It was 65 degrees yesterday, and after a half hour of puttering in the garden I decided to just...sit. It is a rare thing, this lounging in the garden, especially in January. My new favorite spot in the garden is this tucked away corner between the fig tree and the gate spread with wood chips. My chair is there, and there is a high solid fence on two sides and the house on the third, leaving you feeling very snug and secure and able to look out at the hubub of the rest of the garden and the neighbors beyond without feeling drawn into it all. Plus it is warm and sheltered in the winter and shady in the summer.
The hubub of the garden
Milo and the dormant fig
The dogs joined me in my private spot, of course, because they can't stand to be where the people are not. So Otis sat next to me looking noble, and Milo crawled over me being a pest, and I enjoyed my half hour in the winter sun.
The tabletop garden began to bloom this week, aided by a couple of sweet little plants bought on impulse on a cold day that took me in the direction of the garden store. I felt entitled. It was my birthday, and I turned 40. It isn't that 40 feels particularly old these days, just that I felt I could treat myself, and the way I treat myself is with plants.
I treated myself, too, with a couple of hours of quality time with my shovel, peeling up turf along the property line where my front garden meets my neighbors' driveway. I flipped the turf over (flipped is an easy word for that work) so the overly lively roots will dry and freeze as they wave in the air, and hopefully begin to compost before spring. The plan was to put in a line of espalier cherry trees as a living fence. After a little research I was reminded why I don't yet have a cherry tree, and the plan has changed to a line of espalier pear trees - I think I'll go with three or four seckel pears, and Starking Delicious as a pollinator. No, I have never espalier'ed anything before. No, I have no idea how. Yes, I am sure I will do an atrocious job. And yet...I'm going to do it anyway. I'm entitled - I've turned 40.
Here is my winter garden - a few pots on tables and a shelf above the kitchen sink. I have thought of creating a winter jungle, with ferns and gardenias hanging in front of every sunny window, but each time I stand there in the nursery, looking at the plants, I always reach instead for an African violet and call it enough. I think it is because a little table of well behaved house plants is so compact, so undemanding, so need-free, that I am relieved to get my plant fix with so little investment.
A lot of investment? That would be my puny 1/5 of an acre, which (when combined with two dogs and a boy) is in constant danger of spinning off into vegetative chaos. Here is what has become of the patch of grass at the bottom of the stairs off the deck:
It has become Milo's chewatorium, his grassy mat where he drags all manner of chewable things, like Noah's toys, and destroys them. I can't bear to post a photo of what my poor garden looks like now due to that dog. Milo Garden-Wrecker.
I had an hour to myself today, and so spent it in the backyard pruning and clearing out the remainder of the dead and dried up stuff in the beds. An hour's work gained me this, a pile of some size:
In my next free hour I will have to bag it, and then call the city to schedule a pickup, and then remember to haul it to the curb on the appointed day. Really, maybe I should look into bonsai. Or terrariums.