|The trench for the hoses has |
dug and the hose laid in the
trench. All that remains is
to cover the trench... and find
the plant markers
It's a time-consuming process because the hoses are buried about an inch into the soil and mulch rather than just placed along the surface. And, to answer the inevitable question, the hoses are taken up each fall because they'd rot after a year or two if they were left in the ground over the winter. The hoses I buried yesterday are in their tenth season. So, yes, it's worth a morning's labor to both make the hosta garden look great and to exercise some Yankee frugality by not having to replace $60 worth of hoses.
But that's not the purpose of this essay. Rather, I write this morning to wonder why on earth the animals in the woods around our property find our plant tags so fascinating. You see, yesterday I engaged in not one but two spring rituals. The first was the burying of the soaker hoses. The second was the annual matching of hosta plant markers with the shoots coming out of the ground.
|Our hosta walk in season.|
Exactly why we go to the trouble of making labels is unclear, except that now, when we visit a nursery, we can resist buying a hosta ‘Lakeside Cupcake’ because we already have one. We know we have one because we made a label for one last year. Except unless we think what we have back at home is ‘Lakeside Cupid’s Cup’ or ‘Lakeside Cup Up’. Which means we may well go home with the hosta anyway because it’s so darn cute.
|This is what our tags are|
supposed to look like.
Betty says the rational explanation is that the ground freezes and thaws and pushes the markers out of the ground. I could buy that theory if the markers were adjacent to the plants to which they belong. I happen to know for a fact, though, that hosta ‘Mohegan’ is a giant brute of a plant that hugs the foundation of the house (and may yet push the house out of the way in order to accommodate its version of Manifest Destiny). Why, then, is the marker for hosta ‘Mohegan’ in among the ones for the cute little miniatures twenty feet away? And why is there a pile of five markers?
Personally, I blame the squirrels and the raccoons. (“Hey, neat plant marker. I think I’ll pull it out and put it in this pile.”) More likely, knowing the raccoons in our neighborhood, the markers are used in lieu of poker chips. (“I see your ‘Francee’ and raise you a ‘Kabitan’ and a ‘Whirlwind’.) That might explain the piles of them – raccoons abandoning poker night when they’re called home for dinner and to do their homework. Their homework being their endless but fruitless efforts to break into our composter.
|We have not created a 'Golden|
Tiara' tag in probably ten
years. Yet one turned up in
the hosta walk yesterday.
Why, then, do I have two warped and mangled handwritten tags for hosta ‘Golden Tiara’? Betty ejected all of the ‘Golden Tiaras’ from the formal hosta garden four or five years ago because they multiply like rabbits and she hasn’t bothered to make a tag for one in the better part of a decade. Where did these tags come from?
Once again, Betty’s rational explanation is frost heaves. The tags were buried in the soil. The ground froze and thawed and, one day, belched up a ‘Golden Tiara’ tag or two. I like the parallel universe theory a lot better.
With the hoses now safely buried, my task now is to dig out our diagrams of the hosta beds and match loose tags with last known locations of plants. Now that’s what I call a spring ritual.