More In The Yard

Day’s Verse:
Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.
Do what I say and you’ll live well.
My teaching is as precious as your eyesight—guard it!
Write it out on the back of your hands;
etch it on the chambers of your heart.

Proverbs 7:1-4ish

Today I had a physical therapy appointment and they did something new: Tape on my right shoulder. It didn’t really feel like it did anything while I was there, but then I rode home on my bike, and noticed — hey, wait a sec, this is more comfortable. I didn’t think my back was much of a problem on the bike lately, but wearing the tape made me realize it could actually feel better.

That, however, is not the point of this post. The point is this. Here’s a picture of our back yard last September. Check out by the porch, all those green marble (?) slabs.


Here’s what I did today.
No Stones!


In short, I hauled all those green slabs from the back yard into the side of the driveway. They look like they came from a countertop. Then I weeded the interstices. The tape on my shoulder was noticeable there, too, in an “absence of shoulder pain” that I’d expect from that kind of activity. Pleasant surprise, there.

As I pulled up some of the rocks, it reminded me of looking into an ant farm. Zillions of tiny black ants scrambling frantically everywhere as I uprooted and hauled away their seemingly-permanent roof. They had established tunnels clearly visible, and a few of them the rock came away with a bunch of their little eggs, and ants frantically trying to rescue them. I brushed the eggs and ants off, not wanting ants all over as I moved the slabs, but I doubt it did them a favor, as I probably squished most of them. It was hard not to get distracted by watching all the interesting invertebrate life crawling all over as I moved rocks. I love watching bugs (from a distance).

Since I had my camera outside anyway, here are a couple pictures of our rain garden as it looks today.
Rain Garden 1

Rain Garden 2
See all the green?? I get excited every time I look out there. We did put a couple ferns in off in the back, but I don’t know that they’ll make it. They look pretty droopy. Yesterday it was had almost drained, but then we got a bunch of rain yesterday afternoon, and it filled up again. Notice the freshly-planted strawberries along the left side. That was yesterday’s project.

Camellia Buds
I clipped the one flower already produced. I’m hoping that these buds will pop out soon.

By the way, expect more talk about the yard for a little bit here. The weather’s more amenable to such work, and physically I’m not having trouble with this stuff yet. By July I may not be lifting heavy pieces of marble.

Gardening is Not My Forte

Day’s Verse:
You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.

Proverbs 6:6-ish

Yesterday, another dry but slightly more overcast day, I planted 15 new strawberry plants as a ground cover for the edge of the rain garden. That accounts for a little more than half of the area needed to be covered. I figured we might as well plant something delicious, since we have to put something in. Hopefully that doesn’t backfire and cover our yard in strawberries… but I figure, there are worse things to have take over your yard. I also have some strawberries in a raised bed, and now I’m kind of wishing I’d put something else there. Maybe I should do some other food, like lettuces or something, along the remaining length of the rain garden. Hmm.

I also took some steps to revive the camellia we transplanted into the front yard last summer. It’s got lots of flower buds, but ever since we planted it, the leaves have slowly been turning yellower. I thought perhaps it was shocked by the transplanting, so I waited over the winter to see if it improved; nope. So I’m trying fertilizer and compost, per the expert Molbak’s advice. I don’t want it to die, because the flowers are pretty — a simple reason, I guess, but generally I’m bad with plants, and I rarely make an effort to rescue sick plants. It’s saying a lot that I put in any effort for this one.

And, in our final plant-related news, the rain garden plants have started sprouting. I have to admit, it feels miraculous to me. We got them in late December as mere twigs — twigs in lots of dirt. Nary a spot of leafiness, even last season’s leaves still hanging on. But with hope, I planted them very carefully, according to rain garden-planting directions I have. The sedges started showing new growth first, but now almost everything (except the ferns, which I expect to die) have started showing small new leaves. I mean, yes, they still look like twigs, but they’re clearly living twigs, with the potential to become a lovely natural green space in suburbia. Of course, I still need to keep them alive through the summer.

Despite the fact that I’m not good at gardening and have minimal interest in yard work (with the result that our yard looks mediocre at best), I still continue to try to improve it incrementally. Maybe in another 10 or 15 years we’ll have something I genuinely like to see when I look out the window.