Man, I really need to process photos more often. I wait to write blogs now because I noticed so few of them had photos to go along with them, but now I have so many pictures of all the fun things we've been doing and it's slightly overwhelming! Okay, must pace myself. Maybe I can make it a goal to write a blog every other day this week. Here's hoping. (And yes, I realize Birch STILL hasn't written a guest blog. This vexes me slightly, but he'll do it at some point. Patience, young Jedi.)
Annoyingly enough, I completely forgot to take pictures of the yard when we moved in almost a year ago. We must have been in a serious hurry to take out the eight inches of pea gravel that was filled with cat feces, not to mention the 10ft.-tall oleanders that were acting as a privacy screen simultaneously making it impossible to garden.
We (take that loosely as I was pregnant and horribly sick throughout the whole process) set to work. Birch dug out the gravel first and piled it into a back corner of the yard that doesn't get much sun year-round and then I sawed the oleanders to pieces leaving only the stumps (and some massive root systems) for Birch to pull up. And yes, that was absolutely 100% sexy to watch. All that took about a month to finish. Ugh.
Next, we fumbled about with different layouts. Sadly, Birch actually built several of them before we finally settled on one eight months later. One included a dog area (that was nixed fairly quickly seeing as neither of us wanted to dedicate the next few years to getting up at 6 a.m. to let Olive into her run to go to the bathroom. Opening the door is plenty at that hour, trust me. (Although it was pretty nice for parties when friends brought their dogs, too.) We pretty much ignored the garden in January and February. The combination of the holidays, my wonderful sister and her family visiting from North Yorkshire, my best friends' and my own baby showers, and still being sick left both Birch and I exhausted. Eventually we settled on a design (several grid sheets later) and Birch built some "raised" beds for winter vegetables. Fennel, lettuce, and beets (which didn't perform at all in our clay soil, even with all the compost we mixed in). We gorged ourselves on fennel and orange salads, as well as mixed green salads with miso dressing. Yum! Talk about a reason to look forward to winter!
Finally, spring sprung. My energy was back on track just as my body made it pretty much impossible for me to do any gardening. Thanks, Nature. So, Birch took the reins on the spring and summer crops. I managed to put in my two cents, extolling the virtues of having flowers in ones' garden. "To attract bees and butterflies!" I'd shout, then timidly add, "And you know, they're pretty." I'm such a girl. A pole bean tepee, three tomato plants (Caspian Pink, Mr. Stripey, and Black Crim), an artichoke, several various herbs and peppers all from seed, two grapevines, and a few choice flowers later, we were ready to give it a rest and have our baby boy.
Now, it's June and everything in the garden is doing marvelously (except the plum tree which is taking a cue from Monty Python and skipping spring, summer, and fall and going straight onto winter)! Birch, seemingly fueled by the sun and just the mere possibility of food, began grilling away, both at home and out. My best friend, Miriam, and her family come over often and we lounge about with our wee cubs as the men grill and drink beers ("watching the dogs"). These gatherings have become a staple to my sanity and are just plain fun! Not to mention they give me a reason to clean the house a bit, which is always a good thing, am I right? Each time I see the garden, it looks more and more beautiful and truly just what I envisioned. At least, it's right on track to what I envisioned. The rest of the yard needs to be "finished." The rabbit hutch installed, someday a deck, the container water garden established, and that darn plum tree should flower someday, too. Hopefully.
Isn't my man just the cutest? (You don't have to agree, but I think so.)
So, there you have it. With plenty of garden parties in the works and in our future, I'm sure you'll be sick of hearing about the garden by the end of summer. I've got some fun crafty things to share with you, too, so yeah. Be on the lookout. Or something.