Once in a while we visit the Raleigh Flea Market. There are vendors offering garden plants at good prices and I’m a sucker for cheap garden plants. On our latest excursion we snagged a Golden Tiara Hosta for $5. That’s a good price for a beautiful plant.
Our garden is organized so compost, spare pots, soil and mulch are co-located at the back of the lot. New plants are walked down the path to the potting station to get their assignment at the Nichols Estate.
The potting station is a table I made using the leftovers of my daughters’ playhouse. The same wood was once part of a compost bin then a rabbit hutch before landing its final gig as a garden star. The table is beside the soil depot making cleanup a cinch. Spilled soil can be raked back into the pile.
I remove the plant from it pot and inspect the roots. Using my fingers I spread the root ball. This step promotes new root growth once the plant is potted. For trees, bushes, or plants that are root bound, it may be necessary to use a trowel or a knife to break the root ball. Watch your fingers!
For larger pots I do the filling and the planting on a garden cart making transport to the final resting place less strenuous. My potting table is too high for Shawn so using a lower platform makes it possible for her to arrange plants and play in the dirt, too.
I add dirt in layers and tamp to force any air pockets out of the mix. If you are strong enough you can pick the pot up and bounce it a few times to settle the soil. Add soil until the plant is at the height you need. For plants needing more water, I stop the soil before the rim of the pot. We do some watering in Raleigh during the hot months and moving between pots quickly reduces mosquito strafing. The space at the top of the pot can be filled with water and I can move to the next plant while it soaks into the soil.
Having my hands in soil created from leaves produced on our lot by our tress is awesome. Feeling the dampness and smelling the aroma of good dirt brings a sense of accomplishment. Some gardeners wear gloves, but for this step, I want to feel the dirt. My hands will wash. One day I will research the reason my nose itches or my glasses slide down once my hands are covered, though.
Mr. Hosta is ready but we add an extra step. Our neighborhood is polluted with squirrels and they love to dig in fresh soil. We mix a layer of pea gravel to the top of the pot to discourage the vandals. It is not always effective but it does help.
Mr. Hosta is ready to display! He has room to spread out and grow. Maybe one day I will be able to divide him into two plants and have an extra to share with a gardening friend.
Watering a new plant is important and the pot needs to be flooded:
- To remove any air pockets
- To settle the soil around the roots
- To help with transplant shock
We added a small pond to our garden and fish water is nutrient rich. Shawn painted the bio filter to look like bamboo and the input hose is easily removed to pump pond water to pots or into a watering can. I refill the pond two ways:
- rain water from the rain barrels
- condensation drip from the air conditioner
Mr. Hosta is now settled in his new home … until we decide to move him to another location.
Working in the garden is a peaceful time for me and my mind usually considers the Original Gardener. Genesis 2:8 tells us, “The Lord God planted a garden …”
Now there’s a Gardener who knows what He’s doing!