Monday, July 20, 2015

A Week in the Garden

Cosmos planted from seed a couple of months ago

The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer to God's heart in the garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

Dorothy Gurney
1858 - 1932

As lovely as this poem is, I have to disagree and say that one is nearer to God's heart when holding a baby than anywhere else on earth...

Grandad holds Jethro in his lap while Grammy cuddles with Verona
We had the can't-be-topped pleasure of holding our two youngest grandchildren a couple of weeks ago at our family gathering. The exquisite formation of their precious little bodies and the peace of that sweet-smelling baby weight in the arms can settle a mind like not much else!

me, moving rocks
However, my post today is about the landscaping project(s) that kept us busy last week, Tuesday - Saturday -- hence the gardening poem.

In the front range of the Rocky Mountains it stands to reason that we have a lot of rock.  Due to our high dessert climate, xeriscaping is popular (even encouraged by the local water board). It was just understood when we bought our house two years ago that much of our landscaping would include massive amounts of decorative rock. 

that's a lotta lotta rock!!!
I have to admit that a yard full of rock is easy upkeep as long as we stay on top of the weeding task (which we do).  But after a while, one feels the need to add some color. So to break up that sea of rock in our back yard, we marked out a long rectangle and the job began of clearing rock.

I started out using a heavy metal rake, but that was very quickly going to turn my neck and shoulder muscles to hamburger, so all things considered, it was easier to get down on my knees  (on a pad for sake of my bony knees) and with heavy gloves on my hands, hand-pick the rocks and toss them to one side.

A monotonous job, to be sure, but also a good time of undisturbed silence to pray for any and all who came to mind. To my surprise, the entire bed was cleared of rock in less than 2 hours. That brought a great sense of accomplishment!

White Shasta Daisies, Orange Day Lilies, and the Gnome Garden at Tagawa Gardens nursery

Lunch followed the morning rock excavations and then it was time for some fun. It's delightful to go shopping when there is money in the purse for a specific purpose. There are several nurseries from which to choose when landscaping, but this time I made a beeline for one of the best in the Denver area, Tagawa Gardens

I was hunting for perennials, something that, once planted, could be watered and not-fussed-with (for the most part) in the years to come. Color, too. We wanted color.

Here's what came home with me:

Stella D'oro Day Lily and a purple lily (not pictured)

Pink Lupine (and a blue one, too, not pictured)

White Shasta Daisies

Pink Echinacea

a deep rose pink Hibiscus bush (with no fewer than a dozen buds ready to open)

From other stores we bought more plants for other parts of the yard, both front and back (some perennials and some annuals):

a yellow coreopsis bush (perennial) for the front yard 
Spreading Juniper - we bought 3 of these to replace smaller bushes by the front porch

Pink and white Impatiens for a flower bed on the side of the house and a porch flower pot (annuals)

After the purchases were made, it was back to playing in the dirt. I thought I would be able to put my perennials into the ground myself, but underneath all that rock and landscaping barrier is a clay soil that defied my whimpy efforts to dig into it.

Waiting for Beloved to come with his shovel
I put each of the pots where I wanted them to be planted and pretty much 'closed up shop' until Beloved would be done with work for the day.  Since he works from his home office, he was able to keep an eye on my activities but didn't have the freedom to grab his shovel and dig until late afternoon.

any digging we do is with care so as to not damage the irrigation drip lines--
see the black hose coming out the bottom of the bush

While I waited for him, I cleared more rock, this time in the front yard. We had one dying bush that needed to be thrown out and two healthy ones to be relocated to the back yard. I had become a rock-moving marvel by that time, so clearing the way for Beloved's shovel was easy.

Beloved digs the hole for the Hibiscus bush
How many times over our 44 years of marriage have I said to Beloved, "It's so good to have a man around the house!" (countless times, countless!)

plants in the ground and mulch at the base of each one

He made relatively short work of digging the holes and I followed close behind with "good dirt" (from the Home and Garden Center) combined with a product called "clay buster," and mulch. He then transplanted the 2 small bushes from the front yard.

3 new spreading Junipers in the front yard and the yellow Coreopsis bush.
As for the black box by the solar light, that's a poison trap for the voles that
are absolutely terrible in our neighborhood. Voles are like gophers.

On Saturday morning we got to an early start with plans to have everything finished by day's end. Beloved had bought some smaller landscaping timbers the day before and just as the Friday sun was setting, I held the wood steady as he sawed them to size.

I did not take sequential photos of the construction of the landscaping timbers around the perennial flower bed because I was too busy taking orders from the man-in-charge. But here is the finished result, after copious amounts of mulch were added as the finishing touch:

the completed perennial flower bed, complete with metal sun dial
You cannot tell from these pictures, but all of this rock is on a slope downward toward the wood fence, so it is especially important to have the wood timber frame to keep the rocks out of the mulch. There is a large dark rock in the top right of the picture. Beloved dug that up while preparing a hole for one of the lilies. Call it a souvenir reminder of just how rocky and clay-filled our soil really is.

In the process of this past week's work, one more design feature was added, something that was not planned until Saturday afternoon as we were winding down. Beloved's old wheelbarrow got a flat tire. I, not knowing much about such things, assumed it was time to buy a new wheelbarrow. I immediately made flea-market-type-decorating plans for the old tool, surprising Beloved, who planned to put more air into the tire with his air compressor.

Oh. You can do that? 

Of course. He'd done it before. It's easy.

But, well, I was thinking since the wheelbarrow is an old red color and rusting in many places ... well, I'd like to use it as a planter in the back yard for annuals.  Just drill some holes in it for drainage ....

Would you believe that he let me do that?! So we made yet another trip to buy a little more planting soil and some annuals.  Here is the finished result:

my wheelbarrow planter
Okay, we're done with the landscaping. Now we'll just take good care of it. 

Gardening is most definitely close to the heart of God our Creator, but right about now I'd like to take a nap with one of those grand babies in my arms...

gardening plaque from Sister on my birthday

Yes, unfortunately, the lovely plaque cracked badly when I pressed it into the soil, but it's still completely useful and I love it!

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely project!! You are right about holding a baby! Such a miracle!