I always admire other gardeners who seem to throw things together and they work out perfectly. A list, a trip to a store or two, a few hours of work, and voila! You’re ready to relax and move on to something more entertaining. My projects never, never, ever work out like that. I start something innocently enough and before you know it a budget is blown, there are walls missing from the house, or you’ve been for a visit to the emergency room.
So here’s this year’s deck saga. You give it a good cleaning, plant up a few pots and warm up the grill for dinner, right? Not in my lucky world. As you get ready to pressure wash you notice the kid’s craft table is looking a bit worse for wear and really should be cleaned up before the next waterpaint session. Out comes the sander and varnish.
Once the table is all spiffy, the pressure washing commences. The clean looks great, but it makes you realize how abused and dirty the vinyl siding is under the covered portion of the deck. So off it comes. You’ve been wanting to replace it with wood paneling and now that the table is looking nice again…..
The woodwork should only take a few days, but then I might as well paint the rocking chairs saved from the dumpster, and I need to plant a few of the annuals so they don’t die waiting for their deck planters.
Not to change the subject (as if I could stay focused long enough to finish something anyway), while the renovation is going on I still need to get the annuals planted in the deck pots. Of course this is the year everything reseeded. One pot is full of blue salvia seedlings, another is packed with red snapdragons, and a third has hundreds of baby calibrachoa. They all need moving off to find new homes.
Once the planters are vacant (mostly) I decide I really need some tall miscanthus in the big planters. Mine hasn’t quite recovered from the winter, but a quick phone call finds a friend across town who can spare a few wedges out of his clump. So off for that.
And the weeks go on. Finally the porch and deck are finished and the new plantings are filling in.
I really like calibrachoa on the deck. They bloom constantly and don’t get the little inchworms in the blooms like petunias do. These were all purchased plants, luckily by the time I got to the nursery it was so late in the season they were all marked down!
This year I plunked down the money for a nice mandevilla. It’s not my favorite “Alice DuPont”, but after complete failure with Alice last year, it was time for a change, and this one is filling in nicely. I suspect last year’s vine (purchased from a box store) had been chemically treated to bloom nicely in the pot. It produced blooms all summer but never grew an inch (which defeated the purpose of growing a vine), and I suspect it’s from the blooming hormone cocktail it received before it got to me.
I managed to squeeze a bunch of the miscanthus into this pot, and although temperatures shot up to the 9o’s (32C) two days after its division the grass recovered nicely. All the red was kind of a surprise though. The snapdragons came in on their own (and all bloomed in reds) and the calibrachoa really clumped up, and the overall effect is growing on me. I like it even more with the chartreuse leaves of the sweet potato.
I’m really glad I just left the snapdragon seedlings, they took off once the pots started getting regular water and feedings, and I love the color. Now snapdragons are showing up in a second pot which was supposed to have just a single miscanthus in it. I had pulled all the extra snapdragon seedlings out of it, but with determination like that I guess I’ll have to let them stay now.
Fortunately the succulent pots are more subdued. They’re calming things down a bit as well as the other survivor from last summer, the rosemary.
So finally I’m done cleaning the deck. The covered part has become a nice little retreat made all the more cozy (in my opinion at least) by the Virginia creeper which has brought the garden up to the porch edges. Maybe next year I’ll work out some kind of trellising system so that the creeper can climb higher and then hang down as a sort of curtain. I like the idea, but that’s another project!
Now I just have to decide what to do with the geraniums. All the time at the DIY store and I figured I might as well pick up a few new pots….. and then find some dark chocolate paint to tone down the orange…. and then divide up all the overwintered geraniums (and maybe add a new one or two) to fill the pots. And come to think of it I should probably finish off those steps too, and the deck supports would look a lot nicer wrapped in brick…..
I hope your summer projects are coming along at a faster pace than mine do! With the way they move I tend to think nothing gets finished around here, so as the temperatures rise I might take a break and do a few recaps to see where things are going.