Backyard Update

Our little green square

It has been a few weeks since I shared about our backyard shenanigans so I thought I would give you an update. I just cannot help it! Things are growing and sprouting and blooming and everyday is a different canvas of color and beauty.

We planted three crepe myrtles and didn’t expect to see much out of them, or any of the things we planted really, because it was so late in the year but low and behold we are being so very pleasantly surprised. The bright red blooms are such a fun pop of color along the back fence.

Oh my goodness, I cannot get enough of the hydrangeas either! I think I will definitely be making some fine art prints with some of these.

Even the African Iris’ have bloomed twice!

Rob and I typically start our mornings outside these days and despite it being the middle of July it is quite pleasant. We sip our coffee, listening to the pool fountain and when the breeze blows the sound of the big beautiful windchimes he surprised me with dances across the air. Inevitably, one or both of us will get up and wander over to the vegetable garden and poke around some, pulling weeds here and there , or exclaiming excitedly over some new growth or seed that has borne fruit. Someone once said that if you ever want to experience the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden. I have been far more pleased and enamoured by this work in our yard than I would have thought possible. There is a vaguely remembered childhood happiness that reconnects with my adult self…something about playing in the dirt and the satisfaction of connecting to the earth. Alfred Austin, an English poet best known for his works celebrating nature, was on to something when he said, “The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” In these trying times of ours, rabid with anxiety and uncertainty, I highly suggest growing something, anything. Even if it is just a potted house plant. You will be much the richer for it, I promise.

Sorry for the philosophical rabbit trail! Now onto the beauty of our vegetable garden. So far we have only harvested a few cucumbers that have been delicious, I might add. But we have been delighted to see our eggplants and peppers producing even if we haven’t reached the point of eating them yet.

I’m in the garden with my camera multiple times a week. I’m fascinated by the seemingly secret world that goes unnoticed unless one is looking for it. Everyday there is growth and change and something new in the ancient act of death out of life.

For sure there is hard work involved but it is a sweet labor that brings about a goodness that touches on all areas of life.

The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope. ~ Wendell Berry

Sprouting!

Our little green square

A little back story: my husband has worked really hard over the years to create a beautiful lawn. Yard work is his domain and a way for him to relax so when we bought our home almost six years ago we put in a sprinkler system and sod. Well, a little over a year ago this weed showed up that he just could not get rid of no matter what he tried. We ended up calling a landscaping guy we know who promptly pronounced the death of our yard. I cannot remember the name of the weed but basically once you get it the only way to get rid of it is to kill everything, grass included.

Knowing it would be a bit before we would be able to re-sod the only thing he continued to do was mow the lawn the rest of the summer. Let me tell you, that weed took over and our yard was U.G.L.Y. As winter turned into spring we started talking about what we were going to do to make it beautiful again. Two things were decided ~ first, we would sod the yard with zoysia grass. A little bit more expensive but very resistant to weeds but beautiful and thick. Second, we wanted to reconfigure the layout of our yard so that we needed less grass since even with a sprinkler system it can be difficult to keep it alive and healthy in Florida. We started talking about raised beds and small gardening. After three months of sweat and really hard work (mostly by him although I did help more than just telling him what I wanted) we have a new fence, a small garden area, some beautiful flower beds with African iris and hydrangea, and three new crepe myrtle trees. And my ferns! Y’all, one of my favorite things about this are the ferns we hung along the back fence.

We have a some finishing touches to put on it but overall the finished project has been a delight and we have enjoyed it so much!

We, and by we I mean Rob, tried some small gardening once but it has mostly been this romantic notion in our heads. But in our planning we decided we wanted to create a specific space to grow some veggies and even though it seemed sort of late in the season we put some stuff in the ground. We are the proud plant parents to cucumber, red & yellow bell peppers, sweet peppers and jalapenos, regular and white eggplant, sweet potatoes and a host of herbs. Thanks to the way Rob reconfigured and designed the sprinkler system each bed has its own drip line with little mini sprinklers so watering is a breeze! Yesterday morning I was outside and noticed one little watermelon sprout working its way through the dirt. Yesterday afternoon all three watermelons had sprouted and I was doing a dance as if I were the first person in the history of forever to put something in the ground and have it take root and grow. Started nosing around and found buds and flowers on almost everything we planted. Let me tell y’all, this is some kind of excitement and if you haven’t ever experienced it at least get a pot and some kind of plant and watch it grow! In the words of my friend Donna, “Life is good whether it is human, plant or animal.” I couldn’t agree more. It’s good for our souls.

We have some good friends with green thumbs who gifted a beautiful thornless blackberry bush. It was a little unhappy with the transplant to our yard at first but on the second morning it had noticeably perked up and we are pretty sure it’s going to like it’s new home. We planted it so that as it grows it can climb up the fence and be decorative as well as fruit producing.

All in all we are so pleased with the result of all the hard work. We do have some things we still want to do like finishing off that area in the middle of the veggie garden so we can have a lovely sitting area with a fire pit for in the fall and we also want to plant some wisteria along the other side fence.

Francis Bacon once said, “God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.” So far we are finding that to be true.