It’s looking just the way I thought it would.
Jeeps broke his back building the wall, I broke my back removing the sod. We used all the rocks out of the old wall, and then scavenged the yard for every single rock we could find. We even considered the many crumbling stone walls in the acres of woods around our house that used to be farmland. We lacked a mule to haul them. We toiled on, stacked and dug, dug and stacked.
Jeeps stacked in unseasonable heat. I dug in the rain. He lost the nail on his pinky because a dropped a rock on it. I swear did something bad to my right tricep. We couldn’t move by 6PM every night; the kids ate cold cereal or pizza while we fell into bed like death, primed with 50 Advil each.
One thing about our marriage: when we have a shared vision of something, we make it happen.
We wanted an arbor for the gap in the wall. Jeeps is very particular about keeping hardscape in line with the mission/prairie style of our house. Translation: no white, frou-frou pickets or curved arches. I stepped back and let him find something, I’m usually fine with whatever he picks out anyway. And he found this sort of Japanese-style one:
I love it and I can totally picture a Sweet Autumn clematis clambering over it. Then we looked high and low for a bench that would go with the plan as well. We fell in love with this one, it’s gorgeous but way too expensive:
This one is smaller but more reasonably-priced and we dig the rising sun motif on the back:
So the idea is to walk in through the arbor, then there will be that circular, gravel path with the bench at the top, in the corner of the triangle. Apart from a few standing perennials that survived the construction, I get to build the beds up from scratch.
I’m starting with the circle bed in the center. I have about a $230 budget which is comprised of birthday money from my mother-in-law (she always gives a check for your age plus $100), and whatever cash I squirrel away or find in the laundry. And where else do you go to squander the stash but to Claire’s Garden Center?
(Cue Hallelujia chorus)
I love this place. This place is the bomb. I could spend $1,000 here in half an hour. Easily. But I only had $230 and after nights in bed with my garden books, pencil and paper, and the Claire’s catalog, I had a very definite plan and did not deviate. When I was tempted by other plants, I took pictures, took note of the price, and sternly told myself, “Another time. I said, ANOTHER TIME! PUT THAT DOWN!”
So here’s my vision for the circle:
It all started with the iris and the geum, because I discovered, sort of by accident, that they look really cool growing together. It’s not that their flowers look good together, in fact they bloom at different times; rather it’s the tall, spiky leaves of the iris and how the stems of the geum sort of disappear, leaving the bright red pom-poms floating in and around the spikes. I love how it looks and wanted to duplicate it in the new circle bed, but since it was the iris foliage I was interested in, I decided to get this really cool variegated kind. The red flowers against that green and yellow are going to be awesome.
I picked the rest of the plants to get a good stretch of flowers from spring to fall. The Brazilian buttonflowers will be the last to bloom; I actually started them from seed and technically they are annuals, but supposedly they self-sow really easily. If they don’t come back next year I can fill the space with asters or mums.
So that’s the vision. Here’s what I came home from Claire’s with:
And here’s where it all will go:
(Sigh)….Yeah, I know, the iris is tiny right now and I have to transplant the susans and echinacea from my other beds, and the buttons are still in the nursery pots. Besides some yarrow ‘Coronation Gold’, these are all the plants I’m buying. Maybe. [Editor’s note – PUT THAT DOWN!!] I’m going to establish the circle bed, divide or move some other existing perennials, and fill in the gaps with a lot of zinnias and sunflowers. I think I’ll put some supplemental squash plants down here too. Herbs, too. But it’s not going to look complete this year, I accept that. Eye on the vision, people, eye on the vision. To garden, you have to have vision and patience.
(And by the way, I fucking hate patience).