Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Never again will I mind being woken up...

Hey everyone.
A belated post about something that happened on April 23rd;
A sunny Saturday afternoon, one of the first real days of spring. We were out at the Meditation Garden fixing up our rose bed.

Note, when planting roses, or planting anything in raised beds, we learnt:
> The deeper the soil in your bed, the more drainage - the soil will get drier, faster. Know the root profile and soil preferences of what you plant to help determine how deep the soil should be.
> If the bed doesn't have sturdy walls that extend to the top of the bed, as soon as heavy weather comes the soil will leach down and settle lower than you intended.
Our soil was in a heap about 3 1/2 feet high - way too much for our roses. Also, the stone wall surrounding it had gaps and was only about 1 ft high at most. 

When we came to fix it, half of the wall was actually submerged in soil that had settled since the autumn. In our case, this meant 3 of our 5 rose bushes had from a quarter to almost a half of their roots exposed. I'm amazed the plants are alive after spending the winter like that! 

Continuing with the story... Pauline and I are shoveling away, removing soil from the bed so that we could level it, have the roses lower, and build a good retaining wall. We've removed a good amount of soil, and I'm shoveling into about a 2 ft deep pile, pretty indiscriminately without giving much guidance to where the shovel goes.
When, the shovelful that I've just thrown in the wheelbarrow catches my eye and when I look back, I realize! Somehow with the sharp blade of the shovel I've scooped up and out a hibernating toad, who is now blinking, startled and thrust into the spring sunshine.
He spent about half an hour with us gathering his wits before Pauline wheeled him over to our bed with Egyption onions and 1000 year old tobacco, where he leaped off and scuttled amongst the rocks.
Moral: what is wrong for the plants (i.e. a huge pile of soil) is probably not wrong for all the other organisms that like these habitats (toads, beetles, and worms to name a few)
And a personal moral: I have now given the most abrupt wake-up call I've ever witnessed (picked up and thrown, along with your bed, 4 feet through the air after sleeping for 5 months?) and in the future have no right to complain if I'm woken up as abruptly.
For lack of pictures I'd like to give you this link where you can check out our first youtube video (completely unrelated):

Happy planting!