Garden Notes: Kale, Kale, Kale

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Stephanie Hudak

Stephanie Hudak

By Stephaine Hudak, Columnist

This week marks a year that my partner in life passed away and lots of thoughts have gone through my mind. The one that makes me laugh and will continue to bring a smile to my face is what Tom always said about shovels – “they are the tools of the devil”— he hated yard work. But he was there for me every step of the way….and no matter what I asked of him he was there to for me. Anyone who had seen us working the City containers can contest to that.

All I had to do is tell him that one of the containers was dry or in trouble and he would load up his truck with water containers and drive into town to take care of the “troubled children” as I called them.

As time has gone on I have acquired 52 “children” …containers of plants that have given joy to locals and visitors.

It has been a difficult year for the containers. Not just because Tom isn’t here but Mother Nature seemed to take a vacation break and gone to the islands.. Yikes!

How much colder can it get? I have groomed the containers and prayed over them…..then we get snow!!! I guess I didn’t pray hard enough.

So who are the survivors? Kale, Kale, Kale. But wait, let’s be clear about which kale survived without damage/ The Peacock Kale, (they are around Town Park) which I love for its brilliant purple colors did not like those low, low temperatures — burned the outer leaves…I am trusting the inner leaves will come back. But…no surprise here, Winterbor Kale is looking good and still going on.

The curly parsley is hanging on and hopefully will fill back out when the weather warns??. But the best of the best…..Viola Sorbet Lemon Chiffon……it is truly the best viola you can ever buy….it keeps on giving on even when Mother Nature kicks you in the behind.

Any of the violas did better than the pansies….they truly did not like those low temps….we can only hope they forgive us and bounce back in the warmer weather.

Not sure how the containers will do given the crazy weather we have been having….so stay tuned. Just to entertain you a bit about my past gardening life….and give you a laugh. You might think that I came out of the womb knowing all about plants…nada .

Our first home was on a tiny lot (in Norcross) where the previous owner had planted apple trees, pear trees, peach trees. fig trees, grape vines, (did I say tiny lot – get the picture) and OMG to my son’s dismay…holly bushes…he had to drag all the cuttings off to the woods…he will never, ever plant a holly bush in his yard to this day.

The owner of that house could put a stick in the ground and make it grow….I spent my days cutting back all those things.

From Norcross we moved to Greenville, North Carolina – and I missed the lovely hillsides of Atlanta. So when my neighbor put in a pool I asked for all the “dirt’ from his ten foot excavation – okay, are all you guys laughing yet.

I had my mounds, but for the next ten years I had to use a Maddox to plant a pansy to get through the primordial muck. Big lesson there.

Moved to Nashville, Tennessee…..where I grew ROCKS. Yes, my friends, I lived on a granite hill. Every day rocks grew in my yard…..what fun…seriously, the soil would sift away and every day a new rock would appear…which is really funny because when we lived in North Carolina I asked for a rock as a Christmas gift.

So now I live on what was once a cow pasture. You would think that a lot of cow “poo” would have given me heaps of fertilization and a great lawn…back to nada.

I love my neighboring cows and horses and would not trade them for anything….but now I just want some trees…and no rocks please…they are popping up everywhere.

So the end of this story is be careful what you ask for and then be thankful for what you get in life…sometimes even rocks are a good thing….and hug that special person in your life, especially the one who reluctantly, but lovingly uses that shovel to help you make your garden a special place.

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