From the Digest

A Summer to Remember

By Mike Hellmann (June 2020)

Well, how many of you were hauling in plants on Friday, May 8, right before Mother Nature tossed another round of March weather at us? I know there were more of you lugging plants in than just me.

Yes, I did “the dance” that evening. It was worth it, since it was good exercise and allowed me to sleep better. Fortunately, I only had about a third of my plants out at that time. We’re now on another warming trend, so hopefully the plants will stay there this time, and only summer weather will be ahead of us. I’d do it again, though. It’s just what we do … kind of like having a second spring!

Summer looks bleak at this point. We’re all canceling vacations while also trying to get back to work and adjusting to a myriad of changes that we never saw ourselves having to address. No sports, concerts or special events (such as our show and sale). Besides that, there is the “unknown” looming ahead of us. Where will we be later this summer, later this fall, next year, etc. No one knows.

Even though you have to look hard to find them, there are some positive aspects of this current pandemic. While it’s very concerning, for some reason, I feel we’ll get back to some sense of normal sooner than later. Yes, I am the eternal optimist, and it takes a lot to shake me up. While concerned, I believe some time soon we’ll be looking back at this and perhaps appreciating some of the positives that came from it. I hope that people are kinder, not just to each other, but to the environment, as well.

We’ve been killing Mother Earth for quite some time, and now, after all have been humbled and perhaps forced to pay attention to and appreciate simple things such as nature, plants, animals, etc., they’ll appreciate these gifts more. Perhaps even help in the efforts to preserve and protect them.

In the immediate future, I plan to take advantage of this “stay at home” time and put it to good use. Those of you who know me know I’m a homebody. I have a lot going on here with which I can keep myself entertained for quite some time.

The collection of plants is in dire need of repotting. Labels are lost on some, and a one-by-one inspection is in order for May and June. The greenhouse was peppered with hail back in late March, so I need to reskin the entire structure. That’ll be fun.

I’m also thinking about setting up a fertilization system that automatically feeds and adjusts for pH out of a stock tank every time I water. I have the injector and all that I need, so I can no longer justify making excuses not to follow through with this project. And there is more. Lots more.

I’m bulging at the seams regarding greenhouse space. So, I’ll need to find a way to liquidate some of my collection since the show and sale, as we know it, will not happen this year. I know I’m not alone. Perhaps we can come up with an outdoor, club-only plant sale where we can sell/barter some of our sale plants.

This would be a nice opportunity if it were set up safely, and current circumstances made it a viable option. Nothing planned yet … just tossing it out there. The member forum can serve this same purpose with pictures and descriptions posted for members to consider. Logistics then could be determined by those involved in individual transactions.

Already I’m finding myself actually just strolling in the yard, sitting down by one of the koi ponds or wandering around the plants just looking and enjoying. Typically, I’m in a rush – with so many things on my agenda for the evening or the short two-day weekend. Trying to cram everything I need to do into my free time left little to no time to actually enjoy the things I work so hard at creating and maintaining.

I know this is a difficult time for all. Please take time to catch up on things, create projects and enjoy what you have around you. Hopefully, when we finally step out of this pandemic, the world will be a better place. At least we can always hope. That’s me, the eternal optimist.