Old Man Tanner

Tulips,alliums,iris and daylilies have made their wondrous appearances for this garden season and thus quietly have left the garden stage almost as quickly as they arrived. Perennials are a blessed addition to gardens everywhere but as we know,although faithfully appearing year after year,their beautiful and robust blossoms are far too short-lived.  The last few days I have been planning which ones I am going to thin out,which ones I am going to get rid of completely and which ones I am going to divide and share with friends.  Of course I will want to add some new tulip bulbs for next years bounty,as I seem never to have enough.  Right before the ground freezes is the perfect time to plant bulbs,so I have a couple of months possibly to work on that. But I am a planner. So with paper and pen in hand this morning,I meandered around my home and tried to decide which plants are going to stay and which ones will have to go.
It might be difficult for a person who doesn’t garden to believe that someone would intentionally yank up a plant that is obviously not a weed,but it happens.I have had plants that weren’t just exactly right for my gardens and didn’t realize that fact until after they had been planted there for awhile. For example,several years ago a friend gave me some bee balm and being a new gardener without much experience,I planted it near my back door. Now you know what bee balm attracts,right? Well it was quite a mid-summer  task to make it from the back door to to my car without a newspaper rolled up for a swatting tool. I completely understand the value of insects and bees in the garden but I have no use for them in my hair! Live and learn.  A neighbor offered the comment that it might not have been the wisest place to have planted it. I wasn’t sure if he was kidding, since the smurk on his face was a little weak,but I assured him I had given this much thought since.
Sometimes things are annoying and you put up with them for awhile, at least just until you can decide what to do about them.
Such was the case with Old Man Tanner. Now I am not being disrespectful here. This is what all of the neighbors called him and he was the one who had  told them to. He stood about 6 feet tall and his entire wardrobe consisted of three flannel shirts and one pair of bibbed cover-alls.  If he had anything else in his closet,he never wore it. His feet were always clad in unlaced,worn-out work boots that were every bit a size 12,and his rough hands were scarred and massive. This giant of a man would have made a wonderful poster child for Paul Bunyan.
There was never a need to worry about anyone entering your home undected because Old Man Tanner missed nothing. If your grandmother came for a visit,he knew what hour she came,what she was wearing and the time of her departure. Not much got past his watchful eyes.  Sometimes this was a little annoying,especially if he was sharing this information with others,which he often did. Privacy wasn’t something he considered and we had to be careful of what he saw. He had a good heart but on occasion,let’s just say he knew exactly where I tied my goat.  My husband would always laugh when I told him about Old Man Tanner’s shenanigans,and trust me,this just made matters worse.
Despite some of the issues of being a little on the nosey side and a great possibility of thinking of ways to irritate me,he was always the first to help out when you needed a helping hand and the first to check on a sick child or aide with the recovery of an adored pet. It was not uncommon for him to hand you a bouquet of wildflowers on a crisp spring morning with an ear-to-ear grin and wish you a hearty “ Good Morning.” His strength ,both physical and mental,made Old Man Tanner a very interesting and complex character.  In time, I learned to appreciate his good points and overlook some others.
What happened to the bee balm?  I dug it up and transplanted it by an old shed at the back of the property.
Old Man Tanner? I sent him his dinner every Sunday after church and thanked him for “watching” the house.
Some things are best left just the way they are.
This is your “garden recipe” for the week.
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