Friday, July 11, 2008

Gardener's Nightmare!

What do you suppose my dear husband could say to me that would completely ruin my Monday?

Try this: "Honey, they're going to paint the roofs this afternoon".

My reaction: An immediate sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I had planned a nice, productive afternoon in the garden. Ha!

The collective roofs includes the barn and several outbuildings, plus the 2 houses on the farm.
Every summer a crew works their way up from South Carolina doing painting jobs from state to state.

There's no warning. They just show up, negotiate a price, and go to work.

It's been 13 years since we had the buildings painted, and it shows. The barn and sheds need to be done, but it's very expensive so they'll have to wait. However the roofs were rusting, and it's easier and less costly to have them painted than to replace them, so DH agreed to have it done. This meant we had to move all the window boxes, containers, hanging baskets and anything else I wanted to protect from paint specks.

Now picture this: My gardens are blooming madly...roses, clematis, lilies...all sorts of beautiful blooms, in beds all around the house, and by the shed opposite the back door. In my mind's eye I could see them liberally speckled with silver aluminum paint and/or crushed under careless feet. The men assured me, "Oh don't worry about your flowers Ma'am, we'll cover them up".
I was skeptical, to say the least.

This fellow had absolutely no fear of heights. He made climbing and walking around on the roofs look like it was the easiest thing in the world!

The pink garden on the corner of the shed opposite the back door had been looking particularly pretty, with roses, snapdragons and a dahlia blooming beautifully beside a large pink-flowered spirea bush. Those poor plants were under the plastic for hours, being cooked by the heat and humidity (temperatures reached into the 90's/32ยบ+C), and battered by the plastic.

'Change of Heart', planted just last fall, was bearing her first 2 blooms.

'Wild Blue Yonder' had a cluster of gorgeous blooms. Posted by Picasa

The lovely 'Sea Pearl' had opened fully, as you can see in the wider shot above, and had faded to a softer shade than this vibrant coral it begins with. Posted by Picasa

This pretty dahlia, 'Park Princess', was given to me by my friend, Marie. It was beaten mercilessly, but survived better than the roses, which were looking very sad at the end of the day.

Do you see the plastic "covering" the tall Golden Glow plants growing behind one of DH's fences beside the shed? (click the link if you'd like to see them blooming last September). This is typical of the promised cover, and one of the more successful attempts. The wind was whipping that plastic around crazily, and keeping it in place was next to impossible.
I was having a very bad day....and they hadn't started on the house roof yet!

When they finally did, the bad day became even worse!

I must give the men credit for at least trying to keep the plastic over the flowers (although one of them was very cranky about it), but with the wind fighting against them it was a losing battle for the most part.

The orange Asiatic lily was looking spectacular.

But now it's a little worse for wear. Posted by Picasa

Clematis Carnaby has been putting on her best show ever, but now she's speckled with silver.

Notice how the blooms fade with time.

They start out this lovely color...... Posted by Picasa

......and fade to a lighter shade. Here's a picture taken the day before the paint job. Posted by Picasa

And after.

Could we perhaps imagine this as fairy dust? It actually looks rather pretty then, doesn't it?

Covering the Jackmanii Clematis was a challenge because of its height, but the men managed to get the plastic up over it, with a little extra encouragement from me ;) The wind blew the plastic away from the center of the garden, but I was relieved to see that the Jackmanii fared quite well.

This sweet pink rose somehow managed to escape with just the leaves being spotted.

Queen Elizabeth kept a few buds tightly closed until the next day, so here she is with 3 out of 6 unspoiled blooms....a small victory!

Mr. Lincoln is not quite as perfect as he was on Sunday. Posted by Picasa

I was chatting with the boss in the shade of a tree, watching the proceedings, and he said, "If a little paints gets on the flowers Ma'am, it won't stick. They don't make paint to stick to flowers. It'll wear right off in a few days".
He obviously hasn't hung around for a few days to see if this does indeed happen.
It doesn't.

The hostas took a real beating. No one bothered to cover them up.

The spectacula Gloriosa Daisies began blooming just recently. Some of them didn't fare too well.

The gardens on the north side of the house weren't covered either, and ended up quite paint spattered.

But new blooms will replace the old after a while, and we'll be left with just speckled leaves.

This patch of Sweet William has been blooming for weeks, lasting much longer than several other clumps. It looked pretty with the sun drops (evening primrose) and foxglove. DH and I remarked several times about its longevity and how lovely it was. It got stomped on and is looking rather sad now. Posted by Picasa

Most of the time during the painting of the house roof I stayed inside because I couldn't bear to see the potential damage being done. The heat and humidity were getting to me, and I needed to vent, so I sat down at the computer and wrote a despairing e-mail to my dear blog friend, Alice.

We sometimes chat using Skype, a free downloadable program which allows users to talk over the internet free of charge. In the early evening I heard the familiar noise coming from my computer speakers. It was sweet Alice calling to commiserate with me. She said her husband, Richard wanted to know what color the roofs were being painted, and she thought that was worth a phone call :) We had a good chuckle. What a pick-me-up that was - just what the doctor ordered! Thank you Alice!

Aren't blog friends wonderful?

Here's what the pink garden looked like this morning. Only one drooping rose bloom remains. The spirea flower clusters are turning brown, but the dahlia is still holding her slightly tattered head high.

The gardens around the side porch are actually looking quite good, and the damage is hardly noticeable, as long as we stand far enough away so that we can't see the silver specks of paint.

Tuesday was a much better day.....and the roofs look good! :) Posted by Picasa


Terri said...[Reply]

I was just saying to myself..."it could be fairy dust" when you used those same words yourself.
Your garden is lovely silver dappling or no.
God bless.

Karen said...[Reply]

Sigh, that deletion was me, because I had a minor little typo in my comment. I should have just left it as it was.

Your gardens certainly are beautiful, even with a little "fairy dust" here and there.

My husband and I talk on Skype when he is travelling. It's nice to use the video feature and be able "see" each other while we are apart.

Lisa at Greenbow said...[Reply]

Oh Kerri, what a mess. I have heard of black spots on Roses but not silver ones. tee hee...Really, I can tell you were very disturbed by all this. Your garden looks lovely even though it has been through a terrible ordeal. I hope you are feeling better by now. Funny that the foreman had the right answer to say to you. I am sure he has used that line many times before.

Debbie said...[Reply]

Kerri, I'm sure it was all very stressful, but your gardens are absolutely gorgeous!

I'm glad they faired pretty well and you have nice freshly painted roofs.

PEA said...[Reply]

Hello dear Kerri:-)

Oh dear, I can see why you were worried when you heard the roof painters were coming over! I guess flowers are the least of their worries and that's why they don't cover them very well or don't cover them at all!! So much work goes into maintaining a garden, though, it's got to be very upsetting to see the flowers all speckled with paint and/or wilted from being under the plastic. I think it DOES look like faerie dust though! hehe

Glad to hear that you were able to chat with Alice...blogging friends are indeed wonderful:-) xoxo

Alice said...[Reply]

Richard actually wanted to know if you got to choose the colour, Kerri. But I guess you weren't even given that option - and what else could they be but silver. I guess the painters weren't quite up to painting flowers on the roof too?

Plants really are amazing though. With a drink and a few nice days, they will be as good as new. Trust me - I'm a gardener - although not as good as you.

It was lovely to talk to you again, and I'm glad it cheered you up.

Is Ross out of the bad books yet?

Titania said...[Reply]

Kerri, while I was looking at your garden, many Ohhs left my lips I couldn't help myself. I can just imagine how you felt. But, look at the bright side, the roofs are painted now and you can enjoy your pretty garden again, some silver spots will disappear in time and you know youself how resilient the plants are.The roses and the dahlias will bloom again and the hostas with the silver painted leaves, well... it could be worse!
The garden still looks good.

Apple said...[Reply]

Ouch! It's a wonder things did as well as they did. Just having the men on the roofs would have made me a nervous wreck. Take a deep breath and remind yourself you don't have to worry about this again for 10+ years. I hope everything recovers quickly, especially your roses. I just had our contractor here to talk about residing the house. He's ready now, I told him we'd wait until fall! I don't know what our roof is made out of and I hope it never needs painting. Brown could not be passed off as fairy dust :(

Elzie said...[Reply]

Oh my!
I can understand you didn't jump for joy when you realized this was going to happen. All your lovely flowers!!! But they do look nice even with some paint on them LOL.
Hope you have a great Saturday.
Love Elzie

Northern Shade said...[Reply]

How frustrating to have the unexpected variegated foliage. Of course it's obvious that they're not gardeners, when they don't think a hosta is even a flower to be covered.
The last photo shows how pretty your garden still looks. With any luck, the splatters will wear away and the new foliage will cover the rest.

squire said...[Reply]

Not exactly where I thought this post was going but you know how I am.
As usual, your flowers are lovely.

verobirdie said...[Reply]

Oh Kerri, I understand how nervous and frustrated you have been.
Do think of the silver spot as fairy dust. I'm sure in a couple of days, the paint will have vanished from the flowers.
BTW, no wonder Queen Elisabeth was one to resist well :-)
You did not tell us how the cats have dealt with the roof painting?

Annie in Austin said...[Reply]

Kerri, when I saw the words "roof" & "painters" the likelihood that all would go well seemed very slim.... but I was thinking of them as two separate operations. Just "Roof" alone is enough to make even the strongest gardener quail!

One advantage of your Northern clime is that most of your beauties are deciduous and/or die back in winter, so you'll be starting with fresh foliage next spring.

The previous owner had our house painted to spruce it up before putting it on the market and the splatters of white paint lasted on the evergreen boxwood and hollies for years.

Maybe some of your flowers will outgrow the splashed parts?

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Hillside Garden said...[Reply]

Oh my poor Kerri, that is realy bad, bad , bad! I know how you are feeling. I allways say to Mr. Wonderful, when it is need to paint the house, we make it by our self!


kate smudges said...[Reply]

Hi Kerri,

All those silver speckles make your flowers look as if they are off to a ball - I'm so sorry that the roof painting had to happen when your garden was bursting with blooms. I love your Clematis - the purple blooms are gorgeous and so plentiful. The Carnaby clematis is also cool - I love the way it fades with age.

I don't think any work can get done in the garden like this or tree pruning without damage ... at least you've minimised it!

It was fun to see all that you have in bloom at this time of year. Summer's a wonderful time.

Needled Mom said...[Reply]

How frustrating to have to deal with all of that. I guess we could just call it fairy dust and let it go, but all that work and love that you put into your gorgeous flowers is hard to brush off. I do hope that he is right and it disappears in a few days. I still have paint on a plumeria branch from 4 years ago.

Barbee' said...[Reply]

Oh, Kerri, I'm so sorry! I remember what it was like when we had our shingle roof replaced. They had to scrape off all the old, and of course it slid and dropped off breaking things below, and I didn't have nearly as nice or as many plants as you. I'm sure you were distraught. Their timing couldn't have been worse. Glad it's over, and now for the healing... for both you and your flowers :) I bet the roofs look great.

guild-rez said...[Reply]

Hi Kerry,
lovely pictures, but flowers and plants covered with paint is a terrible sight.
Recently our shingle roof had to be replaced. The roofer build structures over the flowerbeds around the house to protect the flowers. In front of our house I removed all Hosta and other plants to allow access to the roof.
After the work was completed I found nails and small roof shingle pieces but no major damage.

In the meantime I have created a new flowerbed in front of the house.
Cheers from Canada.

Layanee said...[Reply]

I have a garden which I call "Best from far away". I'll bet the little spots don't even show from a distance! I can feel the sinking feeling you experienced when you were told the painters were coming! That corner garden is a delight! Also, thank you for listening to the radio show with Pam as guest! Isn't she great?! I so enjoyed speaking with her about gardening and I know we would have loads to talk about if we actually meet some day.

Mountain Mama said...[Reply]

I can only imagine your dissappointment. It's so much hard work to maintain our gardens, then to have something like this happen. How discouraging.
However I do want to say that your flowers are beautiful dispite the silver 'glitter' they were spotted with. And remember that you won't have to do this again for a few years.

Zoey said...[Reply]

OH, Kerri, how heart breaking! I am glad they rebounded the next day. I must say that purple clematis does look quite nice with the silver specks!

Pam/Digging said...[Reply]

The clematis speckled with silver paint looks somewhat like a Xmas decoration.

I'm sorry about the mess though. I had my roof replaced last fall and worried about the garden, though it ended up faring well. Yours will look good as new soon too.

CountryGirl said...[Reply]

I would not have been happy either! I'm glad they at least tried to protect your blooms. Your gardens still look fabulous!

Inland Empire Girl said...[Reply]

I would not have been a happy gardener... but you did capture some interesting pictures, especially the silver spotted clematis!!

Kylie said...[Reply]

I'm so glad the roofs are painted! Good for Dad for getting it done. It's a nasty job. Sorry you've got silvery plants from it, but they really do look quite pretty.

Beth said...[Reply]

I feel your pain! We had our decks stained last year and it absolutely ruined my Annabelle hydrangeas - one plant never did really recover. But I guess it's one of those necessary evils. Your plants still look beautiful despite some paint!

Barbara said...[Reply]

Oh dear! I do understand your feelings as we had almost the same nightmare last Spring when our house was painted outside. My hostas then just came out, my peonies etc. and I told the painters to take care when they fixed the scaffolding. But they didn't...I lost various plants because they were trampled on... But may I say that even with all those silver spots, your garden looks great and beautiful!

LindaD said...[Reply]

I'm so sorry - but I've learned here how quickly things recover. After my two days of crying when the electric company pruned our trees.. they grew back beautifully this year and my pineapple even bore its fruit and ripened with the additional sun. All things do work out for the best. My husband was a painter for 25 years and still have a huge pile of canvas tarps. when we did a house we did one section at a time, covering bushes, grass, etc.. but never for very long periods... I can certainly feel your stomach!

Absolutely beautiful inspiring gardens. I'm not sure that Florida can boast anything like yours..

I've missed reading your 'blog'.