Hot, tired, sweaty…and so sweet

“June has been more like August,” she writes, as the air conditioner kicks on for the 15th time this morning and the thermometer heads toward 87 with 11,000% humidity.

Sounds like the makings of a great story, huh?

Better than: “We’ve mulched our brains out the past few weeks — first a truckload of smelly, magical mushroom manure and then 4 truckloads of dark, delicious, wonderfully woodsy mulch.”

Both are true. I hope I burned a lot of calories, at least, because there wasn’t much time for regular walks or other workouts. (There was, however, plenty of time for burgers, wings, beer at the bar, and DQ Blizzards.)

It’s probably the most fun we have working all year. We love working outside and transforming the garden — the biggest project we’ve done with no “before” pictures to show our progress. But we know, and that’s all that matters.

Have a look — 5 years, 70 shrubs, and at least 150 perennials after we started, it’s starting to look like a real garden.

A few add-ons and highlights this year…

Mike created this holder for my upside-down tomato buckets from leftover wood from the swingset we dismantled a few years back (it still needs a coat of stain).  Wouldn’t you know, though, all the tomatoes (yours too) are in peril from the tomato blight again this year. Our neighbor reported that while she was off work last week (she’s a garden center manager at Wal-Mart), the store had to destroy all of its tomato plants because they had blight. She sprayed her plants yesterday (that’s her awesome veggie garden in the background of the driveway border, 3 pix up). I”m still trying to decide what to do. I’d hate to lose all this hard work.

We also went a little crazy at the concrete statuary store — nice items at nice prices.

I love Gregory, our new gargoyle, and his new pedestal, which is filling the gap between the mountain laurel and the azalea where the burning bush up and died a couple years ago. (Mike thinks the pedestal needs something bigger. I think the pedestal is fine, but maybe Gregory should sit sideways to show off his cute little butt!)

I also really liked The Frog Prince…so regal.

And I just couldn’t resist the Tweedles (Dee and Dum). (My sister said they looked like Jiminy Cricket or grasshoppers or something…sheesh.)

We’ve even had some pleasant surprises. I moved this hydrangea from the shade garden last fall after years of nothingness, and look…actual blooms! I’ve heard people say it’s been a great year for hydrangeas — guess they love all the rain and heat.

I can believe it, because this hydrangea appeared in back of our shed out of nowhere! I’m always thrilled with any volunteers, but we’ve never had anything like this.

Also, after having admired succulents in living wreaths and living walls for years, I tried my hand at planting some in our concrete planters. Very different from colorful annuals, and no telling how/if they’ll survive over the winter, but I really like them.

Finally, I always like a little “before and after.” Remember back in April when we worked hard to banish the heavy clay that turns the area next to the garage into the Dead Zone?

That was then…

This is now…

It’s amazing what 2 months — and Mother Nature — can do…plants and gardens are truly miracles.

Now (yawn!) we are feeling like resting on our laurels for a while — all we want to do is hang out, drink lattes and wine and margaritas and beer and… enjoy the (blurry) view. Of course, that doesn’t bode well for the REST of the house and projects in need of the same level of attention and TLC.

But those’ll have to wait. At least until the current bumper crop of blossoms goes by and the wilty summer doldrums set in. For now, I’m enjoying what has always been this chintz-lovin’-flower-fanatic-cottage-dwelling-wannabe’s biggest motivation to garden: being able to walk outside my door, wander around the yard a bit, and come back with this…for free!

I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
~ Emma Goldman


  1. mel said,

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    the laborious, sweaty efforts have paid off: you have created a thing of stunning beauty!!! this beats the stuff I’ve seen in gardens. how amazing! and you could be a floral arrangement artist to boot. AND you’re going to own it sooner?! I am speechless.

    enjoy the fruits. it’s so pretty I can taste it from the photos. ; )

  2. facie said,

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    What Mel said. B/w the bathroom and garden stuff, you two rocked it. Definitely, sip a few drinks and lounge around!

  3. jewels said,

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Your garden looks incredible! You should definitely sit out on that beautiful patio and enjoy some sangria. Your hard work has paid off. Enjoy!

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Thanks, everyone! We have been out enjoying the scenery as much as possible — quite a change for us.

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