Life’s Little Surprises

Somehow, in the craziness of trying to accomplish all I’ve set myself this summer, I had forgotten my little pond out front. Not that I’d actually forgotten it’s existence. Fixing or removing the waterfall and making changes to the layout of this small body of water is on my to-do list. I’ve underlined that chore multiple times. Perhaps even hard enough to push the pen point through the paper.

Still, I can’t remember the last time I looked at the pond except in disgust (awful, that–after all, the state of neglect is not the pond’s fault). All the same, nearly every day I find myself hearkening with a smile to the bullfrog’s deep callings accompanied by various little peeps in its vicinity while I’m engaged on the small hill’s upper side–either weeding, planting, planning or occasionally relaxing on the porch.

I took the embarrassingly short walk down there today to check things out and found to my utter delight the water lilies are in bloom. What a wonderful, inspiring surprise. I promptly decided to push caring for the water feature to the top of my to-do list. It does, however, seem to be getting along quite nicely without me, having formed it’s own flourishing little eco-system with no help at all from moi.

I am put in mind of Jeff Goldblum’s character’s utterance in the first Jurassic Park movie. “Life finds a way…”

Garden Restoration, Part I

I’ve decided to document the rebirth of the front garden (for starters—I may move on to brave the shed garden, the shade garden, the don’t-sit-under-the-apple-tree garden). It’s also a tale of my own rebirthing, from a rather nasty depression into the symbolically hopeful, soul-nurturing act of gardening.

Last year was a rough year for me. I know there are many out there for whom last year (or any year) was far more troublesome than mine. But I need to begin this blog with a quick explanation as to why my gardens came to resemble the forest surrounding Sleeping Beauty’s bower. I’ll be quick…the Reader’s Digest version, abridged and leaving you wondering where the rest of the story went. Ready? Two surgeries and nearly a year of physical therapy on my right arm. And I’m right-handed. Enough said? The weeds spent the summer proliferating and laughing at me. Winter did nothing to dampen their enthusiasm for mockery. They joyfully reappeared in the springtime for a repeat performance.

But I was ready for them this time…sort of.

I’ve decided to document the rebirth of the front garden (for starters, at any rate—I may ambitiously continue this documentary recitation with the shed garden, the shade garden, the don’t-sit-under-the-apple-tree garden). It’s also a tale of my own rebirthing, from a rather nasty what-the-hell-has-happened-and-do-I-really-care attitude into the symbolically hopeful, soul-nurturing act of gardening. I regained the use of my right arm and, therefore, my ability to remake my beloved flower beds over.

It’s a work-in-progress that began with the simplest tasks first—the front porch. Not gardening, per se, but the lateral move of store-bought plants into store-bought planters. Enough color to make me smile, enough floral abundance to convince me I was on my way to bigger and brighter.

blankslateFirst thing to face and prepare: the Blank Slate. Remove all extraneous items; break out the pressure washer; wash the lovely green lichen or whatever the heck it is from the railings, front siding, windows, wherever it had appeared in its effort to taunt me. Re-hang the wind chimes (did I mention that in my state of mind last year I had my son yank them down because the beautiful, deep timber of their chimes annoyed me? Of course I didn’t. I gave you the abridged version…) Next, bring the table and chairs out of the shed, wash them down, and place pottery onto the tempered glass surface. Insert pansies—purple and white. Why not? The colors look fabulous with the turquoise glaze of the pots.

table

Next, hang the planters on the railings. Unfortunately, the planters themselves are too flowerboxshort for the hanging apparatus. But soon these little beauties pictured at right are supposed to grow to drape over the planters’ edges and none will be the wiser. Except you, now that the secret is out of the bag. I’ll have to take photos later in the summer and we’ll see if their promise of coverage comes to fruition.

Finally, for this portion of the Garden Restoration, I jammed a shepherd’s hook into the earth in front of the porch between three smashingly beautiful and HUGE light gray rocks, and hung the equally large hanging basket of wave petunias, a basket of sunny yellow zinnias and a brightly colored birdhouse (painted by moi, in about two seconds, so don’t look too closely).

zinnias_and_birdhouse

This leads me to the next phase, which was backbreaking, exhilarating work. It was also where I learned, as I never had before, that gardening is a contact sport.

Check back for Garden Restoration, Part II. Thanks for reading!

Peony Perfection

whitepeony

I’m a little behind in my blogging, but I thought I would share these two photos of lovely white blooms I brought indoors a couple of weeks back. Alas, the bountiful rain and hot, humid days have all but eliminated my peonies outdoors.

I didn't have a short vase, so I put the peonies in this glass canister and loved the effect.

Those flowers I placed in a green glass container (as I had no vase available) were fairly ant-free and smelled heavenly, even after they had drooped and started losing their petals. I still have the unopened buds in a small vase for the scent alone. When fresh, they looked like the perfect bridal bouquet.