you're one of the last women in the country, like me, who hasn't seen the movie, by all means take the time and see it before it leaves the theater.
And now I'm off on another trip, one that won't disappoint me--visiting all the people in Blog Land that I've missed lately. Oh, and I need to unpack that suitcase.