Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Garden Begins

Spring cometh. "The droghte of March hath perced to the roote," and loveliness sits poised beneath the surface of every lawn, every bare bed, behind the velvety shield of every bud on every tree. The children are frolicking, the dogs skitter around the yard with their tales tucked under. Everyone and every thing has spring fever. Including me.

This year my spring fever exhibits itself in two ways. First: allergies. Alas, I am allergic to grass (I lived poised on the edge of the Prairie) and, Alas, also trees (I live in a densely wooded city). So if I seem to weep, if I bury my face in a tissue, if my eyes brimmeth over, don't worry. It's not depression, existential angst, deep-seated dismay--only allergies.

Now, thankfully, this year my spring fever encompasses more than allergies. This year I have GARDEN FEVER.

Now our current garden does not exist. In fact, the state of our outdoor property is dire. The only virtue our back yard possesses is its blank-slatedness. That is--if you ignore the variety of weeds-substituted-for-grass and interesting patio "stones" laid out at random behind the house. Behold our "blank slate":
...desperately in need of screening...

The hawks like to kill and eat pigeons on our "grass". At least someone likes it (not the pigeons.)

Even here, something springs forth. (What is it??)

The blank-slateness of our back yard, combined with the horror of its weedy barrenness, have haunted me since last July. Through the long winter months I have stared out the window, sketched, stared, read, stressed, sketched some more, etc.--trying to come up with a working plan for the garden which will be. I have so so so many ideas... Poly-culture, density, vistas, texture, developing "rooms," perineal borders, self-sufficiency, edible landscape, formal structure... the list goes on. I have so many ideas. I have - so - little - knowledge/experience/time. !! I just know I will get myself in over my head. Probably I will end up midsummer with brown grass, truckloads of tomatoes and twelve dead rose bushes. Anyway. I stressed, I obsessed--all winter.

and then I hired a landscape architect. Don't judge too harshly. I had dreams of designing the whole structure myself, planting trees, growing crops from seeds, developing unique poly-culture systems. I had dreams of doing everything myself.

But something motherhood has taught me/ is teaching me: I cannot do everything myself. Least of all gardening, which (it turns out) I know nothing about. So. I brought all of my stresses, obsessive sketches, and photo inspirations to the table--and showed them to my landscape architect.

Then he came back to me with this:
Now isn't that satisfying?? (that is, if you can read anything at all...)

What this plan included is: a brick patio which enters (by way of boxwood-lined gravel path) into a wooded "room" at the back of the yard. There is space planned for herb garden, perineal beds, roses, ornamental trees, a happy maple, and two porticos to create shade and upon which grapes might grow. Mr. Landscape Architect has, of course, overplanted our imaginary garden and we will be changing some things to allow for a fairly limited budget.

We also will be leaving several beds *empty* so that I might have my little poly-culture/edible landscape/high density perineal experiment. A little trying, a little failing, a little learning is healthy, yes?

Stay tuned for further developments...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Key West

In February we escaped from the winter. In Key West Devin and I enjoyed fresh fish, sunshine, seagulls, kobe beef burritos, observing large tropical fish. Hattie enjoyed her bathing-suit and over-large sunhat. Hattie did NOT enjoy: sand or the cold ocean. Maybe next time.

I also got a chance to work on my reading list. I greatly enjoyed DEVOURING Byatt's Persuasion.