Alchemy Garden Journal Entry 16: The Perfect Storm


The day started out very fun. I went to the garden center today to pick up some topsoil for my fresh new garden bed out front. I couldn’t help myself and also brought home some lemongrass and, finally, another Genovese basil plant since the one I’m trying to save is in purgatory. I want another to replace it if necessary.

I spent a good amount of the afternoon adding more soil to the bed to cover any exposed roots. I didn’t dig deep enough holes for some of the plants, so I wanted to make up for it with a rich layer of soil.

I then did some pruning to get rid of the browning foliage; a few flowers from the geraniums and lantanas were about to kick the bucket, so I deadheaded them. I even trimmed my hedges for the first time ever! It actually wasn’t very difficult; I just had to watch out for the wasps hanging around. They occasionally get into fights with the carpenter bees.

While checking out my potted plants, I noticed that the Patty Pot was being overtaken by the red onion. I was contemplating transferring it to a different plot anyway, so I decided to move it into the garden bed next to the pepperoncini peppers and the chives. It got super tall! The Patty Pot now contains a different plant: Italiko Rosso Dandelion. It’s one of the seeds my husband’s co-worker gave me. I also took some of the empty seedling pots from the store and planted two pots of Red Welsh Onions, and a single pot of borage. I plan to squeeze these into the ground or in another raised bed at some point.

I was ready to call this journal entry “Looking Good!” until the sky opened with raindrops so heavy and loud that I flinched with every nuclear drop! It got so bad that I had to run outside and check on my bed.

Outside was flooding. Like… really badly! The rain was a river all over the sidewalk, and the stone bricks lining my garden bed were holding much of the water into my bed, creating a muddy mess. I donned my flimsy raincoat and flip flops and dashed to the bed to see what I could do. At first I thought I could cover the plants with plastic to reduce the rain, but the ground was so muddy that this wouldn’t have made a difference.

So, I pulled up the garden bed stones. To my relief, water streamed out from the bed and onto the sidewalk. But it wasn’t over yet. I piled some leftover cobblestones into the empty crevices, left behind from the stones. I had to do this to reduce the water washing back up into the crevice. Surprisingly, this worked, and most of the muddy puddles began to dissipate. To help the water along, I dug irrigation canals with my hands into the dirt. It wasn’t perfect, but it all looked better than before.

I then went ahead and emptied the terra cotta pot saucers and moved my newly planted borage, dandelion, and onion. I was in such a hurry that I mixed up some of the pots (because I was too lazy to label the damn things earlier!). Now I have no idea what holds the Welsh red onion or the borage. I guess I’ll figure it out after they break the surface.

My poor bed is absolutely muddy. I will cry if anything dies…

I went back outside after the storm to assess the damage. The pools of water were gone and the ground was soaked, but not an absolute mud pie. A lot of petals from the Knockout roses were on the ground. But I don’t dare touch anything. One good thing I can say about my irrigation desperation is that I like how the garden bed looks now with the cobbled border versus when those ugly stones were around it (FYI those stones were there before we bought the house). Before it gets dark, I’ll be sprinkling snail and slug bait around the plot. This is their favorite weather.

Garden bed after removing the stone borders. Looks nicer!

I made a makeshift shelf with the garden stones and a plank of wood so that I can prop my potted plants up for more sun. They now house the mystery seedlings, the dandelion, and the rosemary. I can fit additional pots if I choose.

And you know what? Mega props to farmers and horticulture specialists! These guys don’t get enough credit for the insane amount of work it takes grow plants!

Sun, I beg you to shine for a whole week! I’ve had enough of this bipolar Virginia weather!

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