things and places for homes and gardens

An important lesson

Wednesday 9 June 2010 - Filed under Nurseries + Plants

It turns out that wet compost is heavy. It also turns out, that if you shovel wet compost into a wheelbarrow until it is heaping full, it creates the perfect lever for wrenching your lower back into a crippling state for two weeks. So for anyone else that’s worrying about a pile of compost in the street, my advice in hindsight is to let it dry out before moving it, no matter how many times the neighbors drive through it. And dry weather is in sight – this weekend we’re actually supposed to see sun and mid 80s temperatures for the first time.

I haven’t been out in the garden for a while, so all I can do is ogle the pictures from my last nursery visit, before the big back blowout. Good thing I spotted some good garden eye candy last time I shopped the aisles at Garden Fever. If I were able to bend over to plant them, I’d be all over this stuff.

Echium x wildprettii 'Rocket'
Echium x wildprettii ‘Rocket’ – check out the description on the plant tag. Pure poetry.
The king of biennials, Echium (Eek-ee-um) begins as an incredibly large rosette (30" across) of furry pointed leaves and eventually forms a woody trunk several feet tall (resembles a palm tree at this point). In its second year the rosette elongates and a spike up to 14′ is unfurled. Blue flowers that change to pink swirl from the base to the tip as they bloom. Full sun, good drainage, average water. Reseeds prolifically. Mulch the base.
Zone 8b (15 to 20 degrees F) (Xera plants)

Argemony mexicana (Golden Prickly Poppy)
Argemony mexicana (Golden Prickly Poppy). Good enough just for the leaves, but it apparently gets silky poppy flowers for up to a month in summer. Curious.

Dudleya cymosa

Dudleya cymosa
Dudleya cymosa (canyon live-forever) – the tag impresses upon the reader many times that this plant likes dry, dry, dry conditions, hard to do around here lately, but if you could keep it in a container out of the rain, it could be done.

Kniphofia 'Shining Scepter'
Kniphofia ‘Shining Scepter’ claims it may be the most intense of all Kniphofia selections. Good hummingbird bait.

 Datisca cannabina (false hemp)
Datisca cannabina (false hemp) – I don’t know much about this plant except that it’s fast growing and I like the leaves. It came home with me, anxiously awaiting being planted in the ground.

Sempervivum 'Red Cobweb'
Sempervivum ‘Red Cobweb’ – one of those plants that makes me muse on about what a miracle nature is. How is this possible?

Happy gardening. I hope to join in the fun again shortly.

2010-06-09  »  megan

Talkback x 7

  1. Loree / danger garden
    9 June 2010 @ 12:14 pm

    If I didn’t already have 2 of those Echium from my visit to Xera I would be in the car on my way to GF right now! Oh, well, plus the fact that I was already there earlier today. Are you still feeling no relief? I am so sorry!!!! Maybe you really do need that plastic chiropractor.

  2. ricki - sprig to twig
    9 June 2010 @ 4:51 pm

    Gardening makes us strong, but oh, dear…maybe not as strong as we think. Too rainy for hands-on gardening, anyway. Wait for the healing sun.

  3. Andrew at Garden Smackdown
    10 June 2010 @ 3:42 am

    Important lesson indeed — you take care of yourself! I’ll let you in an another lesson I learned last summer, my first gardening professionally full-time: if you shovel heavy compost/mulch out of the back of a truck (chest height) into a wheelbarrow, you’re going to throw out some weird muscles. Say, muscles right in the center of your sternum that may lead you to believe a heart attack is imminent.

    Silly muscles.

  4. Jane/MulchMaid
    10 June 2010 @ 7:49 pm

    Oh, Megan, I’m so sorry you did in your back. I am in the same boat and determined to build up my back strength so as not to EVER do it again.
    Your Dudleya cymosa is making my heart race.

  5. nonlineargirl
    10 June 2010 @ 9:19 pm

    Ooh, sorry about the back. Is the new phone a balm for the pain? (J mentioned you were jumping ship to this new phone. I think I am finally going to buy an iphone, if J would stop sending me articles about various ideas. Except, right, I asked for his help.)

  6. Grace
    10 June 2010 @ 10:36 pm

    Oh Megan, what a bummer about your back. I hear you on the heavy compost and heavier wheelbarrow. How easy it is to think we’re still these young, invincible whippersnappers. I for one don’t like this getting older, bull$***. I hope you heal quickly. A few hours of sunshine would certainly help. Healing thoughts coming your way.

  7. tina
    13 June 2010 @ 7:26 am

    Such interesting plant names-really neat. I hope your back gets better soon! Take it easy.