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E-Garden Almanac: Mr. Toad

E-Garden Almanac

The E-Garden Almanac is the push-button, real human journal of Kelly D. Norris. All errors, grammatic grievances, and opinions are that of the author. Kelly is a freelance writer and Master Gardener from southwest Iowa. His passion and obsession with horticulture, plants, and gardening embodies nearly every function of his life. The E-Garden Almanac serves as the web extension of his columns, articles, and lectures.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mr. Toad

Like any plant-crazy nut, I've made a habit of ordering seeds upon seeds from my favorite houses over the past few seasons when the dreaded "spring clearance" notification email hits my box. I even drug in a friend on the fiasco and managed to spend $150 last spring with Gardens North (terrific source for unusual perennials). So over the last year, in perfect synch with each species' biological needs, I've been sowing various Corydalis, Lilium canadense, Lilium concolor strictum, and an assortment of other "must-haves".

But it's my lilies that I was most proud of. I had a small lawn of seedlings in two, two-gallon containers of each of the aforementioned species. Tender, grass-like blades emerged from each pot teasing my senses with thoughts of their grandeur in maturity. Lilium concolor strictum boasts multiple sanguine-hued blossoms in bijou little clusters in July. Lilium canadense on the other hand is much less gaudy, but intriguing nonetheless in mixed shades of lemon, gold, and apricot spotted wildly. I had spots picked out for them, combinations planned, and photos shot in my head. I've slowly been taking on a lily obsession and this was step one in the program.

You can imagine the look of aghast (okay, frankly I was just plum pissed) on my face when back in late June I came out to the garden to find both pots bubbling at their rims with the sandy potting mix they contained. Who did I find? A jaunty amphibian companion that I dubbed Mr. Toad. He'd found a cool respite in the confines of my lily pots (both of them...had to pick the best one of course).

Needless to say this nasty habit of his has continued all summer without regard to what he's digging up in the process. My formerly grand stand of lily seedlings have been diminished to the largest bulblets that I've managed to salvage from the mounds left behind. My Corydalis seedlings are all but nonexistent, though I'm hoping that the pots that were tipped from the well cover where they sat might yield some surprise seedlings growing in the path next spring. Wishful thinking I'm sure. If there were Corydalis in the bed as it were, reseeding to hell and back, I couldn't keep them out of the path.

And to top it off, tonight I found another smaller toad creeping about some seedling Amsonia I transplanted last month. But I can't say that I'm mad anymore. Why? It'll just give me warrant to buy some more seeds next April come clearance season.


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