I, SUSIE, THOUGHT OUR HOT WEATHER HAD BROKEN WHEN I SCHEDULED TODAY’S WORK MORNING. My hopeful belief was proved completely wrong as it is currently 91 deg. F in the shade, and it was plenty hot all morning. So my gratitude to the hardy Gardeners who came to BuxMont this morning and cheerfully worked until close to collapse is all the stronger.
Ken was the first to arrive and took on the job of suppressing pawpaw suckers. First Ken and Susie had to gather up the pawpaw fruits that had fallen overnight. The imperfect ones have been discarded for animals in our back dumping area, but a large number were taken home by Gardeners and more will be available during coffee hour tomorrow. Ken spent the whole morning crawling around between trees and shrubs cutting off suckers and dabbing them with SuckerStop (a hormonal preparation used in California orange groves). Ken was also a big help at clean-up time in hauling tarps of debris.
Next, Ken and I were delighted to welcome a new Marion (Marion R.) to the BuxMont Gardens. Marion R. has just moved from the Poconos to this area and is looking to get involved at BuxMont. She also had to abandon a five-year-old perennial garden that she had created and is anticipating needing a gardening outlet. Marion immediately started right in with scouring the upper island bed in the Celebration Garden for the relatively few remaining weeds. (We hand-weeded there about a month ago and then followed up with spray when it was so hot.) Most of this bed was never mulched in the spring, in contrast to the rest of the Celebration Garden. John volunteered to arrive later in the day to mulch if we could prepare it during the morning.
Adrienne soon joined Marion in removing weed-dregs around the perimeter. At least half this time, Adrienne and Marion were were in direct sun, which was brutal. When they finished the bed, they each took some pawpaw fruits home and staggered off to rehydrate and rest.
Mid-morning, Marion T. and Melissa arrived. Marion T. followed up the weed removal work by sprinkling the upper island bed with corn gluten meal pre-emergent weed preventer. This also involved working in the hot sun over a large area. But by the time John arrived, Marion T. had completed most of this bed, so it was ready for mulching.
Melissa has worked in the Gardens fairly often and recognizes many of our typical weeds. She was game to crawl around under shrubs and trees to locate the woody weeds that hide next to the trunks of desired plants. She used the cut-and-dab with 20% glyphosate method to eradicate these, pulling out a lot of viney foliage as well. She finally terminated a particularly annoying young ash tree that has been invading one of the roses for several years.
John joined us around 11 a.m. after his exercise class and after prudently eating lunch. He worked until about 1:15 p.m. and hauled and spread 12 wheelbarrowloads of mulch. Since the mulch had to be hauled around 150′, that is a major accomplishment in the extreme heat. ***Follow-up Note: John came back in the evening to finish mulching that entire upper island bed in the Celebration Garden. That meant he hauled another 22 wheelbarrow loads, and spread them, all by himself. Thank you, John, for an effort none of the rest of us could have carried out.
I (Susie) scurried around helping a little bit with each task and trying to answer questions. A bucket of pawpaws will come back to BuxMont tomorrow morning for the congregation to take home and enjoy.
THANKS SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO WORKED THIS MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON!! You did amazing work especially given the extreme heat.