Drought has everything held up
Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 8:01 pm
By: By JIMMY WILLIAMS
The past summer of our discontent, with day after day of withering heat, found me watching more television than usual. That is to say, maybe an hour a day rather than 10 minutes. Most of it was news or weather, watching the latter with some nebulous hope the word rain might be mentioned. It seldom was.
Up at 5 a.m., a crossword puzzle or two, and then some television. That time of day, the menu consisted mostly of several channels with old man Oreck advertising a vacuum cleaner that will pick up steel balls or a number of other stations featuring health remedies.
One went on for months every day. Some yellow-faced sick looking guy who looked like he had one foot in the grave kept telling me that I had 16 pounds of matter with the consistency of tires in my colon. What else is new?
Anyhow, with his treatment, at considerable dollars, I could get rid of it. I say again, what else is new? Turnip greens and Ex-Lax are a lot cheaper.
At any rate, none of the snake oil dealers snookered me. I decided, after considerable consideration, to buy plants instead.
The problem has been getting them into the ground. With the hundreds (thousands?) of ones I already have dropping like flies in the drought, what do I do with more?
There stand, as we speak, at our back door some 20 or more perennials, trees and shrubs yet in their containers, many having sat there dejectedly since the rain quit in early June.
At least I can keep them watered there, as opposed to outlying areas where I plan to set them, if and when the ground gets wet enough to dig without dynamite.
Even bulbs, simple as they are to plant, are a problem. Crocuses, with a diameter of a dime, need only a hand trowel stab to open a sufficient three-inch-deep hole. Just try it in this concrete and carpel tunnel will eat your wrists alive.
Larger bulbs need a deeper hole, normally easily punched with a foot-operated planter. That is impossible too. One of those augers that connect to a power drill might work, but what’s the use?
Bulbs must have moisture to begin root and shoot development and without some in the ground they might as well stay in their paper or plastic bags.
Yes, the drought has things at a standstill, and unless copious rains come, little can be done.
The only consolation is that when planting conditions finally become amenable, I won’t have to dig any holes. There are plenty of them already extant, from which I pulled those deads. Some consolation.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.
Published in The Messenger 10.19.10
Jimmy Williams, The Garden Path