It’s been months since I’ve posted here. If I wait until I feel like composing prose, I may never write again. So, I’ve decided to cast away all writing fear and record my thoughts, as random as they may be…
My father-in-law, who is 87, is an enviable gardener. Last fall, he shared with me some bulbs – lily, iris, phlox – and some peony sprouts. I was thrilled – especially about the peonies – which are heirloom plants brought from Norway by his grandmother (or was it great-grandmother?), about 100 years ago.
I managed to get all the bulbs planted but not the peony roots. They needed a different spot in the yard. A brand new place. My hero had great intentions of removing sod and preparing a great place for them.
But because his job demanded enormous amounts of overtime, he just couldn’t get to it.
Weeks passed, pushing us into late fall. In desperation, I finally decided I’d do it myself. I was soon shocked to discover I had neither the strength nor the tools to cut through sod, much less, prepare five holes, each a foot wide and a foot deep, as I’d been instructed by a peony expert whom I’d phoned for advice while in that state of desperation.
I should probably mention that I did manage to dig one hole – almost deep enough. I’d started late in the day but decided I should probably stop digging when our neighbor backed into his driveway and just sat there with his truck headlights beaming at me…digging a hole in my yard in the dark.
Which turned out to be a good thing for another reason. The next day, as my college-age son and his friend sat eating my home cooking, I asked the friend if he would be willing to dig holes in our yard, for pay. He agreed but in a follow-up phone conversation, he suggested I first call and have our yard marked for underground wires, etc. You know – the “Call Before You Dig” advice.
So I did. I called. A few days later, I saw little wires with colored flags marking varying spots in my yard. And red lines sprayed in the grass, directly across the hole I’d begun digging.
I need to shorten this so I can get to bed…
Finally, on a frigid, windy, rainy November day, the young man I hired, and our son, not only dug the holes, they mixed in the compost I’d lugged home. And, with my guidance, planted the peony roots.
It had been weeks since I’d received those heirloom starters from my father-in-law and I was more than worried they may not sprout. But now it’s spring. April. And I am so stoked to see they’ve come up!
And the young man, one of my “sons,” who incidentally turned down my pay, is now in another state beginning training to be a Navy Seal.