These were work all day long, every weekend for the first few years, gardens. Then we’d move.
It took me 3 years to eradicate the massive ground and tree covering carpet of English ivy I inherited in the last property. The funny thing is – each time I started planning a garden, I knew we wouldn’t stay. I was gardening with passion, but not completely. I was gardening to maybe sell a house. The people who just bought my house in Baltimore (who kindly read my e-letter) are saying,
“What? OMG – what would this place have looked like if she was only gardening to please herself and not the real estate agents?”
Haha – good question. I’ve never allowed myself to think that way.
I’m not a very selfish person, often to my detriment. I always think about everyone else first.
The colors I paint, the tiles I chose, the gardens I planted – all were unique in a trendy, fashionable way, but they were never the “real” me. “Oh boy!”, my husband says, as he sees the colors I’ve chosen for our new home north of Boston.
“Everything is so bright”, he says.
Well…if we are staying here, I want to smile every time I walk into the kitchen or wake up each morning. Is there something wrong with that? Let’s see how crazy you all think my new, happy color palette is:
And for the bathroom near my office, “Vegan” – could have been for the name alone, but it matches perfectly a painting of the Peace Rose I’ve had for years and the beautiful Mexican pottery sink they left us.
Because he was making fun, I let my husband choose the color for our dining room. He chose “Friendly Yellow” – let me tell you, it’s pretty, but as tame as it sounds. Haha! I had to let him chose something.
So, why did I choose such bright colors? Have I lost my mind?
I think the move depressed me a bit and I had been gardening and creating to please real estate agents for the past few years. It’s a bit of a color revolt for me. I LOVE them all and they make me smile.
Isn’t that what matters?
Since I told my husband I would go all Lorena Bobbitt on him if he decided to move us again, I think we are here for quite some time. I meant it. I can’t handle another move for a long time, unless it’s to a super-dooper – much better place, like Portland, Oregon or San Francisco or Bonn, Germany – and I know that ain’t gonna happen.
Let’s hope we stay here a while. Otherwise, we’ll be repainting to sell the house. Haha!
I really want to study the garden for a year, but I know that will kill me, so maybe half a year?
It’s certainly at it’s worst right now, so it can only get better, right? We have – once again – the most incredible crop of invasive, nasty weeds you could ever ask for. I’ve seen seedling Euonymys alatus (burning bush), Berberis thunbergii (barberry), Celastrus orbiculatus (oriental bittersweet), and Atemesia vulgaris (mugwort).
And that’s just what I’ve been able to identify this winter. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more come spring. My son is excited about the mugwort because I’ve introduced him to soba noodles made of mugwort and he loves them. He really loves eating them at school so he can tell the kids he’s eating noodles made of weeds. Hey – whatever it takes to get them to eat healthy, right?
Anyone know a good recipe for extracting the green from the mugwort?
What will I do? Where will I begin? I’ve been told there must be room to play lacrosse this time. OK, OK, I will abide – especially since I’ll be out there playing too.
Here’s my wish list of elements:
• Vegetable garden
• Compost area
• Chicken coop – still trying to figure out how to do this with a bird dog – any suggestions?
• A sunny border-for the coneflowers
• A shady border for the foam flowers and coral bells
• An herb patch or formal herb garden like I had in Baltimore. I so miss my herbs.
• A new patio – anyone know where I can get recycled paving materials here? I love to reuse and create with landscaper scraps…
• A small section of Walpole Works fencing and an arbor - a girl can dream, right?
• A fire pit
• A little pond for frogs
• A section for small fruits
• A proper raised trial bed for all of the new Plants Nouveau perennial introductions
• A mixed border to house all of the new woody plants my partner Linda Guy has brought into the line-up for 2012
• Lilies, lilies and more lilies – although there is a terrible lily leaf beetle here…so I’ve heard
• I forgot about the deer fence…a must have for the deer, turkeys, coyotes, and fisher cats
• A labyrinth – maybe?
• Lots of special hiding places for gazing balls and gnomes
Seems like a long list for little over a half acre, doesn’t it?
It seems so large and barren now. I’m sure I’ll fill it up fast. But I must resist planting this spring…at least a little. I want to study the land and know all of its good and bad traits before I dig in. I want to know where the dry and wet spots are. I want to search out any microclimates so that I can stretch the hardiness zones a little. I really want to get to know my land this time. Maybe it will mean fewer adjustments later on?
Probably not, right?
I’m hoping to start the master plan this spring, once everything is green and there’s leaves on the trees. But this time, I’m going to be a little selfish and make this a garden for me. After five gardens, I think I deserve it. I want to smile when I see the garden I’m about to create each and every day. Kind of like the paint colors I chose. I figure – if we move, I can sell off plants or plow it all over to make it more saleable…and there’s always paint.
Be a little selfish this holiday season and do some things to feed your soul and recharge. Paint your toenails lime green with red polka dots. Do something that will make your mother sigh. Buy yourself a little gift – something small and frivolous that you’ve always wanted, wrap it and put it under the tree. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, go play with the kittens in an animal shelter, or maybe welcome home some war veterans at the airport.
Whatever makes YOU happy. We don’t do enough recharging.
I don’t do enough. I feel guilty for doing anything that’s just for me. It’s silly. I miss my Thursdays in Baltimore harvesting vegetables for the homeless shelter. That fed my soul and provided fresh greens to the inner city folks who needed them most.
What feeds your soul? Do you know?
Here’s wishing you and yours a joyous, peaceful Hanukkah, a truly Merry Christmas and even happier, meaningful New Near. I’ll be back on January 3rd with my list of Must Have New Plants for 2012. I promise you, we have some extraordinary new plants to show off next year.
Until then, eat some cookies, get some rest, do something nice for your soul and Happy Weeding!
Partner, Plants Nouveau