Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Synopsis of a Garden

Jake and I worked for a few more hours tonight, and are nearly finished spreading the soil into the ruts left by the landscaper. The dirt pile is *almost* gone, and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's good to know that when my hubby and I work together, we can overcome whatever messes come our way-- that man can fix almost anything, even a broken heart at being treated badly by people who don't care how much they wreck the land you've worked years to beautify.

If anyone had seen what a disaster our property was when we first moved in, they'd never recognize it; I turned the front acre of ugly, sickly grass into a prairie 3 years ago, hand planting hundreds of echinaceas and rudbeckias and broadcasting *pounds* of native prairie seeds. When the plants start to bloom early this summer, it's going to be breathtaking. The wildflowers are finally starting to take over the grass, getting the foothold they need to flourish.

We've taken down a few trees, removing the stumps and filling in the low spots; moved 1/2 dozen trees and planted at least 50; repaired the damaged, neglected landscaping in the front of the property (I shoveled at minimum a TON of lava rock, one wheelbarrow at a time waaaaaaaay down to a dumpster by the garage, which I had to LIFT to dump the rock inside. This girl's got MUSCLES!) We fixed up the rotting playhouse and turned it into a pretty little chicken coop, fully landscaped, complete with strawberry patch and trumpet vine/clematis covered pen.

I hand turned two enormous gardens in the front of the property 3 years ago as well, and the root stock I planted has matured to the point that I've had to dig *new* gardens and enlarge existing ones just to have places to put the divisions. I dug 4 gardens in the back of the property, 2 a couple years ago, one last fall, and one this spring... the south west garden is one of my favorites, as it includes many of the same shade plants I grew to love from the large gardens I planted at our old house (minus the most invasive ones!). I think I seriously overplanted that spot, tho, and will need to expand the garden to accomodate the plants that will surely be crowded by fall. I actually started the garden 2 years ago, when I rushed to get over 1000 bulbs in the ground in November, just in time for the first hard frost. The following spring, after the bulbs bloomed and the foliage faded, I was finally brave enough to get my plants in the ground.

I was especially proud of the chicken coop garden, as it was the first garden I actually took the time to "hardscape"; I was so pleased with myself, counting out the # of patio blocks I'd need and taking the initiative to order them and have them delivered, which went off without a hitch. I wasn't sure why, but I've usually relied on Jake to take care of these details; but now that I've been burned it's clear: I don't think men get taken advantage of as much as women do in such matters.
Jake and I took a lot of care with the coop garden, to level out the ground so the blocks would sit correctly-- the effect was absolutely stunning, and very professional looking. I couldn't wait to get some topsoil into the garden so I could move the plants from the butterfly garden into their new spot. We're going to be busting up the concrete soon so we can pour a new patio to replace the damaged one, so I had to move the perennials to a new spot asap.

And wow! Landscaping by yourself is hard enough without having to fix other people's screw-ups, but I'm hoping that when the coop garden has become established, it will seem even more lovely, for all the sweat and tears and life lessons that went into it. More photos of the restoration to come: my new camera decided to die, as if this week wasn't bad enough! Bah!

p.s. Jake ordered a new tipi skin today, which should arrive in 2 weeks... yay! Tipi party, anyone?

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