The old adage, “Ninety percent of the effort is in the last ten percent of the job,” proved to be correct in the days before The Garden Conservancy’s Open Day. Here’s the work list I created on Tuesday. All of us have taken great satisfaction in checking off tasks. Much of those hand-written extras came from conscientious Sonji, who kept finding more to do.
The last three yards of fir bark was dispatched by the team of Stephen Hoyt and Farrell Parsons, thanks to my generous next door neighbor, Marcia Swisher’s loan of her DR Powerwagon. She also leant us her DR brush cutter that Stephen skillfully wielded to tidy up the verges on the driveway. This is like having your neighbor lend you her Rolls Royce for the day. (If that’s what your neighbors drive.) Thanks, Marcia!
Andrew Morse was back with his dad’s truck and flatbed trailer, distributing two more yards of gravel. Sonji and Andy madly hauled the last three yards of mint straw into various corners of the beds.
I was doing the signage, which took far more thought, time and energy than I had counted on. First I had to figure out where the official Garden Conservancy signs would do the most good.
Then I had to figure out where to place signs that directed folks to park along our newly widened driveway. Thanks to Wendell Diltz and his heavy equipment and many many tons of rock, our driveway has been renewed for the first time in 20 years.
Lou cleaned up the moss on the arbor patio. Most of it—this is Oregon, you have to live with some. He dislodged it with our surprisingly powerful electric blower.
We were all plowing along when we confronted another adage–”Nature always bats last.”
In the early afternoon, Sonji came up and said, “Can you smell that? I think something’s died in the garden.”
Oh no. The arum (Drancunculus vulgaris)had chosen this day to bloom. It grows in the entry garden, right by the driveway. I put it there because it was given to me by an acquaintance who didn’t bother mentioning its most salient feature—its scent is overpoweringly putrid. Flies were swarming around it.
I made up a sign.
Our friends, Phyllis Helland and Ray Morse (Andrew’s parents) brought over a dinner so we wouldn’t have to cook. We ate in our usual summer dining room under the grape arbor, with wafts of dracunculus scent accompanying the wine.
Earlier, Sonji had already scarfed down three take-out tacos, while sitting on the new driveway—”Why not, it’s a beautiful place to sit,” she said while talking to Andy who was finishing laying cobbles in the front bed. Now she wheeled her barrow of mint straw into the bed behind us—which was decidedly weird—but Sonji understood better than I what still needed to be done.
The Helland-Morses also brought their dog Shai. They wanted to keep her on a leash, but Shai is a good old beast and one of my favorite dogs—we have dog-sat her at our house in past years.
Sonji left at nine, still fretting over the undeadheaded roses.
Lou and I were taking a more relaxed approach. Sure, we had a lot more last-minute work to do, but as we sat in the growing dark, and looked at our friend’s faces lit by candles on the table, we said to them the new adage Lou created for this whole process: “Whatever it is, it is.” # # # #