Friday, April 24, 2009

playing in the new yard

funny that it's been over two years,and i still think of this house in which we live as the "new house" and the yard as the "new yard." until this spring, my intentions for this yard have been mostly just intentions. my road to hell is well-paved. and i know, i know-i had a baby--yadda yadda yadda. but that baby is mostly an excuse for times when i just can't get my shit together. and gardening? well--it's hard! and i am ignorant about it, and digging holes sucks. and sweating. and when it's too hot, i tend to prefer sitting onthe porch with a big glass of iced tea to being out where the evil sun can smite me. but as always, i digress...

red bud tree, budding

dogwood buds 3

dogwood flower

shiny new leaves
this spring has been different. this spring, i have started to get my shit together. i have read books, researched, sketched things out in my head, and formed some long term plans. it's as though i am mentally accepting that we really do own this house and are allowed to do things like plant stuff in the actual ground instead of just in pots. oddly enough, our planting efforts seem to coincide with holidays. on valentines day, we bought two trees for the back yard: a red bud and a dogwood. old school, traditional trees i have loved since childhood. i learned that there are one million types of redbud and basically two types of dogwood, although the cherokee dogwood does come in two colors. i picked white, which is what i had growing up in the woods that surrounded my house. the redbud is a lovely lilac-y pink with these gorgeous shiny purple leaves. we got big-ass trees. the hippie dug big-ass holes. they bloomed a LOT, and are now leafy and thriving. one day, they will make a bower of shadiness between them, and i will put a garden bench there with a blueberry bush at either end. and there will be bulbs around the bases of the trees. and periwinkle. and stuff. but not yet. for now--they are just trees.



easter weekend we planted dirt. we dug out the from flower bed (if you can call it that), and replaced about a third of the existing dirt (by which i mean clay with rocks and construction debris in it), with a mixture of peat moss, fertilizer, soil conditionaer, limestone, and perlite. i have become a wheelbarrow chemist. we added a thick-ish layer of mulch on top. then on the following monday, i went to garden supply, which is AWESOME, and got two azeleas, two gerbera daisies, a dahlia, and a scabiosa plant. i had to dig my own holes this time, and i actually managed to get it all in the ground while the critter was a'napping--a miracle. so far, nothing has died and everything is blooming. yay!

this weekend, the hippie is going to help me make a box for a small raised vegetable garden in the back yard. and we are going to extend the from flower beds to accomodate some herbs. this part scares the beejeezus out of me. the herbs i think will be fine. the vegetable box could well be a huge unmitigated disaster. i have never grown a vegetable in my life. however, i am going to give it a shot at least. and if it works out, i will add a second box next year. and if THAT works out and i end up enjoying that part of it, i will add some raised beds to my long-term landscape architecting plan for the back yard. this plan is very long term, and involves things like retaining walls and screened in porches and how the neighbor's tree will grow to chade part of the yard, etc. there is much to consider.

there are days when i miss our old yard so much! it was insane, but it had once been heavily gardened and loved--there was ALWAYS something blooming, and things would come out of nowhere and surprise you. i miss walking through the yard and cutting little bouquets for my little bee bottle. but at the same time, i now get to create a whole little landscape, literally from scratch. it's kind of thrilling, but also intimidating.

so look people--help! if you have ideas or suggestions, or sources of information, or good gardening books to recommend, PLEASE share them! especially on gardening in the south, and vegetable and herb gardening in small spaces. i ahve been relying heavily on don hasting's book, month-by-month gardening in the south, which came highly recommended and has yet to fail me, but i know one resource isn't enough. so you know, help a sister out.

ps--i took all those flower pictures with my new camera, which is really not all that new at this point, but which i am finally starting to learn to use. the hippie gave it to me for my birthday last year, so he's been a little annoyed that i haven't used it more. again with the intimidation. however, so far, it's awesome! i think it will get even better if i get around to reading the book of instructions. hmmmm...

1 comment:

Janie Bevens said...

Hi Jackie, I'm just reading up on your life. First of all, amazing that Kieran is already a year old and also amazing that you've been in your home two years now. Time flies...
Be careful with the gardening because then you'll soon be canning, preserving, etc. (Another project!) Personally, I find gardening to be so relaxing and almost a balm for my soul. It truly helps heal my "insides", if that makes sense. I've no doubt your garden of flowers/plants and veggies (fruit trees maybe too?) will be wonderful.