Sunday, June 26, 2016

Good help is hard to find

Prior to planting two trees in my yard, the tree folks contacted the underground utility folks to have the underground utilities marked. When grinding big holes with a big auger, it is wise to avoid a big kaboom from hitting a gas line. While it did not affect the tree planting, the gas mains that run through utility easements on the north and west sides of my property were not marked, which surprised me.

I have my yard marked every year because every year I am digging and transplanting and moving plants around. Last year, I was home when the underground utility guy arrived, so I followed him around. When he failed to detect the above mentioned gas mains, I pointed out the error of this ways. Even though they have been marked every previous time I have dialed 811, this guy told me that the gas company maps indicated the mains were on my neighbor's property. Yet when he ran his detector gadget over the easement on my side, he found the main. (The gas line to my other neighbor's house crosses a corner of my property as well, but since this is where the compost piles are, I don't worry about it.)

This year I want to plant two Dwarf Gold Mops perilously close to the gas main, and dig up a lilac bush that is similarly situated. I'm guessing I could do both without risk, as the mains are probably deep enough to avoid my hand tools. BUT I would rather be safe than sorry. Also, I am a slave to safety rules.

Today I decided I could at least (or at last) get the gout weed planted under the 'Limelight' Hydrangea. Because of the orange and red flags and spray paint, I had to play around with where exactly to position them. But while (gingerly) digging the planting holes, I discovered two MORE cables. One is probably the Comcast cable. I don't subscribe to Comcast and don't really care about their silly cable (and twenty years ago, my dog chewed it up where it enters the house), but it still seems like poor form to deliberately cut through it. So I again rearranged the plants to work around this obstacle. But then I found another cable. It may be the old pre-fiber optic phone line, but I decided I should work around that one as well.

Eventually, all six gout weed plants made it into the ground. I'll call 811 tomorrow and ask about all this. There are only three plants still waiting their turn to be installed, the two Dwarf Gold Mops and a Pagoda Dogwood that will be located nowhere close to any utility lines.

My SO helped me with the Oak Leaf Hydrangea today, which we planted next to the front porch, far from the utilities. My original plan was to move all the ornamental grasses beforehand, but there was a gap among the grasses perfectly equidistant from the sidewalk, the house, the rhododendron, and the lawn. We stuck the hydrangea there and trimmed back some of the Northern Sea Oats to make it visible. Now we can move the grasses at our leisure.

I hope the hydrangea likes its new home.

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