The Niwashi

This time of year I multitask- meaning cocktail hour is also a planting hour.  It takes a long time for me to plant one hour at a time-but I like this arrangement.  I like taking the time to reflect on what I am doing-this is a luxury.  Buck sometimes comes to keep me company, or help out a little .(how amusing to me that he does not like dirt on his hands or raindrops on his glasses; he’d rather walk on top of the low limestone walls than on the grass.)   My architect is urban through and through-but he will help out if I ask;  ask I did yesterday.  One small bed I plant is always rife with wiry maple tree roots; its a headache digging those roots out before I plant.  I managed to talk him into this job, as I had a new tool, a gift from a good friend and client.  Buck cannot resist a new tool, still in its box, that he’s never tried before, so I knew  he’d fall for it.
The Niwashi is an amazing tool.  My friend bought one while on a trip to New Zealand-she says its the only tool she uses in her garden.  She ordered one for me. It has turned out to be such a  fabulous present.  When I saw what fast work Buck was making of a tiresome chore, I had to try it myself.  Obviously I have never gardened with a really sharp tool.  Light, razor sharp, angled perfectly to cut weeds on top or roots underneath the soil surface-where has this tool been all my gardening life? �
I was ready to plant in no time; the Niwashi made it possible for me to plant with my hands.  I vastly prefer this method to using a trowel. So properly prepped soil is a must.  This 4.5 inch tricolor geranium is rooted top to bottom, but not rootbound-perfect to plant. It will transplant easily, and readily take hold.  Though my scheme this year is orange and red violet , I like a little leavening.  This geranium has a gorgeous cream based leaf with hints of my colors. Some variegated foliage is difficult to pair with green leaved plants; not this one.  The orange flower is a modest bonus-but its the leaves I love.  I have seen it called “Skies of Italy”-there’s some romance.�
The driveway bottom bed is planted and watered, as is 1/2 of the top bed, in no time.  Thanks a million, Jane.  For those of you who might want to check out all of their tools,�
Last year’s scheme was entirely dictated by a pair of baby pink fuchsia standards called “Ballerina”. I liked the whole thing just fine.  But what’s not to love about being able to do things differently?