“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

Indeed. Anybody with one eye and half sense knows our stinky hot summer days are not conducive to success in planting woody things. But when temptation is aroused at, say, some plant sale, then we join P.T. Barnum’s plethora of suckers that are born every minute and we just simply can’t help ourselves. 

You’ve read here of the disastrous windstorm that felled much of our woodland and some of the garden proper as well a few weeks ago, so I am going to try not to dwell on it, but just to say that I, with a multitude of sawlogs lying yet unbothered, have no business buying more plants. So, what have I done? Buy more plants. 

The plants I bought won’t replace 150-year-old oaks that lie askew. In fact, there is no replacing them at all, in one lifetime or even three or four. That is a given. 

But hydrangeas are a horse of another color. The storm got a few of ours, but there remain a few virgin spots where even more could go in. Same thing with a few other things. 

Enter Jason Reeves and Carol Reese et al.  A few weeks ago the Summer Celebration conferences and plant sale were held at the Jackson ornamental garden facilities of the UT agricultural station, where Jason and Carol and a multitude of others engineer the wingding every July. I went with the expectation of getting a few plants for other people and maybe a wee perennial or so for me. 

The Madison County Master Gardeners have the plant sale, with proceeds going to some of their volunteer projects. They provide wagons, large and small, for customers to put their goodies in before checking out. I selected a small wagon, saying to myself I was going to limit my purchases. 

My most important objective was a yellow dawn redwood tree, which plant stands out all summer with golden foliage. I rushed in to get one before they were all gone, and succeeded. It will go in on the lawn of First Baptist Church in memory of my mother and father. 

Before I checked out, however, I kept pining for a shrub here, an ornamental grass there, and on ad infinitum. 

I was in our car, not my pickup, and when my small wagon was bulging out of its seams, I unloaded it into a waiting area and later managed to squeeze all my wares into the car trunk, back seat and even the passenger side of the front seat. 

And here it is August, hotter than the Bad Place, and no reasonable letup until at least September. Planting, particularly outside the zone of my irrigation, is chancy, to say the least. 

Who thinks of practicality when temptation rears its head? Unlike some other kinds of temptation, in the present case it only takes one fool to tango. 

Long story short. Our car, loaded as it was, got me and the plants safely home. The tonnage was dutifully unloaded and watered carefully. 

A few of those hydrangeas are in the ground, but scads of other things I had no business getting yet reside in their pots. I’ll probably be watering them every day until about the middle of October. 


JIMMY WILLIAMS is the garden writer for The Post-Intelligencer, where he can be contacted on Monday mornings at 642- 1162.

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