Some people are so lucky. When they go to plant something in the garden, they dig a hole and plant it. Others, such as Gail, Pam, or Layanee, are lucky, though they may not realize it. When they go to plant something, they encounter a chunk of limestone or granite. Lucky? you ask. How can that be lucky? Comparatively speaking they are. They could be digging up large chunks of concrete. I suspect the remains of a dairy barn were bulldozed and buried on my property.
A couple of weeks ago, it was a cloudy, cool morning with cloud cover forecasted for several days and then rain. Perfect weather for transplanting a Tricyrtis that wasn't happy and for dividing another one that was outgrowing its space. I thought how nice it would look to move them across the path, to an area that I had just cleared of Lamium maculatum. Here's the before shot. I started digging and heard that horrible thunk that signals a chunk of concrete lying beneath the surface like some horticultural land mine. It wasn't unexpected, as my brother-in-law and I had encountered quite a bit of concrete when he installed a small screen near the composting area, and I've been digging up sizable chunks of concrete for the past 15 years from all over the property. So I started digging. And digging. And digging. I had to keep digging because I realized that to remove the chunk that was where I wanted to put the plants, I had to remove several other chunks that were partially covering it. But to free those chunks, I had to remove even more chunks, and every time I pulled one out, I found three more. Call me Sisyphus.
I had to stop for the day, as it was time for dinner. Then I dug the next day. And the next. I ended up digging concrete by myself for three days, and one day with my Very Indulgent Spouse (VIS) helping me. Along the way, I sawed through major tree roots and moved concrete out front to create a retaining wall. Several recently planted things had to be dug up to get at a particularly large chunk of concrete. I could have entitled this post "There Will Be Blood," as VIS and I both ended up bleeding. (I also got a finger caught between two heavy chunks of concrete. It's still a bit tender.) Here are a couple of representative samples:
Finally, we decided that we needed to quit, as we could easily have dug up most of the back garden. The excavated area is about 10 feet by 4 feet across at the widest and about 3 feet in depth.
I bought topsoil to fill some of the hole. I would have liked to have allowed it time to settle completely, but several plants were sitting out on the ground and needed to be replanted as soon as possible. I'll have to dig them up again, put in more soil, and then replant them.