Monday, May 23, 2011

Peonies & Concrete

So today's the day I have been dreading . . .  as a gardener that is.  For weeks I have been following the progress of the construction crews on my walks with Jackson as they install new sidewalks all around town.  I knew they would be getting to my house sometime around now, by the speed with which these guys are working. . . and of course the timing just coincides perfectly with the opening of my long awaited peony garden in the front.  Here are some pics from last year's garden.

Yes I was worried.  No matter that I've been counting the days and waiting the 11.5 months to see the amazing blooms as they unfold into magnificent riots of pinks and fuschia . . . it could all be over before it even began this year as the men with shovels and chainsaws and the HUGE dozer parked themselves right next to my street garden.

Anyone who knows me knows that when it comes to my garden I can be as protective as a mother with her puppies.  Ask my husband.  When I hear his chain saw,  I go into panic that what he's sawing is something that is just about to bloom.  Wild roses, wigelia, climbing hydrengeas.  It's happened.  Many times.  Now,  I'm right out there being a big pain and watching his every move.  So, this time I decided to make friends with the crew DAYS BEFORE the action began on the sidewalks.  Al, the crew chief, was so incredibly nice and assured me that the garden would remain intact as we did a walk through on Friday.  I have to admit I was skepictal . . . how do you work with a humongeous bulldozer in a limited 4 feet of space and not rip out everything in range?  Well, I'm happy to say that maybe I jumped the gun.

This morning at 8am the digging began, so I was out there with my coffee just watching as they moved closer and closer . . . .and I was totally amazed.
Look how close they are here . . . omg.

 But, between the dozer director John, and the dozer driver Luis, they worked SO carefully moving this big bucket shovel around my peonies to get to the required 7 inches of depth for the sidewalk forms.

Getting closer . . .

The thing came within millimeters of the buds, but never hit them.  Luis was like a surgeon with that bucket arm, swinging it around, picking up the dirt, dumping it into the truck, all the while being very watchful of me and my flowers.

 Marcelo, Carlos and Eduardo who did the finishing hand work on the forms.

Here comes the cement mixer, another BIG BIG piece of machinery, ready to pour the concrete.  I'm still praying.

 Dumping the mix . . .

 Spreading it for the first pass . . .

 Rough hand smoothing first . . . 

 Then all hands working together.  Very Quickly.  Finally smoothing out with a large (for lack of a better word), flattener.

John inspecting the progress.

Moving right along . . .

It seems no day lately would be complete without a little rain to complicate things.  Covering up for 24 hours.

So the good news is that yes, the peonies have been spared their closest call EVER.  It was actually so interesting to watch this whole thing unfold and to see how each and every part of the job was timed so perfectly and organized so well.  It may have looked easy, but I'm here to tell you that it takes some major planning and synchrony to make it all happen so perfectly!

I am very, very thankful to Al and a great crew Luiz, John, Marcello, Carlos, & Ramondo for a careful & amazing job.  I think the entire front garden will look even better with the addition of our new sidewalks after all . . . Peonies left unscathed to come into their glory, and a good day's work for the guys who made it happen.

We've got some great looking vases and containers in the shop now for all those gorgeous looking blooms you'll be cutting from your garden.  Stop in & see . . .

Have a constructive day :) . . . 

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