Sunday, April 22, 2018

Spring arrived yesterday--cool, breezy, but certainly spring. I spent the entire day outside: first, at the nursery buying plants; then home putting them in; and then, for the rest of the day, bagging brush, wheelbarrowing leaves, and generally trying to make something out of nothing in the dead zone of the back yard. Meanwhile, Tom reamed out the rickety shed, hauled crap to the dump, yanked out a prickly bush with a come-along, and discussed chainsawing some ash and maple saplings that are growing in all the wrong places. Right now, we are still in destructo mindset: we can't improve the back yard until we get rid of the random tree growth and deal with our own construction detritus and the garbagy leftovers of the previous inhabitants.

But the front yard is coming along nicely. I'm still waiting for soil for the new bed, but yesterday I planted a small parsley and rosemary hedge, planted a small lavender hedge, hauled rocks for a miniature retaining wall along the sidewalk, planted mint in a beautiful blue pot, and wedged some creeping thyme into the crevices of a stone wall. My peas are in, and I have planted beets, arugula, cilantro, dill, lettuces, and radishes. The garlic shoots are glowing, and tulips are budding. Yesterday, I had a long talk with my friendly gardening neighbor, who tells me that this area of town is well known for its rich soil and easy growth. After twenty years spent gardening in a hard climate and on fir-shaded ledge, I don't know if I can handle such ease. Good thing I have an ugly back yard to keep me from swooning.

This isn't much of a photo, I know, but I'm not much of a photographer. Still, maybe you can see the outlines of what's to come in this bed. There will be a hedgerow of shrubby herbs along the right side; the green visible in the center is my garlic; the other patches of green are tulips planted by a previous occupant. At the back is the blue pot of mint. At the front, where you can just glimpse the terracing, are more tulips, some lavender, and, if the seeds sprout, a row of black-tipped ornamental grass. On the left, beside the foundation, are hyacinths and tulips and, eventually, I think, there will be dahlias. Closer to the front is a new bed waiting for a soil delivery. It will mostly be vegetables, with screens along the walkways of low sunflowers and ornamental grass.

Anyway, that's the dream plan. We'll see if the squirrels and the weather and the insects and my dedication to weeding will allow some version of it to come alive.

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