Dirty work

I used to work in a windowless office so I completely understand when every other visitor tells me I have the best job in the world. I know. I totally do. But contrary to popular opinion amongst non-gardeners at least, the weather isn’t always 70 degrees and sunny; gardening is not always serenely therapeutic, and it’s certainly not glamorous. Especially not when it involves hauling out a truckload of annuals out of a garden, or shoveling dry compost in a windstorm. Gardening is dirty work.

It’s been an especially back-breaking work-week here between taking out the cutting bed to make room for tulips (next week’s work), cutting back, dividing and moving various perennials around like musical chairs, and forking compost into the two North Garden beds that won’t be trampled during the wall’s restoration project. Of all the hard work this week, the compost was definitely the dirtiest. But it was also the most potentially gratifying.

We haven’t amended the soil in the North Garden in a very long time and it has become compacted from years of feet and years of moving plants around in wet springs and falls, just like the Rose Garden had. And just like we did in the Rose Garden last year, we opted to use Bristol’s own (free) compost made with biosolids and yardwaste, which is super stinky but certified top-grade and tested pathogen-free. Thanks to a strong team of volunteers (Go Rockettes!) who plugged their noses to rake out and fork in the compost, we have every expectation that next year the North Garden will be every bit as stunningly healthy as the Rose Garden was this year. (The Rose Garden is still glorious by the way – although frost/snow might do it in tonight…)

We are coming close to the end of the dirtiest work in the gardens for the season. Once the tulips go in we will have to make a shift to the more mentally challenging work of planning next years gardens. – Just listening to Gail and Tara try to plan where to plant the tulips in the cutting garden is making me feel a whole other kind of exhausted…

Have you been doing dirty work in your garden too?



3 thoughts on “Dirty work

  1. I’m moving away from biosolids, myself. At first, it was just in the vegetable beds, but after considering all of the pharmaceuticals that go out of people, I’ve had serious reservations about using it elsewhere. Also, I’ve found that while our local stuff is relatively weed free, it doesn’t seem impervious. It may be weed seed already in the ground, though. Given I can get a local, albeit more expensive compost made from untreated sawdust and grocery store cast-offs, I’ve been going with that. And it’s not stinky.

    Susan, I’m remembering now that you mentioned that last year too. But the Rose Garden looked so good that the pharmaceuticals must not have had any kind of deleterious effect. Sort of skeevy to think about though, I’ll admit. -kris

  2. Glamorous Gardening? Not in my backyard! Ha. Oh, the dirty work continues. I feel like that character in the ‘Family Circus’ cartoon retracing steps as I try to finish one job only to find another has to be completed first. That extra foot I added to the long, sunny border turned out to be way to little so, another two feet of sod, sixty feet long, is being removed. On the other hand, I am getting a workout without having to pay for it. Glad your dirty work is almost over.

    Layanee, that’s funny because I always feel like a shooting gallery bear. I do not envy you your sod removal job. Workout is right. (But exactly what I should be doing in my own garden.) -kris

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