I have many a fond memory of standing here admiring the shade plants. Standing here in the cool mist of the hose….or is it the gush of water from the leaky hose? Who cares when it’s humid and hot. I looked forward to watering time. Anytime is watering time if you work around little pots of flowers. A windy day will drive you nuts.
Our vegetables were out by the road and dried up about as fast as you could blink. They came in little 2″-4″ cups. The soil was light and airy. That spelled disaster on windy days. The tomato plants took the worst beating and looked like victims of a tornado.Their little body parts all dismembered and thrown across 7 counties. Not a sight for the faint of heart.
It was nice standing under the canopy and enjoying the view. The plants under the canopy didn’t need watering as much as the victims baking in the sun. Have you seen a nursery worker water hanging baskets? Do you feel sorry for us? Do you think about what you are going to give us for Christmas? You should. And remember, they had to be hung to begin with. Most of the time when you are watering, there are little old ladies holding on to their canes about to tip over at any moment. Your hose is a lawsuit waiting to happen or worse….a funeral home’s best case scenario.
The inside hanging baskets are on drippers. See the water lines running over head? They have to be turned on one row at a time. You turn on the master valve and then start a sequence of turning on and off until water runs out the bottom of the pot. If all the drippers are on it takes more time cause of less pressure in the system. Takes you a little longer if you have to add fertilizer to the system. Fertilizer gets siphoned into the system with the turn of another set of valves. The geraniums are on another system that has drip lines. Two lines go in each pot. If you water geraniums from the top, the blooms will look horrible and the leaves not so pretty.
One of the customers ask me if wearing my crocs made my feet dirty and how did I stand it. If I don’t wear crocs, my feet rot. That does not sound nice but it is the most kind word I can think of for this situation. The lady looked at all the holes in my shoes and could not stand the thoughts of her feet getting dirty. Crocs keep your feet dry and clean. You can toss them off quickly and rinse them off in fertilizer water;) and they will dry in a few minutes. Tennis shoes and socks stay wet and make your feet look like prunes and smell like fermented road kill. Crocs are soft so walking on all the uneven ground does not kill ya.
The drippers don’t drip on the flowers cause they are situated so they drip right down to the center of the pot. Unless, one went haywire and is squirting all over creation–you, the blooms, the plants below, and heaven forbid–the customer. That is what we call —little old lady killer no.2. So we see that the indoor hanging baskets are on drippers but what about those other 1,000 outside in the wind?
We must have been bringing some baskets from the main greenhouses cause I don’t see many hanging baskets but believe me there was always plenty. Look at that cute little yellow Sunbini and it’s friend Diamond Frost Euphorbia in the white. They won’t be this pretty in an hour if I don’t get busy watering the outside hanging baskets and move along to them which aren’t so cute all dried out. Nursery workers have a bad hair day every day. We have a leaky wand on the end of the hose. It will more than likely hopefully reach in to the pot of the hanging basket without spraying little old lady in the glasses. In the process of trying to be careful, you soak your arm and undergarments. The water follows gravity and on it’s way gets absorbed by anything and everything on its way. Here is where I strip naked and finally kill off the little old lady..not really.
You have to drag the watering hose carefully past little old lady and her wagon. If not, she will topple to the ground and skin her fragile self. The owners of this little/big garden center where I worked are sticklers for watering practices. You can water the flats from overhead but not the expensive 4″ and above pots. You must get the wand in there just so and let the stream of water hit the flowers at an angle. That way the water fills the pots without damaging the flowers. We don’t care if it downpours on them once you get them home;)
You play this watering game all day. You will water the vegetables several times a day. You’ll water one table one hour and another the next. Yes, we water first thing in the morning before the customers get there and once at closing after they have gone. But come on People…..the hot sun takes its toll and we know you aren’t going to buy a plant that has a frowny face are you?
The trees and shurbs are on a sprinkler system as are the perennials on the other side of the nursery. They come on twice a day. Although, I have been known to drag the hose out there when the sprinkler didn’t reach or new plants came in the middle of the day. My arms got longer and longer as the day went on. You can not turn the indoor drippers and lines on at the same time you run the out door sprinklers. If you do, you could out run the water coming out of the lines its so slow. And heaven forbid you flush a toilet.
Don’t drown the display flowers in the fountain out front cause it holds water and plants can’t swim. Don’t over water the succulants. Don’t forget to water the customer’s containers waiting to be picked up. Don’t forget to water the plants out by the road and hit the vegetables again. Remember to turn off the coffee pot and let the cats in. There is so much more I could tell you about why you should water the plants and not the people. And there is so much more involved in running a nursery. I’m just getting started. I haven’t killed the little old lady yet. We’ll save that for when she gets inside.