m Celtic Cross Celtic Cross - Average Everyday Sane Psycho Supergoddess

April 19, 2005

Celti, Celti, How Does Your Garden Grow?

There is a thunderstorm rolling in this morning, and I can feel the electricity in the air from it. I am excited to start this day. As I walk out into the back yard to go to work, the wind whips my silk skirt up and makes it billow and for a moment I feel like Marilyn Monroe. Weee! There are flower petals from those beautiful pink trees littering the ground, swirling around like little pink mini tornados, distracting me from watching where I'm walking. Looks like it’s going to be another day when my mind is elsewhere...

Have I told you before how much I love thunderstorms? Oh, yes...I have.

When I was growing up, we always had a garden. We focused more on vegetables, however...mom concentrated on that, being the logical, practical person that she is (I've often wondered if she is part Vulcan). As I got older, I persuaded her to build flower beds and such. I always loved helping put in the garden, tending it and, of course, enjoying it's bounty. I still run home for my mom's tomatoes all summer.

I tried to grow vegetables in the first year after buying my house. It was a no-go. I have four mighty oaks in my back yard that denied the garden of the bright sunlight needed to grow good veggies, and I came out with miniature versions of the originals, such as green peppers of about an inch in diameter. Pffft. I love my oaks, however, and wouldn't dream of harming them, despite all of the pollen they pee on me and acorns they drop.

So, the next year, I shifted gears to herbs and flowers. I use a lot of the herbs in my garden for cooking and to make potpourri, tinctures, potions & such. I created this:

This picture is from about 5 years ago, I would guess. The building in the background and the fence are now gone and there are a LOT more plants in the garden, but you get the idea.

After nearly giving myself a hernia getting the boulders into place, I did one of the smartest things I've ever done. I put down landscape cloth. This wonderful fabric allows the ground to breathe and get water, but it doesn't let weeks grow through it, so weeding is minimal. After hours of planning and sketching, I threw my desire for symmetry to the wind and went haywire, cutting little holes in the fabric and planting my new babies, surrounding them with mulch. I think it turned out rather nicely.

One of the things about my house that appealed to me was the fact that the yard was a clean slate – there was nothing – no bushes, no flowers or flower beds, nada. I subsequently built flower beds along the perimeter of the house and yard, filling just about every available space with something.

Now, many years later, you'll find some of the following:

Creeping Thyme
Yellow Coreopsis
Purple Coreopsis
Seedum (2 varieties)
Echinacea (purple coneflower)
Hens & chicks
Wooly Lambs Ears
Greek Oregano
Regular Oregano
Coral Bells
Lilly of the Valley
Bleeding Hearts
Butterfly Bushes
Lemon Balm
Lavender (2 varieties)

...hmmm. I'm sure I'm forgetting at least a few.

It's been a fabulous experience, learning about what spreads like wild fire and takes over (like wormwood and yarrow), what will grow with how much shade and which perennials won't survive winter in Iowa (like my favorite, Rosemary). Each Spring, I rake off the blanket of leaves that has insulated all the beds, add more mulch and put in a few new plantings, thin out some of the older ones, add rocks that I pick up wherever I go...it's always changing. Change is good. This year, I added about 50 Iris I got from my Grandma's house along with one of her peony bushes. I am so happy to have them there.

My back yard and my garden are my refuge - a place where I escape, study, ponder and relax. I love to lay on my bench and look up through the trees, watching the squirrels chase each other and the clouds roll by. That's what I did last night as I chatted on the phone with one of the most wonderful people I've ever known and D played in his sand box and on his swing. It was a wonderful, peaceful evening.

It has taken many years to make the yard and garden what it is, and I am proud of the way it has evolved. It is, however, and always will be a work in progress.

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