Gardening at the Book Shop

Dear Liza,

Our new house doesn’t have much of a garden, but today I got to do some serious digging, transplanting, and watering.

Auntie Katie’s new shop, Books with Pictures, has sidewalks on two long sides of her building. Since it is on an acute angle corner, the look of these sidewalks has a lot to do with the look of the shop.

Before Auntie Katie bought the building, it was owned by an elderly fellow who had trouble keeping up on the maintenance. There was also a new optical cable installed, and the installation played havoc with the plants that were there. So what I started with this morning was two out of three pots totally empty, and a large planting area that was dead weeds.

First, I watered. The lavender, rosemary and spirea bushes that were in the space had been neglected. Pruning and water, and a little digging to loosen the soil, will help them back to their happy place.

Next, that huge space full of dead grass needed to be raked and pulled… tedious work. Then it needed the hard soil broken up and amended, and watered to get it ready for new plants.

These new plants were the easy thing. Dozens of mints shoots had come up under the maple tree, and just needed to be dug up and set into the newly dug, damp soil. This was messy, but fairly easy. The green bits that stick up are only about half of the transplants! Mint grows so well from roots that I buried a bunch, knowing they will be up within a week. A little bark mulch to pretty it up, and that job was done.

Little comets for Kestrel’s party game

Then it was lunch time. I made quesadillas for Cousins Jasper and Kestrel, and had some myself. It felt so good to sit down! While we were sitting down, Kestrel and I figured out the rules to the bean bag game she invented for her birthday party this weekend. She wanted comets, so I sewed some… now we have the rules written down. More on that later…

Once I had caught my breath, it was time for the last gardening chore. There was a trash can in the back, filled with hostas. This shade loving plant was new to me when I moved to Portland last year. They are beautiful perennials with impressive leaves, and popular all over Portland.

Kestrel helped me remove the dry and damaged leaves from the plants, then held the can down while I pried the hostas out, and helped me carry them to their new home. I had dug four holes under the maple and set the newly divided hostas in, watering them while Cousin Kestrel gave them words of encouragement.

After putting the tools away and hosing off, I was all done in. I asked Grandpa Nelson to come fetch me and I went home to eat. Friday evening was First Friday at SideStreetArts, but it was going to be a crowded show and we will go see it another time.

This week, Friday was for staying in! Go Giants!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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