The internet reminds us that traditionally, “Labour Day was an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights during parades and picnics organized by trade unions.”
At my daughter’s home, however, there’s been a whole week of labouring. A new wood stove was installed, a fence is under construction, there was painting to do, and firewood to cut.
Labour Day itself became a time to labour in her garden.
The existing much-too-narrow fifteen inch strip of flower bed that edged a stepping-stone-and-ornamental-gravel path beside the garage was an annoyance. Most plants didn’t do well in the limited space against the foundation, and those that survived spilled over into the walkway.
We put our imaginations to work and decided that the cement stepping stones would be better sunk into the adjacent grass. Then one set of the wide wooden beams could be removed, leaving space for a generous garden bed.
Initially it sounded like a relatively simple task, but my hubby is quick to point out that every job I think up for him ends up requiring more time, energy and money than we expect. This one became a major endeavour. Since there were no existing evergreen shrubs, all the plants were removed in favour of a more seasonally balanced design, and the ornamental rock was raked out and collected for use in a different location.
The various aspects of the job took the combined effort of four of us! My hubby relocated the pavers; our son-in-law used his chain saw on the discarded wooden ties to cut them down into end pieces for the new bed; and both men worked for hours to lever huge rocks out, one of which was retained for decorative use in the final landscape.
Then it was time to haul in a truck-‘n-trailer load of topsoil and shovel it into the new bed, and make another side trip with quad and garden trailer to add a load of compost — both to be mixed together with a rototiller and raked smooth. And finally it was time for daughter and I to make a trip to the nursery to select suitable plants for this Hardiness Zone 3 location, followed by an afternoon of planting. There is still a top dressing of bark mulch to be added.
I suppose I should have expected the job to be more than a quick dig-and-plant event, but as a minimally knowledgeable gardener, I think I approached it in much the same way as a novice writer tackles a first novel. On the surface it sounds easy — just find an idea, do a bit of planning and plunk the words on a page until the job is done.
Some people may be ‘natural’ gardeners or storytellers, but I now have much more respect for the professionals who work full time to make a successful career with what they do.
My Labour Day job isn’t done yet. Excuse me while I go water the new plants. Then I’ll be heading for the bottle of Tylenol. :)
Do you enjoy planning and planting a landscape, or are you more of a plunk and putter kind of gardener?
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