Today I worked in the garden. Three hours of digging and transplanting and I finished all I had hoped to, and have been hobbling around with a sore back all afternoon. There is something about that creative process, and working with living plants (that don't always, or rarely, do what I want them to) that I find satisfying. And I never wear gloves, I love touching the dirt with my hands. When I find poison ivy to pull out, I just wait for Bryan.
My big challenge right now is the back bed next to the patio. The soil is clay, or a truer description: cement. And it's shady. Plants that will thrive here are few. I keep digging sickly plants out and moving them somewhere else. Plants that will live in this bed are few. These plants I yank out and toss, yank and toss. The bed is so immense, the dirt just swallows up the few green things I plant. If you know a plant that will really, truly, without fail, live anywhere - let me know!
Here's the bed the other day, after the rain. After days of rain the yard was like a river, and we had a waterfall in our own backyard. Ally and I were laughing about HGTV and our longstanding desire to have a water feature. The water alongside the house - it's all flowing. Rushing. Gurgling down the hill and into the gutter.
Here's my bed after today's work. There's something I'm not satisfied with, but I can't pinpoint the problem. I'm wondering if it's just that it all looks new?
I bought five new perennials this week. Two hosta and some spotted dead nettle. For the rest of the plants I divided things I already have growing in my yard, albeit they are growing in sunnier spots. Are they labeled "invasive?" Then that's the plant for me, and on that basis I dug up three bunches of Bee Balm and patted them in by the stone wall.
What I love about gardening is sharing and remembering. Siberian Iris from Sarah. Ruffled Daisy from my Grandma. Bellflowers and Sedum from my mom. Iris from Catherine. Antique Hollyhock, pictured right above, from Patty. Antique Hollyhocks also grace the gardens at Monticello in Virginia. The top flower is what my neighbor calls Native Orchid ("native" makes me laugh. When we looked at houses here we asked the Realtor what kind of stone we were seeing. Native stone. So there you have it. Don't know the real name, fall back on native. It's just here.) A walk in the garden is a sweet reminder of friendships, near and far. Because sadly I am the kind of person who digs up garden plants and hauls them across the country for memory's sake.
In my teeny-tiny veggie gardens I am anxiously watching the peas blossom, my mouth watering. We're eating our asparagus and tender lettuce leaves in salads and sandwiches. Can't wait for tomatoes, if they grow this year. If. I agree with Habakkuk, "Though the fig tree should not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vines...yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation."