Meg Tilley Anderson BLOG

      "We've gotta laugh. We swapped immortality for accessories."
      -- meg tilley anderson

Thursday, March 10, 2016


I must be living right. I have friends who know how to do things I can’t do and tools and materials to make things happen (in the right season).

The Tiger Fountain Garden gate posts were all wrong and a holly was in the fence line so I brought in my friend Wendell Yoakum the genius gardener.  
Post packer label should stop folks
from throwing out the warped 6 ft. board.
(Fence stretcher board is on the right.)  
The bend in the post packer helps
keep knuckles away from the post.
Small enough to fit in the hole and
 big enough to compact the soil, it's
a 5/4" x 2 1/2"deck board strip.
The gate hinge side already had a post, but it was too skinny. A big post nearby was redundant; two posts to move. I’d Googled ’pull up wooden posts’ and watched demos on YouTube.  They fastened things to the side of posts and used a fulcrum or jack to lift them. Wendell simply dug a post hole (clamshell digger) next to the post, wiggled it, and pulled it out!  Then we had an object lesson on the water table as water filled the bottom foot of the hole in less than a minute. We didn’t need a crystal ball to tell us things were about to get messy. That water wasn’t going to stay in the bottom of the hole when he deepened the hole and then packed the new post. There was gravel in the bottom from the first time we set the post.  Wendell set that aside to put back in first. When the hole was more than 3 ft deep (for the 9ft. post) he added gravel, put the big post in, added a little more gravel/mud and packed it with my official post packer stick, repeating until about six inches from the top of the hole. He stopped there to let it dry out a day or two before topping it off.  We’ve learned that if you don’t pack it in small layers or mound it up when wet, a post can be wiggly forever. 
The skinny post he’d removed was rotten at the bottom and too short to use for the gate now. We went on a post hunt in the fruit orchard and chose one that used to support a long gone grape vine. (Mowing the orchard just got easier!)  
We’d set the first post so the center of the gate lined up with the garden focal point, ‘Tiger Fountain’ and the solarium doors to the north, and the other posts to the west (no tapes measures, just eyeball’d it). We held the gate next to it’s post where the hinges would be, lined up the new post with enough room for the catch to meet the gate, marked the spot, then dug the hole and planted that post too. To our surprise, we found grey gravel in the bottom of the new hole. Must’ve had another post in that spot before; North GA granite doesn’t migrate on it’s own.  
Before calling it a day, Wendell dug up the holly, took it to the garden and covered the roots with compost to hold it a few days until I decided where to plant it. I don’t have to hurry because this is winter and the plant is dormant.

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