Friday, June 25, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Today the thermometer in my garden registers 90 degrees. I need some dirt therapy; I have brick edging to lay out, my new flagstone steps off the terrace need a little something extra, and the 'Creepy Charlie' really should find another yard to invade. Do I jump into my projects, or just laze about another day? I decide to make it a productive day in the garden, so I don my sunhat, a long-sleeved shirt, and my toe-protective Keenes.

I had to mow yesterday; the grass was looking pretty shaggy since I had abandoned ship and headed down to Florida with my family for a few days of fun on the beach. Upon my return from Key Biscayne, I find the garden in new bloom...a variety of colors and textures from the scarlet bee balm, the old climbing roses, the soft pink heads of Queen of the Prairie, the lilac trumpets of hosta, and the fringed white of ragged robin. The garden is beautiful, altho begging for some projects to be done!

I got busy and pulled all the bricks from the original edging, then laid them into their new channel. I had used the garden hose a couple weeks back to lay down a new edge 4-6 feet out from the perimeter edging laid out years ago. Bigger beds mean less mowing and that is always a good thing, right? After getting that most gentle curve just right, I cut the new edge into the turf, popped out the sod clods, and hauled them off to the compost pile.

Anything seems like more fun than 'writing my thesis', so working in the garden is a joy. School has a funny way of interfering with my 'other' life, but this summer I am once again becoming closely acquainted with manual labor in the garden. Rather than turn over umpteen million square feet of sod, I had decided to lay down sheets of newspaper, then cover them with soil. I still have six large garbage cans of rich, black loam that I excavated shovelful by shovelful when I dug my pond. So today I have also been scooping that same soil from 1, 2...and now 4 barrels and hauling it back across the yard to cover my newspaper. It seemed easier than turning sod at the time I was planning all this. I now know that earth-moving should be the exclusive work of worms and ants, studly men, and Big! yellow Caterpillars.

My other project is tied to this bed expansion...building steps down the slope off my patio and then tying in the new edging with the stair steps. I have a concrete slab patio, but these new flagstone steps have transformed it into more of a snooty 'terrace'. I have been re-working this garden for 19 years and I just never got around to this project. Was never quite sure how to approach it, but it is amazing how clear things become when I have options...building a thesis or building a few steps. Steps seemed like the way to now they are done...sort of. The last tread needs to extend further out into the yard; the rhythm is off. I went back to the stone store and purchased two 20x22 flagstones to replace the short-treaded ones. They are bastardly heavy, so I must possess all my early morning strength, before the heat of day can zap my energy, to tackle this last phase of step building. Maybe next week this project will finally be finished.

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