19 May 2009

Learning Patience Through a Garden Retrospective

I'm not a very patient person. I've never pretended to be. This ongoing litany of gardening projects, however, has helped me to cultivate me a dose of patience.

Gardening grounds me. I'm learning to wait from season to season to see how plants emerge, unfold and fit together. I'm learning to embrace labours that have no finite beginning and end.

When you're in the thick of it, you think that things have to happen immediately. When you step back and reflect, you realize that 3, 6 or 12 months is often a short amount of time to have completed all of this gardening change.

In 2006, this is what the front of our house looked like. We moved in that past fall and were excited to see what the garden would hold. Thank goodness for online photosharing because I hadn't saved this anywhere, but given that the irises are up, this was taken late May/early June (two weeks later than the rest of the images in this series.

Front Garden 2006
Front Garden 2006

What a mess! But, a lush mess nonetheless. What you can't see is that most of the green is a wild violet that we've spent the better of two years trying to eradicate. The pine tree in the middle was a intentional victim of the foundation waterproofing later that year.

One year later, the garden is bare. Very, very bald and naked by the foundation. We've pulled some things we didn't like. Maybe we added a plant here and there.

Front Garden 2007
Front Garden 2007

Another year passes and the garden sees more change. The evil wild violet is nearly gone, so now the bottom part of the garden near the road is empty. We've put in some plantings near the foundation that really haven't grown yet so they look puny. I love Lady's Mantle, Wifey love moss, so we've planted some of that.

Front Garden 2008
Front Garden 2008

We also really wanted a fence, not only as a nice little hardscaping feature, but we to let our dog out to roam freely in the backyard. I designed the fence and had it custom built. The basketball net is big and pops. It isn't supposed to be a landscaping feature, but it is. Something for me, something for the kids.

Now entering our fourth summer, more change abounds.

The foundation plants were all wrong so we ripped the three Emerald Gaiety euonymus out. In their place, we've planted three false cypresses and are plagued by "mini plants need to grow" syndrome. I finally got a Japanese Maple (see it poking out around the maple) and the mock orange that is now entering its 3rd summer is getting quite big and may actually produce some heavenly flowers this June.

Front Garden 2009
Front Garden 2009

We also decided that our garden was quite lackluster in the spring. I've begun to plant tulips and daffodils to put on a show. My limit is about 30-40 bulbs per year because digging them in, and amending clay soil, while trying to obscure all activity from squirrels isn't fun.

Front Garden from a Different Vantage 2009

It's looking lush and spring like. Well, that was two weeks ago when I took this picture. Now there's weeds. Lots of weeds taking over. Thank goodness I don't mind weeding, sorta.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely. I too am learning to appreciate the joys of patience through gardening. I could do without the weeding but planting, planning, getting my fingers dirty, staving off sunburn and falling into bedexhausted after a day of hard work, that I like.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!