Friday, October 18, 2019

Overwhelmed

The title of this post pretty much sums up my current state.  As work on our ongoing home remodel speeds up, my work in the garden is subject to unexpected interruptions and complications.  Last week we discovered a badly corroded gas line on one side of the house.  As it turns out, replacing it isn't simple.  Plants have been trimmed back.  Others have been removed.  Still others, including the rose that climbed the face of our master bedroom chimney, are at risk.

North side of the house as photographed in late June 2018


I couldn't duplicate the prior shot as there's a storage pod, port-a-potty and dumpster in the way but here are some close-ups.

My husband and a member of the construction crew dug a trench around the house's northwest perimeter, ending just short of the Leucadendron 'Wilson's Wonder' (shown in the prior photo to the left of the chimney).  I'll be sad if the climbing rose and Phormium have to go but I'll be devastated if the Leucadendron I brought with me from my former garden has to be removed.


After a couple of delays, the plumber arrived on site this morning.  Upon first view, I overheard him say "this is a (profanity deleted) nightmare."  Twice!  However, he and his crew are still here so I guess they haven't thrown in the trowel yet.  In other news, the crew currently plastering our living room fireplace just spilled blue epoxy on the porous driveway...

Most of the exterior painting was completed yesterday and we've begun to move items that had been deposited in the garden back into place, freeing up some space.  There's still a lot of clean-up required but I made a small start last night.

My work bench hasn't looked this neat in years.  How long I'll keep it looking like this is an open question.


I'd like to get back to work on the bromeliad bed I started renovating a month ago using stone saved when our indoor barbecue was dismantled but there's a lot of junk I need to move back behind the garage so I can maneuver. 

Meanwhile, the area is a depository for plants I dug up when I pulled the bed apart, as well as new plants I've accumulated but have yet to find homes for

All that junk on the left in this photo needs to be tucked away or recycled to free up work space


In the meantime, I'm accumulating plants faster than I can get them in the ground.  I managed to get the last of those purchased during my trip to Ventura County 2 weeks ago planted this week but I picked up more last weekend at South Coast Botanic Garden's Fall Festival and those are still awaiting placement.  And then there are the recent deliveries...

My haul from the Fall Festival includes a Lasagna fern (Asplenium nidus), a noID Campanula, 2 Euphorbia lactea, and a xMangave 'Pineapple Express'

Gerhard Bock of Succulents & More picked up a few more xMangaves for me at University of California, Davis's fall plant sale

One of 2 recent bulb deliveries


There also may be a delivery slated to arrive today.  Time to stop blogging and start working!  Best wishes for a pleasant weekend.


All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


24 comments:

  1. Commiserations on your overwhelmed state. We had a large family room added on to our previous home when we lived in Massachusetts, and I remember the chaos surrounding that build. We ended up with big chunks of dumped concrete curing in the garden in various spots. Never had the possibility of a gas link from corrosion, I can see that being a nightmare, like the guy said. Scary!

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    1. I think I've just used up my store of patience, Alison. We passed the 4 month mark originally set by our contractor this week and I'm simply tired. The contractor is pushing the schedule now, which I appreciate, but I'd have preferred it if he'd maintained a good pace from the beginning. The gas line problem wasn't directly related to the construction project so I can't blame him for that but, if HGTV is to be believed, unplanned complications should be expected. The good news is that the gas line has been replaced. The bad news is there's an even larger trench still open in my garden. I couldn't even bring myself to examine the collateral damage closely this evening.

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  2. Oh boy, my stress levels would be through the roof in your situation! I'm feeling similarly overwhelmed in the past week by what needs to be done both in and out of the garden, but I feel rather wimpy now that I've read your post. Fingers crossed your Leucadendron will not become a casualty of the repairs.

    On a positive note, that is an amazing work bench - I want one!

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    1. The Leucadendron, the rose and the Phormium avoided disaster, although I can say that for everything in the path of that trench, which still hasn't been filled in. The work bench originally belong to my late mother-in-law so, in addition to being useful, it has some sentimental value.

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  3. Despite the chaos there is a silver lining to your reno as the corroded gas line might not have been found until something terrible happened. Hang in there, it's almost done.

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    1. That's true about the gas line and I am thankful for its discovery, Elaine - even if it did add to the stress factor around here.

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  4. Here's hoping the plumbing guys can fix the issue without disrupting the Leucadendron, and that by some miracle the blue epoxy can be cleaned up. Ugh.

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    1. As my husband put it, "most" of the epoxy got cleaned up.

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  5. I think about 90% of my Mangaves came for the UC Davis plant sales the last couple of years--they always have a nice selection, and they had them before anyone else did. A corroded gas line-scary ! Sounds like more disruption in your future-I hope Wilsons Wonder is spared.

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    1. It was kind of Gerhard to offer to pick up the Mangaves and ship them - SoCal is a desert in terms of Mangaves. 'Wilson's Wonder' was spared, although the trench is still open and there's ample collateral damaged. I'm going to be on a long plant shopping spree this fall it seems, Kathy.

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  6. Oh, gosh, the list goes on and on. Who discovered the corroded gas line? I'm glad you are keeping yourself distracted with plant sales. ;) Have you decided what you are going to do to celebrate the completion of this project? Something extreme I hope!

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    1. One of the contractor's crew detected the smell of gas when they were painting and did some digging (literally). We'd had another leak in the same area earlier, promptly fixed by the plumber, but he didn't evaluate the pipe at that time. I may be too exhausted to mount a party/open house in the near-term. I may settle for a few smaller functions toasting the new kitchen.

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  7. I think you are lucky they found and fixed your gas line. It seems that every few weeks I see on the news about a house that blows up due to a gas line l.eak. Your tidy work bench looks great. Just think it won't be long an your entire garden will be neat and tidy, your build will be finished and you can enjoy the holidays without so much commotion. I am afraid I would get all cranked up about epoxy on the drive. Grrrrrr.... Drives are necessary evils and it is a bummer to have one all botched up. I like all of your mangaves and I am envious of your bulb order. Now that looks like fun.

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    1. I heard about another of those gas explosions on the news just this morning, Lisa, and I did thank our lucky stars the corrosion was discovered. It's going to be awhile before the garden is tidied up I think but I'm already chipping away at clearing the damage here and there. It could become a full-time job soon.

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  8. Oh Kris I hope that this state of affairs is soon behind you! Have fun with planting those bulbs and think of spring ((())) xxx

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    1. I planted one bulb order yesterday afternoon, Anna, just as another 2 orders arrived! I think those were the last of them but I need to get cracking.

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  9. This is the kind of post I read with half-squinted eyes, as in "let it be over soon." You are one strong human being, Kris.

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    1. I've definitely reached my overload point, Gerhard. While the finish line is in sight (sort of), I'm going to need to draw deep on my well of patience for the final stretch as the work moves into the part of the house we're living in. As to the garden, that's going to take months and months to clean up.

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  10. Deteriorating gas line!?!!?!! That is bad. Better to sacrifice some plants than to have a gas leak or worse. Hope that is resolved quickly.

    This too shall pass...and you'll have your house back soon. No, really!

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    1. The gas line did have me scared - and I wasn't reassured by the plumber's initial assessment. His crew made a mess of my plants but, once the dust clears, I guess I'm going to get to do a lot of shopping.

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  11. You're accumulating plants faster than you can get them in the ground? That made me chuckle. Good for you. Your house is pulled about, mess everywhere, plants ruined, dodgy gas lines, but you keep on plant buying. That's the spirit, keep it up.

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    1. Well, I haven't really bought anything since the gas line incident - it's just that all those prior orders are only just arriving ;)

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  12. Oh dear, in construction, "it's always something!" It interests me that the contractors always seemed surprised by these curve balls, despite the fact that I've never seen a project that didn't have some. I was once having a conversation with a contractor who was finishing up a project in December in my house that was supposed to be finished by the end of October about why he was always so far behind schedule. "I guess when you're putting together your schedule, you imagine that everything is going to go as planned," I said. "Yes," he replied," but Mr. Murphy and I are well acquainted." On a much happier note, I love the decorative tags in your pots of succulents!

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    1. While I can't claim I've walked a mile in a contractor's shoes, it strikes me that some basic project milestone plotting might keep things running closer to the projected schedule, even allowing for unexpected complications. Both my husband and I've done our share of project work in our respective corporate careers so winging things by the seat of one's pants is unnerving.

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