Two years ago, when we did the walkthrough on the house, we oohhed and aahhed over the obvious stuff, like the greenhouse and the fireplace, but one of the things that caught Jen’s eye was the garden outside the kitchen window. When we first visited, there was a birdbath, a feeder, and a garden ringed by brown modular ABS plastic on the west lawn. (I say “west lawn” only to provide a sense of direction. It sounds grand to say that in a sentence: “We’ll have tea on the West Lawn.” In actuality, it’s a narrow strip of grass, bounded by a weedy, overgrown privet hedge.) When we returned for the walkthrough on the day of the signing, we noticed that everything had disappeared from the yard save the lovely brown garden edging and a patch of dry, dusty soil covered in squirrel holes.

Steadily, over the last two years, Jen’s been making the yard look better in between life events. This spring she hatched a plan to rehab the entire flowerbed. Last night we set the wheels in motion by removing the platic edging and replacing it with pressure-treated 2×8’s (which will have to do until we can mix cement and build the rock wall.) Next, we dumped six cubic yards of garden soil and tilled the whole pile as the sun was setting. Then, we measured and drove two lengths of PVC piping into the middle of the bed, and set the headboard of a $15 antique bedframe into the pipes. (My wife is so damned smart.) Finally, by the light of the moon, we replaced the plants in their complicated arrangement so that she could put them in the ground this morning.

Note the variety of plants in the above picture. Around the bedframe are sedum and other hearty perennials. Along the edge in front are a variety of herbs and smaller flowering perennials. In back, Jen planted some morning glory, a ton of gladiola bulbs, and other tall flowers.

Meanwhile, the Peapod delivery guy was circling our street trying to find the house, and finally pulled in the driveway after I flagged him down. I’d have to say that the experience of spending $80 at the store and returning home with three small bags of food is no different than having somebody deliver it to the front door, but the convenience of having the staples (milk, bread, tonic water, creamer, etc) is pretty cool. If we can offset the high price of Peapod by shopping at the Asian market for produce, we’ll be coming out ahead in my book.

Jen was able to get all the plants in the ground this morning (I don’t think she even finished her coffee, she was out the back door so fast) as well as a pile of bulbs that we bought this spring. (We have a ridiculous amount of bulbs, actually—some are still good and left over from my old house, where I had dreams of planting gladiolas in the back yard.) Before I left, I asked Jen to meet me for lunch today so that we could hit a garden center up here by work. We’ve been living with the selections at Lowe’s and Home Depot only because of proximity and budget, and there’s a hideously overpriced garden center in the ‘Ville that Jen bought from out of necessity. I’ve been Valley View once or twice but never took the time to really explore, so it was a new experience for us both. Think of the garden center at your local Home Depot and expand it by about 400%. Add a whole section for live fish (featuring koi the size of a small child), wholesale stone, and a live herb section larger than a drugstore, and you have this place. We loaded up two boxes full of plants and got out of there before we did any serious damage, but still wound up dropping $50. I think we both agreed to regroup and think out a strategy for the future, bceause the possibilities have just been expanded tenfold, and we still need to make the mortgage payment.

Date posted: April 27, 2005 | Filed under garden | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to Convenience and Overload.

  1. Linda says:

    Totally hear ye re: independent nurseries. I rationalize it via smug self-satisfaction at keeping my business in the community. 😉

    You know the nursery with the kickass motel chairs? I went there looking for some gerbera and couldn’t find any. Perplexed, I asked the manager since it was inconceivable that any nursery would be without something so common and popular. He told me he didn’t feel the of gerberas his distributor brought him were up to par, so he isn’t stocking them this year.

    I don’t think you’d ever find that kind of commitment to quality at Lowe’s.

  2. the idiot says:

    Heh. It’s funny how everybody is pushing the Gerber daisies right now. I was under the impression that they are really hard to grow (or at least, keep alive.) Is that true?

    It’s also funny how plants, much like clothes, are in fashion or out of fashion. Lantana was EVERYWHERE three years ago, and I haven’t seen but ten plants at three different stores this year.

  3. ren says:

    True about the nurseries…and the trends. That’s why I’ve gotten the start-from-seed bug, and have expanded into starting cuttings.

    Gerbera daises are impossible to keep alive up here, even in patio pots in full sun. I gave up on them.

  4. Linda says:

    Must be a climate/soil thing – gerbera grow fine down here. They’re hungrier than most blooms – gotta fertilize them once or even twice per week to keep them blooming. And they actually don’t like as much sun as you’d think.

    Deer don’t care for lantana … so you can’t walk 50 feet without seeing it in Austin. I like it fine, but certainly not well enough to see it constantly.

  5. tbtine says:

    I love my lantana standard. Much better as a tree than a bush in my opinion.

    Gerbera daisies don’t do so well here–but most everything in the daisy family has trouble here (zinnias, coreopsis, shasta daisies) because of the mildew problem in Catonsville. I’m taking a chance on the coreopsis again, but I’m not holding my breath.

  6. cath says:

    That looks beautiful!!! I wish I was getting dirty digging…U know Id be helping!!