Saturday, April 16, 2005


Last week I went to Home Depot to buy ceiling fans. They had perennials, and I behaved badly. Today I planted the lilac (Sarah's favorite shrub, I didn't buy it for myself. I am too mature to need lilacs, just because I have had one I think everywhere I have ever lived other than college or England), a sedum, four peonies (not all that cheap, but still named varieties, and as peonies go, cheap, particularly if they live), three clematis (one almost certainly dead, which will save time; I don't have that good luck with clematids), and one lily of the valley.

I still have to plant more lilies of the valley, a little quince (one of which was the first flowering bush I can remember, at the end of the driveway in Ann Arbor, about my height, in 1962) and a yellow-flowering deciduous azalea, and some other small perennials. Oh, and a red raspberry. I figure I will fight the deer for some things, but I'll have to see how much trouble the local wildlife are.

This house is stuck in the wilderness. I am tempted, slightly, by the all-native garden approach: the trees and the sumac are lovely. The bittersweet and the poison ivy, I could do without, and the floribunda roses aren't even native, just invasive. But my feelings for daffodils, crocus, and tulips have already put paid to that vision of botanical purity. The only things surviving being planted here before are a huge spruce (I am not that fond of it, but the birds are),some gaillardia, enough oregano for a hundred pizza-makers, and a superabundance of monocolor iris. I gave a greater amount of iris away last fall than I kept, enough being enough (I mean, I had to split the clumps in three or four pieces to get them out of the ground). I don't think the pink or the yellow iris I planted last fall have come up. I lost a sage and at least one lavender over the winter, and I have doubts about the caryopteris and the buddleia, but I still have two small lavenders,and the delphinium is doing very well with lot of leaves already and who could not love a delphinium? They burn blue holes in the air.

I plan to plant a bunch of annuals that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, since last summer we had both and I want them to be happy. I also plan a border of poppies, because I love them. Perhaps they will not mind the truly lousy soil: soil so bad I didn't have to cut the grass growing on it from July to frost last year. It never got beyond an inch or so and always looked harrassed. Sarah is going to try a vegetable garden. I am in favor (note to self: must dig an asparagus bed)and I will help.But I got out of the vegetable garden habit the last few years in Melrose (a suburb of Boston from whence I moved last July). The neighbor has horses. I think we need the byproducts. And after composting, the chicken poop will be good too, though I suppose one can't compost the chicken poop until the chickens have been hatched, arrived, grown, and settled in.

I also reset the front step, finally. Whether or not you believe in feng shui, it _can't_ be good to have the first step onto a property be badly set on eroding sand, rocking with every step, and I have the kind of ankles that don't need an excuse to dump me on the ground. I have reinforced the step with patio tiles and a landscape timber and it's better. Another bucket of kibble (lab-sifted, artifact-free gravel), and it should be stable. While trying to get things relatively level, I dropped a slab of limestone on my finger, not from very far up, fortunately. Why is it always the right index finger who suffers? But it isn't apparently swelling and I can type with it, so I guess it was just one more small unfairness in its difficult life.

Outside the Loom Room (Unvarnished)there used to be an above-ground pool. My daughter remarks that we are not Pool People. I am trying hard to become a Hot Tub Person, but the pool was too much and I persuaded someone to take it away. Now I have this lovely 12-foot circle of nice gravel outside the slider of the Loom Room, aching for me to buy some kind of cheap pavers and make a labyrinth.

And remove the portion of the deck blocking the view.

And move the utterly ill-placed, increasingly unsteady toolshed, also blocking the view, to somewhere you don't need to cache food and water for the camels on the way to when it's time to consider putting the tools away. The last thing I need after a nice afternoon with pick and shovel is to carry them down a precipitous slope (see ankles, above) to a small shed whose floor is rotting out, and then stagger back up the slope to the promise of tea or a Cold One (usually a seltzer, but choose the temperature and the varieties of Ones you prefer).

In fiber news -- I should have planted all this stuff yesterday and been VARNISHING today, but-- yesterday on my way to the garden, I decided that if I really want to dye my own yarn for the weaving class Final Project, I should get better at dyEing. I skeined up two balls of nice white yarn and proceeded to paint the daylights out of them. They are lovely, pink and purple. Only I was aiming for murky red and murky green. Still a few bugs in the system.

1 comment:

Cassie said...

Oh well. So much for my attempt at nature on the blog. You've got me beat a thousand to one. With good reason, I might add. My attempt was rather studied.