Gardening, we have discovered, is as much an art as it is a science.
And my wife is certainly creative when it comes to laying the groundwork for me to cooperate in her schemes.
The latest venture was to acquire a couple of peach trees, but inevitably it fell upon me to plow through the preliminary spadework.
First, I had to move all the vegetable containers away from the house and place them closer to the protective fence.
This, my wife explained, would provide more sun for her darlings.
It was no simple procedure, as the containers were large, heavy and, like me, resistant to change.
That left room, between the dormant vegetable containers and the house, for the planting of the peach trees.
The peach trees, as you might surmise, were no shrubs.
They were at least 10 feet tall and, in transporting them from a Uvalde nursery to The Place in Utopia, were reverently covered with a tied-down tarp to protect every leaf and flower.
I managed to lug the heavy trees, buckets and all, to the safety of the covered porch where they awaited favorable weather and a cooperative son-in-law.
For, as usual with us, it was all a matter of bad timing.
We got the trees just days before a hard frost, so we had to protect them with sheets until favorable weather and company arrived.
My wife, as is her wont, was perfectly splendid in marshalling her reluctant troops when the planting day finally arrived.
She told us where and how to dig the holes that would house her trees, even brandishing about a measuring tape to ensure maximum attention to detail.
The holes, my wife insisted, had to be at least 20 inches deep and 15 inches around.
Even though we have excellent soil in the gardening section of the yard, digging those holes turned out to be a very labor-intensive exercise. My son-in-law and I would take a break from digging to stand up, wipe the sweat from our eyes and beseech a measuring check.
“Just a couple more inches,” my wife would always respond.
When we got the holes deep enough, she pointed out that 15 inches around was as vital at the bottom of the hole as at the top.
So we spaded and spaded, making sure that the hole did not narrow as it deepened, knowing full well that my wife would not hesitate to minutely measure our progress. We finally got the trees in the ground and even formed moats around them to ensure the not-so-little darlings would retain as much water as possible.
Then, little by little, we acquired squash, pepper, tomato, green bean and other seedlings to populate the container garden.
They have a snug home now, thanks to the fence to protect them from predators, the rain tank to quench their thirst and enough compost to fertilize a farm. Now all we have to do is wait for the plants and my wife’s face to bloom with joy.