Best Laid Plans

Posted on: August 1, 2018

One of my worst character flaws is my consistent inability to plan for how long something will take to complete. I always underestimate the complexity of nearly any given project. I have never served a single multi course holiday dinner on time. I am frequently late and often un-showered having not allowed the time necessary to clean the house, water the plants, walk the dogs, iron my clothes and still get out the door in a timely fashion.

A possible semi positive side effect of this flaw however is my unending sense of positivity that anything I’ve decided to do won’t be so hard, it can definitely get don’t in the time we have and everything is going to be great. When inevitably the plan does not go as I envisioned it might, I’m also really good at sugarcoating plan B when I am pitching it to others!

My poor long suffering husband, Adam has become accustomed to last minute plan changes. One of my most often used lead ins being, “Well see what had happened…” At work, my poor long suffering co-worker Nick is often the subject to some of the same side effects of being in Ronda’s inner circle! I would be lying if I said that I had only roped him into one “easy” project, one “real quick tour” or one “real brief meeting”. I think one of the reasons Adam and Nick get along so well is because they have this common bond; both of hem having to put up with me!

My most recent hair brained scheme here at Ruppert Nurseries was to introduce Airpots® to our production capabilities. Airpot®s are a European style system of keeping trees above ground for extended periods of time. Most growers, Ruppert Nurseries included loathe to keep trees above ground any longer than absolutely necessary. They are a pain to keep watered and a greater pain still to keep looking good. These Airpots® are touted as not only keeping trees alive and healthy but also improving the root systems by generating densely fibrous systems through a constant process of air pruning.

I mean, it sounds like such a great idea, doesn’t it? Dig trees when it is horticulturally correct to do so. Hold them in an environment that will allow them to thrive, then ship them healthy and happy whenever the job becomes ready? Where is the possible down side?

When first I pitched the Airpot® idea to Nick, he immediately reacted as I might have expected by saying, “It won’t work, will be too expensive and we’re just not set up for it.” Of course me being me, I mounted an argument complete with You-Tube Videos, testimonials and even had the owner or Airpot® come over from Scotland to explain the process and how it could benefit our operation.

Slow to change but quick to want to stay on the cutting edge or American Horticulture, we finally pulled the trigger on a small order of Airpot®. Sweet! Now we’re cooking with gas, right? Wrong… we decided where to put this new specialty production area, due to it’s proximity to a ready water source; it only needed to be graded. We obtained the ground cloth to cover the newly graded area. But then, it proceeded to rain for oh, I don’t know, like a month straight, thus making it impossible to do the necessary grading. Sigh… And then there is the pesky problem of the special soil mix that needs to go inside these “containers”. Several calls to soil suppliers later (and two people who actually laughed at my request for the mix to contain coir or Scotch peat!), I finally found a vendor willing to blend me the mix. I could elaborate the difficulties, no let’s call them challenges, we encountered in picking up the mix but instead I’ll celebrate that we were able to find and purchase the correct mix.

It has been 8 months since we first started considering the Airpot® process. 8 months in, we finally have everything we need to get started. I positive we’ll have trees in Airpots® any day now! (Right, Nick?!)

Has it been easy? Nope. But will it be worth it in the end? I think so. If this works like we hope it will it will drastically change how we hold and perhaps even grow trees above ground. This eternally positive ray of sunshine (me), continues to believe this will all be worth it in the end.

Tomorrow, we will pack our car for the family summer vacation. 4 kids and 2 adults heading north for a week at the beach. I already know that I’ll likely allocate far less time than is necessary getting us ready to leave. I’m starting to twitch, just writing it right now. Knowing that it will come down to the last minute and yet STILL not giving myself enough time. Prepare for pet sitter, laundry, pack car, wash beach towels get my hair done, pick up wine (this one is very important). The family will awaken tomorrow morning to a list on the kitchen counter of all the jobs we must all do before we leave. Eyes will roll and my husband will say, “When and how do you plan to get all of this done today?”

I’ll say, “After my hair appointment but before I take Lily to lacrosse. That’s enough time, right?”

Cheers, friends! See you in October!