Wednesday, June 30, 2010


My friend, M, who has this sort of 'character in a novel' opinion of me -- and by that I mean, she sees my entire character and as if she's writing my story she can envision me doing all sorts of things that I'm either already doing or hope to do one day.
A while ago she wrote about my new house and said she imagined me reading while drinking green tea and sitting near a flower garden of my own making. I laughed out loud at that vision as it stretched from Japan to my email inbox.
The email came as I was sitting in my living room, which was just far enough away from the unpacked boxes of clothes and office stuff still crammed in my office but not far enough away that I was able to forget about all of the things I hadn't accomplished yet. And here's M talking about flower gardens!
The previous owners did a few awesome things while they were there. They built a flower bed, planted three perennials in that bed, secured it with a blanket meant to keep out weeds and covered it in mulch. They also planted two big day lilies near the curb, also secured with a weed blanket and covered in mulch.
Because this is my first season as a homeowner, I was forced to take a 'wait and see' approach to the flower garden. I had no idea how many perennials were in the bed so I didn't want to waste too much time or money tinkering with it until I was sure everything that was going to poke through the soil had come up. I was also forced to wait by my amazing energy drain after months of fixing up the house and packing, so it worked well.
This past weekend a friend needed an ear and a chance to get out of the house. I quickly enlisted him in manual labor and unpacked all of the clothing boxes, built a garment rack and moved into the large closet off of the office. It took hours. Now the desk must be built so I can unpack the other office boxes...until the desk exists, there is no where to put said office stuff...
In the meantime, I bought a second flower basket to balance the basket my coworkers gave me a month ago, and I bought a half-flat of flowers. I didn't think I'd need any more than that because I was under the impression that the clematis plants were covering the garden with an ivy-like plant. Then I found out it was a weed...a very insidious weed that was actually choking all of the existing perennials. As shown below:

I knew I had to get rid of the weed blanket for two reasons: 1) it's not killing any weeds 2) I needed to get under it to plant the new flowers.
So last night, over the course of nearly two hours, I worked to get rid of the weed blanket, the old mulch and the massive ivy-like weeds.

Just getting cleaning up the mulch and rolling the blanket was a bit more labor-intensive than I'd imagined.

It took a lot of work with the garden shears, a lot of tugging and finally using an actual set of scissors to disentangle this weed from all of the actual plants. The roots looked like tree roots. When I was done, the pile of weeds stood about knee-high.

Wrapping up the blanket and the old mulch and weeds was one thing, wiggling it into a garbage bag was something the drivers sure enjoyed as they passed my front yard!
After a long, hard fight, I was finally able to recapture my flower bed in the name of flowers and perennials everywhere!

Now over the next couple of days I just have to pick up some more flowers, some new mulch and find the time in my schedule to finish this project!
It's funny, but for me, I couldn't really feel like a piece of property was mine until my fingers were caked with its dirt. When the worms squiggle away from you, the hard-packed earth parts beneath your tools and your very own roots start to stretch out -- it becomes yours.
So, while there are still cardboard boxes filled to the brim in this house, in the end, M was right. I would find the right ways and the right time to turn this house into my home. And last night I sat beside my flower garden, reading and drinking -- well, I had a cold beer -- okay? It was a little warm for the green tea, but the feeling that M 'wrote' for me was definitely there.

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