Garden Diary - May 2005

The Merry Month of May

The Sound of One Hand Weeding

After a very dry start to the month (no rain at all between May 3rd and May 20th) this is a drizzle-y, chilly week. We need the rain, and I welcome it for a second reason. About mid-May my right elbow became somewhat swollen and puffy. There was (and is) no pain, not even a twinge, and I have a full range of motion. I waited a few days, then went to the doctor. She drew off of 6 cc. of clear fluid, gave me an elastic wrap for the arm, and said it was O.K. to keep gardening. I told her I use a pick-axe to plant, but was told to keep on gardening if I wanted to. I kept my elbow wrapped night and day, other than while showering and 5 minutes every morning to allow the skin some air.

So I happily gardened 5 or 6 hours a day, pick-axing planting holes for shrubs, Weed-Wrenching saplings out of the way, hauling mulch, etc. "Maybe," said my husband, "they didn't understand what you mean by "gardening" and you should ease off." And my reply, "No, no, she said I could garden."

The following Monday I was up at 6:00 a.m., unwrapped my arm, and 2 hours later it was obvious that the fluid was again accumulating. Saw the doctor that afternoon. She drew off another 5 or 6 cc's of fluid (which had been sent to the lab the first time, and there's no infection.) Keep it wrapped, ice it down several times a day, and NO GARDENING! Also no dusting or vacuuming, but who cares about that. Doctor finds it amusing that I'm more upset about not gardening for a week than that she's sticking a large needle into my elbow.

Tuesday I managed to plant 6 small perennials, left-handed. Had my right hand in the pocket of my blue jeans just to make sure. There's no "economy of scale" - I cannot manage a 2 gallon watering can one-handed, so am using a dinky little quart size. That means I need to stop, trudge to the drainage creek, refill it for each plant. Cannot manage a single 5-gallon sheet rock bucket of mulch. It makes me lopsided, I need one in each hand as carry them from the mulch pile into the woods. Weeding is possible - touch-me-not, Impatiens capensis, could be pulled by a toddler when the plants are 5 feet tall.

So I'm being extremely good, to the point of opening the refrigerator left-handed. Used the blue gel-pack out of the freezer this morning, looked at my elbow, and I think there is a minor amount of fluid there, reduced more by the Ace bandage (better than the free stretchy job the doctor gave me) than by rest and cold.

So the drizzly, rainy, chilly weather (Thursday's "high" was about 54 Fahrenheit!) means I'm a little less twitchy. Probably wouldn't be out there gardening anyhow. It's been so chilly I made a fire in the wood burning stove with some scrap 2" X 4" lumber, (arranged left-handedly) and made meatloaf for supper. I'll give it until Tuesday after Memorial Day Monday, but am not optimistic that rest, cold, and wrapping is going to make things all better.

Bulbs for Garden Habitats

Here's what some readers and reviewers have to say about Bulbs for Garden Habitats:

" I find the approach chosen by Judy Glattstein innovative and fascinating, the text competent and entertaining."

Herbert Frei, Zurich, Switzerland

"Drawing not only on her extensive personal experience, Glattstein also enthusiastically relates those of accomplished amateur as well as professional geophyte horticulturists, thus enriching her comprehensive guide with both a conversational and authoritative tone that balances its user-friendly approach with practical expertise."

Carol Haggas, Booklist, May 2005

"[Glattstein's] image-filled prose style... manages to educate and entertain concurrently."

Lillie Dorchak, Hunterdon County Democrat, May 26, 2005

"She offers a new approach to incorporating bulbs based on matching the plants to the garden habitats where they will have the best chance of thriving."

Book News, Inc., May 2005

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