Maybe some people come home from their full time jobs and put in a couple hours of gardening before dinner. I am not one of them. I have to hope for a weekend window where I can – as quickly as possible – put out the fires, fill in the gaps, and address the most egregious chronic problems in my urban landscape, which includes damp shade beds, dry shade beds, part-sun beds, a pond and lots of containers. 

As quickly as possible, because I don’t really want to spend the whole weekend scrabbling around in the dirt either. Large shrubs are helpful and I have quite a number. But I love the color the container plantings provide. I also use them for bulbs in spring and summer; they serve as a type of cutting garden that remains attractive even with the removals.

As for perennials, they must be vigorous and willing to compete where they are. I don’t have time to divide things and move them around. 

This lack of time used to bother me. It’s helped that once every spring, we have a layer of compost/mulch added and it helps more that everything is pretty dense by this time. Aside from regularly pulling small incursions of bindweed, there’s not room for major weed attacks.

And now climate change has stepped in. This week, in the middle of June, in Buffalo, it will actually be too hot to do very much. I never thought that would happen here and I suppose Texas or Arizona gardeners will scoff at my calling temps in the ‘90s too hot to work outside – for very long, anyway.

This is when working in a climate-controlled office is a boon. And I always have plenty of shade, so when I get home, I can sit with an ice-cold whatever and enjoy whatever happens to be looking halfway decent that day.

Right now I am enjoying explosions of clematis and rodgersia, variegated foliage geraniums, and oakleaf hydrangeas. Last week was all about roses, an unknown red climber and David Austin Lady of Shalott, mainly. Both seemed early. 

Manic Saturday nursery runs and 2-3 hours spent over Sat-Sun to plant, pull, amend and rearrange seem enough to keep all this in order. Thankfully, my retired husband has also stepped in. 

Never having been able to give much time to the garden, I do wonder what will happen when I have more time available. Somehow, I think old habits will prevail. More than 25 years of thinking of a garden as a place to hang out will have set a strong precedent.

Which is fine by me.