Friday, June 8, 2012

Getting My Hands Dirty

It might sound kinda weird but I like sticking my hands into things.

Like cookie dough.

And dirt.

I just like feeling the textures and smelling the rich smells. The trick of course is remember NOT to lick your fingers after playing in the dirt.

After work last night, Doug and I hopped in the car and headed to one of our many local nurseries. We were on a mission. We needed one boxwood shrub and a whole pile of pachysandras.

When we moved into our little house two years ago (I can hardly believe I just wrote two years ago), we had our font yard landscaped. We figured the professionals would do a much better job of designing and setting it up and we were right. We have a lovely yard AND we never have to mow a lawn again.

Over the course of that first summer, two problems arose with our lovely little garden.

Problem one - a row of boxwoods (4) were planted along the path to our front door. It took the neighbourhood dogs about 15 seconds to decide that the boxwood closest to the sidewalk would be the new water cooler where they would all stop and share their stories and the local gossip. Within a few weeks, the other three boxwoods were thriving and the first one was turning more and more yellow. The poor thing finally died after having been peed on several hundred times in succession.

I would have died too.

Problem two - we had all the grass removed from the boulevard and had pachysandras planted instead. I love the look of pachysandras as a ground cover. They're just so lush and such a nice green. We were told to be patient because it takes them a while to get established. So every few days I watered them, studied their every move and tried to convince myself that they were growing. Sending up new shoots. Preparing to fill our boulevard with lush green leaves. Not much happened that first summer except several of them died. The second summer, we ordered another load of mulch, piled it on the garden and watched the pachysandra die at an even faster rate. After a few weeks of this we pulled back the mulch only to discover a whole world of mould, mushrooms and other scary things that only grow where it is REALLY wet. Our poor plants were rotting. We turned the mulch trying to air it out and the plants stopped dying but they were looking pretty rough.

This spring, they still looked rather unwell so we decided that perhaps the problem was the black weed blanket thing that the landscapers put down under the mulch. We raked back the mulch and removed the blanket to discover a network of pachysandra roots and shoots that had probably spent the last two years trying to find their way through the material. So, as we enter year three of our front garden, everything looks lush and full except our pachysandra patch that is still struggling.

Last night we bought nine new pachysandra plants to fill in the gaps and hopefully speed up the ground cover process. And we bought a brand new boxwood shrub to replace the poor guy who died (of embarrassment or nitrogen overdose - we'll never know).

And I spent a happy hour with my hands in the dirt.

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