SIGNS OF LIFE

Hooray!!! There are signs of life in the garden!  Not just the birds and squirrels that have been present throughout most of the winter, but actual flowers; some color other than the drab brown of dormant grass.

Soon I will be able to get out there and start working on one of the many projects that I have planned for this year.  Downsizing, mostly.  I decided, reluntantly, last autumn to go with quality rather than quantity.

When we moved into our present location many years ago there was nothing but unkempt lawn and overgrown shrubbery around the foundations of the house.  Having inherited my parents love for gardening, they had an awesome  garden when they lived in England,  I decided, with their help, to transform the property from blah to, hopefully, beautiful.

We started out small with a little rock garden where we planted spring bulbs; crocus, snowdrops, squill and grape hyacinth to name but a few.  We tore out the shrubbery and dug flower beds all the way around the house, planting daffodils, tulips, daylilies and iris.

Not content with that, I started ripping out great chunks of lawn.  The flower beds grew like some over-paid athlete on steroids.  Peonies, roses, oriental poppies, allium and dozens of other plants were added to the mix.

I sprinkled flower seeds around and saw zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, nigella, four-o-clocks and cleome come up almost overnight.  Throughout the year we collected the seeds from these and, after saving enough to sow again the following year, we would put the rest in envelopes, printed with names and pictures of contents, on a table by the sidewalk so anyone walking by could help themselves.

Taking care of all that was hard work but we enjoyed it and were happy to share the fruits of our labor with anyone who came by.  We live on a corner lot so there are always walkers going past and people driving their kids to the school just around the corner.

We’ve been included in a couple of garden club walks, had photographers stop by to take pictures, and a group of schoolteachers who paid us a visit.  I even had a woman arrive early one morning to ask if I could spare a few peony petals as her daughter was getting married that day and she thought it would be nice if they could scatter a few along the aisle in church.

Dad was in charge of cutting the grass.  Letting him loose on the flower beds was taking a bit of a chance as he had a tendency to dig up the plants and leave the weeds.  Mum helped with the weeding and deadheading and continued to do so right up until the day before she passed away. 

Now that they are both gone, and I’m feeling my age beginning to creep up on me, I figured I’d make things a bit easier on myself and convert some of the flower beds back into lawn. I started at the end of last year, grassing over one of the smaller beds. I managed to save most of the plants, cramming them in with the remaining stuff, but this year will be more of a challenge as I tackle the bed that runs the whole length of the front of the property. I suspect that I will be giving away a lot more than the usual perennial divisions this autumn.

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11 thoughts on “SIGNS OF LIFE

  1. I had to grass over two large beds in my yard. I felt like I was going in circles trying to keep up everything. This year I am doing a major push on the front yard. No more excuses for me. Would love to see more photos of you yard this spring.

  2. Congratulations that your hard work has paid off so well!

    The plot of land our trailer is on was left to fend for itself for the few years before we moved here, so I’ve tried to do what you have accomplished. We tilled the garden; I dug flowerbeds; we planted trees & shrubs. But we’re finding it a challenge to grow anything on this sandy soil which is also quite alkaline.

    We’ve managed to get the yard looking fairly nice until the end of July when the grasshoppers move in from the pasture beside us. Then they munch away at all our hard work. The deer chewed our trees & shrubs right down until we discovered they hate the smell of Irish Spring soap.

  3. Thank you for your comments, Christine! I’ll definitely try following your tip about the Irish Spring soap. We rarely see deer in the area, we’re just a little too far from the forest preserves for them to be a problem, but it may deter other animals from chewing on some of the larger plants.

  4. What a beautiful thing — to leave out seeds for passers-by, or passerbyers, or the people passing your house! You don’t have gophers?

  5. Total eye candy. I love the cottage garden design you and your parents created. And your mom will be beside you as you weed and deadhead the modified beds this year, as you share your seeds and your precious petals. She will be beside you, smiling, helping you.

    I lost my mom in May of last year. This Mother’s Day is going to be a toughie I fear – for both of us. Hearts open, like your beautiful flowers. That’s the way they’d want it.

  6. Thank you so much for those touching words, mayfly. Yes, days like Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas are the hardest to get through but I do feel very close to my mother when I’m working in the garden, she did so love being out there.

  7. We moved house in October. As spring arrives in CT, I find myself missing the perennial beds I’d worked so hard to establish over a 14 year time. Yes, I have a new place to create, but sometimes the work involved feels daunting. One step at a time…

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