A garden hose is for blasting, too

I have recently discovered the joys of hydraulic gardening; just me and a high pressure hose against dirt and clay. “Why,” you may ask, “are you gardening with a hose?” Good question.

You see, I have problems with my shoulders and my hips so digging things out with a trowel or a shovel just leaves me craving a large rum and Coke or a couple of extra punch pain pills. Plus there is a lot of dirt out there.

Okay, there is a lot of dirt everywhere, but this particular dirt is stuck around the roots of a downed pilón tree and is particularly hard to shift. It must have been one of the Great Trees in its day but, judging from the missing top 20 meters and the hollowness of the bottom 15 meters, it was long dead when we arrived on the property. The only thing left to do was harvest the hollow sections for furniture – not a bad idea when the buttress roots are 4 meters wide and leave the roots. Over time, though, I realized that those roots were something special even though they were half buried.

Half buried roots aren’t a bad thing if you have found a lot of wild orchids, and I have, but attaching them can be a bit of a problem. Usually, I just tie them to a tree with lengths of old sheets, but with roots there is nothing to tie around. There just aren’t holes from side to side. Mostly, I try to tuck the roots into cracks in the woody covering of the root or in places where the root has split and then add a cover of moss or pieces of bark to hold the orchid body in place. Unfortunately, I have the help of two dogs when I garden.

Bravo, the shepherd, thinks that any loose piece of bark or large stick should be well worried and chewed before use. I like to carry a spare stick that I can distract him with if I need to use a piece of wood or bark to secure the orchid. And the spaniel? She is a sort of overseer. She wants to poke every orchid with her nose to make sure I have held it in place properly, but, as I keep explaining to her, the orchid would have stayed in place if her nose hadn’t dislodged it. Between the two of them, I never get as much accomplished as I had hoped.

If only I could get them to dig holes, exactly where I want them . . . .

Plant of the Week

Exactly what is a weed? The gardener’s definition is, “a plant growing where you don’t want it to grow.” Okay, it’s longer and more complicated than that and rambles on about things that are unvalued, wild and rank, and hindering the growth of things you had planned to grow. I say, “who cares?” Take a look at this fragile beauty, tiny, pale and delicate. When I asked for its name, all I got was, monte, the local word for weed. Alright, it’s a weed, but I dug it up and transplanted it anyway. Someday I will know its name but for now, I just like looking at it.

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