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Janice Wells: Fridges and flowers

I’m writing my column right now because I am afraid of my fridge. It desperately needs to be cleaned out and I admit that this is the worst it has ever been.

I’m not even talking about the state of the shelves or the bottom of the drawers. How can I; I haven’t seen them for weeks. I should have known what was happening when I went to get a shower cap (bowl covers) and they were all in use.

You know the situation is really out of control (or you’re having a breakdown) when you have fleeting thoughts of things crawling out towards you from the back of a shelf and you know you’re just trying to diffuse the situation with humour, but nothing about your fridge is funny.

Cleaning out the fridge is not something you do on a nice day. On a nice day you work in the garden and you like saying “work” because if you’re busy working at something else you certainly can’t feel guilty about not cleaning out the fridge.

This is Wednesday. Yesterday was fit for the garden, plus I knew it was supposed to rain today and I wanted to transplant some things so yesterday was the day.

I can’t remember what my excuse was on Monday. It wasn’t shovelling the driveway, quite, but who can face something growing in the fridge when it’s snowing on June 4?

I’m gearing myself up for this afternoon by thinking about the good days forecast for Thursday and Friday and because I have totally run out of excuses, unless Daughter #2 has her baby, in which case, now that I think about it, is a reason why I really should get it done before all the excitement starts.

Fun work

However, for the rest of this morning I will write about the fun work, gardening, which is hard work but much more enjoyable than cleaning out the fridge.

(In fact, yesterday when I was on my knees spending a couple of hours engaging in very tough tugs of war with Norway maple offspring, the thought actually crossed my mind that I could have been on my knees on the kitchen floor and be done in 15 minutes without working up a sweat).   

Every gardener knows it’s not about work. It’s about the kind of work you’re doing and where you are doing it; being part of something much more magnificent than housekeeping and being outdoors.

Anyway, that’s my story and I‘m sticking to it.

Yesterday I was transplanting poppies to try to save them from being devoured by goutweed and mown down by Newman. Last week I cleared goutweed to make a place to put them, but of course I had to go over it again this week because the goutweed was on its way back.

These are some kind of small double red oriental poppies that have spread around one wild section of the garden. They don’t transplant well. Last year I moved three. One has survived. Earlier in the spring I did three more and two have survived. Yesterday I did six. If I get three to survive I’ll be happy.

Over the winter I lost two out of eight newly planted roses and three new foxgloves. Who loses foxgloves? Maybe they’re in the fridge. Ha ha.

Out of the remaining six roses, four are thriving and two are somewhat pitiful. The best one is an Explorer climber in the most exposed spot on the property. Go figure. Maybe I’ll move the pitiful ones to worse places. I’ve already moved two clematis and they’re doing well. There’s a third one that I plan to move but I can’t find it even though I look every day. I didn’t even know it was there until late in the season last year when I stumbled across it blooming. Soon, I hope, it will straggle its way above the goutweed and I’ll swoop.

Congratulations to Linda Ryan who has been appointed by The Canadian Garden Council as Garden Days Champion for Newfoundland and Labrador. It's her job to spread the word about our nation's annual celebration of gardens and I can’t think of a better person to do it.

I guess its fridge time. I’m out of excuses.

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. She can be reached at

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