Pouring Rain & Spring Gardening Thoughts
It has been raining for the past 24 hours and is expected to continue raining today as well. Living on the bottom floor, I can’t hear the rain as well as I did at my old apartment.
Being able to hear the rain has always been such a joy to me. There’s just nothing like listening to rain falling to soothe me. Give me that and a good book and I’m set.
I am shuffling around here trying to walk a bit, just attempting to get from one place to another.
I’m sad when I think of myself maybe 5 years ago, then look at how I am today. Age figures in of course.
And the back pain is causing me to walk stiffly.
I imagine to watch me walk from behind would be a sad proposition. Truly I am just grateful to get done what can get done. And the rest I just have to let go.
A Normal Month Of February:
Normally this time of year I am chomping at the bit waiting for spring flowers to arrive at the nurseries.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m not feeling that way this year.
Just the idea of trying to tend to plants outdoors and carry water from my sink to water them sounds taxing. It is about 25 feet from my kitchen sink to my patio.
I have all of Ivy’s cat trees in front of my bedroom patio door so she can look outdoors. And I just can’t take that daily enjoyment away from her.
If the cat towers weren’t covering the patio doors in there, I wouldn’t have as far to walk retrieving water from my bathroom.
There’s really no other logical place to put the three cat towers/trees. They stretch from one end of the patio door to the other.
Actually, all pushed as close together as is possible, they stretch past the patio door on both sides.
The reason they are all pushed together is for her safety. Ivy is a big cat and she would probably manage to knock one over if it wasn’t secured against another one.
Ivy spends the bulk of her time in there looking out at squirrels and rabbits and birds. I won’t take that enjoyment away from her.
I can’t cover the living room patio door, as that’s where most people come in and out, as it’s closest to the parking lot.
Getting Groceries Delivered:
My groceries are delivered to me there as well as blankets and quilts from the laundry.
So I’ll chew on it a bit.
The plants in the backyard usually get watered due to the 3-4 foot high water sprinkler. So I don’t worry too much about the plants out there.
And I’m so grateful to have that sprinkler there.
It’s having plants on the actual patio to enjoy from my living room that would need to have water carried to them.
Steve said that now I should be able to see why gardening isn’t as much fun here, as you have to carry water to them. And the fact that there’s basically no sun due to the trees.
I remember last year wondering why Steve, being a master gardener, didn’t seem to want to garden. Now I have a better understanding of that.
We Do What We Can Do:
Well, we do what we have to do. And we cease doing what we no longer can do. So that’s how I’m looking at it.
Do any of you have problems trying to garden as you’ve been accustomed to doing, but now it’s becoming increasingly difficult? I would love to hear how you are dealing with it.
One by one, things get taken from you as you age. Ripped away from you because your body isn’t up to the task any longer. It’s a sad fact of life.
I’ve learned that you start to feel more grateful for what you can do.
When the arthritis in my hands and wrists calm down from the cold and rain, I’ll try to get a little sewing done.
I’m sorry it’s been a while since I checked in.
I know just what you mean about it getting more difficult to garden as we age.
Between arthritis and stiffness knee and foot problems, it’s hard to find the enthusiasm that I used to have, especially when I need to carry water or heavy pavers a long way.
Before my knee surgery a few years ago, I was pretty unstoppable in the garden. But, since my knee surgery and an ongoing sleep disorder, I struggle to keep up with the planting, weeding, watering… not to mention that I’ve been trying to build a patio out back for years now. I get so close, but despite working at it all spring and summer, it seems like I’m just not able to complete it. Then fall comes, and the following year, it feels like I’m starting all over because leaves have fallen, weeds have grown up, and my husband has left debris out there.
I try to just keep working at it, little by little, and not let myself get too discouraged or depressed about it.
(My husband does help with the weeding and dead-heading in the front garden, I just can’t get him to help with the back garden)
As an experiment, we decided to grow some tomatoes, as well as a few flowers and vegetables on our upper balcony.
Because there is no spigot out there, I fill a lidded, rolling bin with water from the bathtub, using a srayer attachment, and then after gettiby , I simply dip a cup or jug and water that way.
It is so pretty to have the flowers in the yard and patio but taking water like you described sounds like a big process. I gave up my love of flowers when I moved into the condo. I really missed it the first summer but now I am kind of glad to not have to have that responsibility. I can look out my third floor window and see all the pretty trees that flower on the golf course. Plus I now have found the love of watching all the birds high up in the tree. Little Ivy has it so good with her towers for enjoyment. You are such a good pet mom for her. Have a good week. Hugs. Kris
We have to sometimes alter what we love to do a bit. Sounds like you did it well. I love birds!
I love the idea of having the woman who helps w your cleaning fill some light jugs of water and keep them out on the patio. Buy plants that do not need a ton of water or care and fill a few beautiful containers! Research some native plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance. You may be surprised how lovely it could be! I am not as fond of the idea of hooking a garden hose up to the sink – you will have to take it out and put it away, attach and unattach the hose to the sink, carry it outdoors and back in. To me, it sounds like a lot of maneuvering and right now I think it is best and safer for you to keep things very simple in your life. Then you will be able to devote your creativity and energy to all the things that make you happy, not just plants. As we grow older we are forced to adapt to new ways of doing things or to not being able to do certain things at all. Acceptance of these things w grace for yourself will bring you peace of mind and you will be able to still enjoy your life in so many ways.
The manager here tells the residents to conserve water and not water flowers often, so if someone came by and saw a hose trailing out the patio door, I would probably hear about it.
I understand your frustration. My patio has pavers , so I plant in pots . And like you no outdoor water spigot , so I have to haul it from my kitchen . We each have an ash tree behind our patios. In early winter a tree company came in and treated the trees for emerald ash disease , and trimmed all the dead limbs . I’m excited to see how much more light I’ll have this year . I usually don’t plant a lot , a cherry tomato plant or or 2 , and a cucumber , and lots of impatiens .
You may have a different amount of light this year to plant in!
consider succulents for your patio. there are some gorgeous ones . I water mine once every 3-4 weeks, keep them in the shade, and they are gorgeous. there are even some that just made it thru the historic ice storm in Austin. though I lost huge amounts of my heritage oaks, 3 of my 40 year old persimmon trees, and had no power for 4 days while it froze us to death… those succulents are just fine. this comes on the heels of the week long snow event in 2021 where I lost 35 shrubs. I literally just replaced them in November, so I had them for 2 months before this storm killed again. only tough stuff from now on, it’s too expensive to replace my entire garden every year.
I’m sorry you got so much damage in the storms. I love Austin’s tree canopy, especially the live oaks. It all makes me sad.
I want to grow succulents as a main component in my next garden. Do they have to be protected from the Texas rain storms? Are there 5 or 6 you would recommend as starters for a succulent novice?
well since we’ve been in drought, rain storms have not been the issue for the past 4 years. but you do need to plant them in succulent and cactus soil so that it drains quickly. Ghost plant is the cold hardy one. most echeverias will do well for you. And unfortunately, there are so many succulents that don’t have names that I wish I could give you more names. but truthfully most of them will work, just give them afternoon shade or dappled shade all day. most of them need to come inside if it gets under 35°. I suggest just finding the ones that you think are pretty, pot them in cactus soil, and don’t overwater them. That’s what usually goes wrong. I have some that I literally never water and they get a little rain about once a month. And that’s through the hell of August heat. The more you ignore them seemingly the better they do. Go for it!
I didn’t even know you could grow succulents in any amount of shade. Learn something new every day! I’ll have to read up some on this, as I’ve never worked with succulents.
Brenda, they can do the sunshine of California and east coast. in Texas, Oklahoma and other brutal sun states, they need shade protection so they won’t burn.
I think back to my grandma grumbling when she couldn’t kneel outside in her garden and worse, not having the mobility to get up. I am struggling with that in my kitchen some days so I have to stop and say to myself that I knew this day was coming to me and I never really appreciated maybe all the good days I had when I was younger. Now I pace myself crafting and sewing and I bear through the pain twinges cause I still want to be happy at the end of the day. I love washing my hands cause the warm water feels so good on them. Tonight Million Little Things resumes on ABC for the final season. Looking forward to that story line.
You are very wise. I didn’t think of all the things I was able to do when younger. I guess it didn’t occur to me that those things wouldn’t always be there. I don’t have cable, so will have to watch this show when it is on streaming TV.
What you said was very true for me. For alot of us seniors it is hard to do what we used to do even 5 years ago. Because of illness and our health declines we have to put our health and saltiness first. I have what used to be a nice backyard(my pride and joy), grass, lots of potted plants on the patio, small vegetable garden. It has become too much to maintain and because it had to be watered by hand with a hose, it is too dangerous to be dragging the hose around (trip and fall?). So, I have learned to plant 2 or 3 pots and that is o.k.
My mantra has become, be thankful for what I have.
It is a wonderful mantra!
We’re going to try some indoor gardening at our house. With some plant lights and some hydroponics.
I’m kind of leaning in that direction. I might not have the lights though due to lack of room and having to install it.
We bought some plants lights that attach to the underside of a shelf. There are also plant lights that come with their own stands and are freestanding.
March of 2022 at age 64 I fell in my kitchen and got a dislocated spiral fracture of my left humerus which turned into metal rods, screws, then tennis elbow and a frozen shoulder as it healed since PT was locked down. I really couldn’t dress myself unassisted until July. So no flowers, no garden. There were many things that passed before my eyes with all those months in a recliner and then next summer I was determined to plant flowers. I bought way too many annuals and spent a few days on my kneeler with the handle planting them. I could not raise myself anymore, but my husband was kind enough to help me up and down. My back and knees (arthritis and stiffness, I found out I have osteopenia and bone spurs in my back, too). I was miserable for a month. My lovely husband watered them for me. I decided that was it. I can admire the flowers in my neighborhood and put mulch in my flower beds. I do have 3 hanging baskets that my husband waters. It is not how I thought I would begin retirement or how my life would go. I thought I would finally have time, not only to plant, but to weed and grow vegetables with my flowers. But it is what it is. I can’t quilt anymore with problems with my hands either. This getting old stuff really stinks!!!
I know how you feel. I’m sorry that happened to you. I have to be grateful for what I can’t do. But it’s hard to let it go, isn’t it? As you said, it is what it is. I miss quilting too. Which is why I’m going to try hand embroidery again.
I have mobility issues too. I have a 50 foot covered, white railing porch on my home. I have window boxes on the porch railings that were always filled with real flowers in the spring, and had hanging baskets as well. It was a joy to get all dirty planting them, and being outside to water them twice a day, as they got full sun from noon to sunset.
I couldn’t do it anymore. I also couldn’t bear the empty boxes of dirt staring at me.
During covid when the nurseries in our state were not allowed to be open, that I deviated from my life time of normal. I put fake flowers in them. Vines, and filler and all sorts. It nearly killed me to do this. It’s not gardening then. No water splashing about on my bare feet that I so loved. No watching things grow and change and fill in beautifully.
However,,,,,,it looked fantastic. I wasn’t using nearly so much water, I have used my flowers for on average of 5 years at a time, then I work on replacing them due to sun fade etc. I also fill the boxes with faux miniature pumpkins and leaves and little scarecrows and fall flowers in the fall. I fill them with faux garland and poinsettas and candycanes etc for the holidays.
I gave up my flowers, but I have a new project every season to decorate and plan for and decide on themes and it looks great from the road, it looks great from the porch and sometimes people don’t even notice they’re not real, walking by. I have beautiful pink/blush hydrangeas, and peonies in various shades of dark and lighter pink, white and cream. It’s all very lush looking. Most can be sourced on amazon, including the vinca vines I so loved. I still enjoy “creating” the boxes and pots on my porch every season. I’m still being creative. I think it’s a little more environmentally friendly as far as water usage, and I’m spending less as well. I would spend 200 on average for my flats of annuals every year. I spend that once every 5 years now. I can add or change things yearly as I like too.
Just a thought. Humbling I know, but you’re so creative, I’d love to see what you’d come up with in containers. Maybe you’d give me inspiration and ideas too!
Thanks for the ideas. I so wish I could work in the dirt. But you’ve made the most of it and I admire you for finding a way to still find joy creating with flowers. I may there before long! I’m barely getting around, so don’t have the energy to do much. I’m thinking about ordering a few house plants from the nursery and have them pot them up for me.
I know what you mean about listening to the rain. My favorite time to listen to the rain is at night, when I’m going to sleep. I find that very relaxing. I’d like to think your gardening days are not over, rather postponed until you feel back to your normal self. In the meantime, you can distract yourself with other things, like sewing. The bonus for us is that we get to enjoy many of your other talents. And you do have many in addition to gardening. You enjoy sewing, photography, writing, decorating, the occasional cooking, shopping (yes shopping- we get to see all the fun things you buy), book and tv show reviews, etc. Just to name a few… you have many talents. You’ll get back to gardening, when the time is right.
Thank you for the positive thoughts! I so appreciate it. I too love to fall asleep with the sound of rain outside. I just feel kind of useless when I’m unable to do things.
I have always loved trees so looked for a house with large trees, but then of course they overshadow the garden so you have to choose plants that don’t mind only dappled sunlight. We do have large shrubs in the garden, the previous owner cut them back every year but we like to let them do their own thing, I hate to control them and they don’t look bad. We have some old lilac bushes which I would like to take out and put in bushes that will benefit the birds, but that is going to take some work!
We usually get quite a lot of young rabbits in the garden in the spring who tend to eat some of the plants but I don’t mind, they have to eat.
Yes, they do have to eat. I really don’t mind their eating my plants all that much. I like to see shrubs do their own thing. I hate to see them hacked down to perfect shapes.
Not sure if this is something you would consider, but if you still have the lady coming to help clean your apartment, I would ask her to fill some capped containers with water and place them on the patio for you – enough to last you to water your plants through a hot week until her next visit. Not big containers, say quart size containers, like from a quart of milk. That way you could have potted plants on your patio to enjoy if you sit out there or view from your living room, while the other plants in the ground around the patio and along the complex pathway get water from the built-in sprinkler system. Maybe four to six plants, not in giant sized pots, but pots that could be placed on a shelf unit that you can easily reach and tend to. You would still have to maneuver yourself to the patio but you wouldn’t be lugging containers of water with you. The weather here is wonky, not at all like what I remember from even 20 years ago. We had polar vortex cold temps after a good snowfall of about 10 inches, our first serious polar vortex in several years, but it lasted less than a week, then temperatures went to more or less normal for winter in SE Wisconsin for some days, and gloomy, no sunshine. Ugh. Right now it’s 40 degrees F outside and sunny, and for the past 3-4 days the temperatures have been above freezing during the day, a lot of the snow we had has melted. We’re still a long way away from spring here, though – probably 2 1/2 months yet.
That’s actually a really good idea, Jan, having her cleaning lady fill up some containers for her to keep outside!
That is an idea, Jan. Maria comes twice a month. But it is indeed an idea to consider.
when I lived in townhouse in Tulsa l solved problem of NO outside water source by the
purchase of a length of hose required to reach from kitchen faucet, through the townhouse through the mail slot in my front door. There is an adapter that will connect to the faucet ( remove the aerator piece on it ) and allowing the hose to be attached. l put the other end out the mail slot and into front flowerbed, then just turned it on and problem solved. It would solve the problem and minimize the walking you had to do to be able to water your flowers outside.
I looked into that. I even contacted an Amazon seller who sold those things. But he never got back to me on the type of adapter I’d need. I would need to open the patio door a bit and have a hose going through there. I don’t have any plants in front. Big trees with huge roots in the ground there and covered in gravel.
I’d like to think that your gardening days are not over. You may not do it this year but hopefully you’ll be fully healed by summer 2024. I’m crossing my fingers that it all works out that way.
I still think you should purchase a child’s coloring book (big pictures – few details) and a new box of crayons. If the pictures are larger, you may not have to grip the crayon so tightly. Let is simply rest between your fingers. When I’m stressing about something, and I don’t want to work on something that requires detail I pull out my coloring book(s) and huge box of crayons and let my thoughts wander. A small investment can go a long way. Try it!!!
I love a rainy day is very soothing for my soul – enjoy your rainy day.
That is an idea. I’ve never really thought about coloring in a coloring book.
I have become a coloring book addict. I use pencils mostly but have several sets and probably a dozen books. People on Facebook who have problems with their hands often use markers and gel pens instead.
Brenda, just look up adult coloring and books on Facebook and Amazon. You’ll be amazed.
I have an idea about watering plants on your patio. There must be some kind of hose that could be hooked up to the faucet in the kitchen, even if you had to put two hoses together, and then run that out the door. You might need an adaptor of some kind to fit the hose to the faucet. But everything is available today so I would think something could be rigged up to spare you from carrying water. Even though you would have to get out the hose and put it away everyday, it would make it possible to take care of plants and wouldn’t be as hard as carrying water.
That sounds possible. I would need a hose that is about 15-20 feet long probably. The manager here gets onto people who water their outdoor plants because they say we use too much water. We pay a set amount of a water bill with our rent.
That’s probably why there isn’t a spigot out there. Oh well Brenda, you will have something pretty even if it is simple….
I know as I age and as my arthritis strengthens, “doors” of activities close, never to open again. I have to monitor myself to ensure I don’t waste too much of my current life wishfully staring backwards at the closed door
You are so right Gail, about wasting our current life wishing we had the quality of life that we had before we got into our senior years! I am guilty of that and I keep telling myself that I should be thankful for what good health I do have!
You’re absolutely right. You can’t keep looking at the back door because it doesn’t go anywhere.
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