Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leaf by Leaf

It's deep into summertime, and the living is not exactly easy, but I forget about it all for a few minutes when I step out onto my porch. Every morning the first thing I do is wake up the dogs, or get woken up by one of the dogs, and take the pack outside. I sit on the edge of the porch and watch them run around. Inevitably I spend a few minutes scratching and petting each one. Toby comes up with the most absurdly cute ways to beg me to scratch his butt. Then I walk around and check all the plants, seeing the new leaf here and the flower buds there while my mind comes out of it's fog. I prune a few leaves off a bush, take off the spent buds, weave a long tendril of vine into the fence... During the day I sit out there at least a couple times, eating lunch or just hanging out with the dogs. At night after the sun goes down I water all the plants and enjoy the quiet night air. It's my happy place.

Remember what the house looked like before I bought it?
It may not be perfect yet, probably about a third or halfway to my final visualized goal for it, but I'm so proud of how far we've come together.
That bush in the middle still looks scraggly, but what you can't see is all the gorgeous purple flowers all over it and the long graceful trunk it has now. It's become an ornamental tree, whereas before it was a huge round messy shrub. I've thought about taking it out, but those purple blooms are so nice in the summer. The vines are still there too, and in a way I hate their inherent messiness too, but they can't be got rid of without poisoning the ground, and that won't fly. The honeysuckle on the right was a massive mound on the fence about a foot and a half deep and 6 feet wide, weighting down the fence and full of old dead sections. So, this past winter I cut it all off leaving only the large core stems. As it grew back out I wound the pieces into the fence. Every morning I wound the next few inches into place. You'd be shocked how fast vines grow!! They're starting to turn that old chain link fence into a green flowering fence. I kind of like it.
The garden next to the house has slowly transformed too.

I've turned the bushes I kept into topiary bushes, sculpting them into cubes and spheres. I cleared off all the lower branches on the big bush next to the door and have worked the top into a cool round shape, opening up the space so I can eventually plant flowers underneath it while also improving safety because now no-one can hide behind it! (keeping a dark hiding spot next to the door? really? that's asking for trouble.) The yellow climbing rose is climbing up the white post on the porch and there's a number of great flowers in pots. Marco and I got that big pot on the left at a mexican bazaar on Jefferson St. for $7!

There are not a lot of flowers in the garden yet. My mom gave me gorgeous red easter lillies that have already bloomed and some flowers she calls Painted Dancing Ladies that will come up in the fall. My Aunt Kathy gave me some lillies too that will bloom next year. Hopefully people I love will keep giving me perrinials to slowly fill my garden with plants I won't have to repurchase flowers every year and will be reminded constantly of the people and places I love.
We've put a fountain on the corner too! (you can kind-of see it in this shot. Better pictures soon) I found it in a cool junk shop near my house that was going out of business, so I got it for a great deal that included delivery. (thanks Joe!) It's entirely cast iron, which means neither myself, the dogs, nor the December ice storms will be able to damage it. I painted it with two layers of Rustoleum spray paint to protect against rust and seal up any that had started, then brushed on exterior paint in a brick red to incorporate it into the current aesthetic. The dogs love to play in it when they get hot! Hopefully we'll get a pump soon and have it flowing, but it's still gorgeous just as pools of water now.
And along the fence line that's covering with honeysuckle, the caladium bulbs I planted months ago are popping up. Caladiums always remind me of my mother because she always planted them in the garden when I was growing up. Soon there will be a row of green red and white leaves fluttering in the wind all along the fence. I'm not sure what happened to the giant purple iris bulbs. You win some you lose some.


My friend Kim is a high school English teacher and she pointed out the other day that her career has a clear set path that comes with a consistent schedule and easily understood progression. My career, if you can call it that, has no clear path. It must be innovatively pulled together along the way, gathering information, cultivating skills, and making shit up as you go along. Much like the renovation of my house. I've been focusing a lot on that part of my life this last week by sewing and making plans and trying to make money, and will be back at work on the kitchen putting in tile and painting as soon as possible. Until then I'm cultivating my garden. Unlike construction supplies time and water don't cost much, but when lovingly and attentively applied to a garden they yield very rewarding results. Like me, most people can't afford to re-sod the yard in St. Augustine grass and have landscapers plant an instantly lush garden, and most of us don't have a corporate ladder set out for us and will never climb into plush corporate careers with pre-established perks but careful nurturing of what you naturally have can, over time, blossom into something much more lovely and entirely your own.
Or at least that's the plan.
It's working in the garden. Time will tell if it works out in life too!

No comments:

Post a Comment