Monthly Archives: June 2010

Garden-to-Be, Garden Actual

Came today the first return on a few years of alternating sloth and work on the small patch of south-facing dirt beneath our kitchen window. When I moved into this house, that hundred and fifty or so square feet between the house and the driveway was thin and weedy, with occasional daffodils and tulips around the edges, monstrously huge hostas at either corner, and two large tree stumps. I developed a plan.

garden_large

With enormous and invaluable advice and assistance from my father and brother, the pergola-to-be suggested in the above diagaram became Pergola Actual. Below it, that patch of dirt remained an eyesore, until I took it upon myself to investigate, and upon investigating, found that the weed patch had rooted itself well into a thin layer of topsoil that covered a long-lost attempt at a brick patio, itself laying atop a thin layer of sand, some scraps of weed-block fabric, and then clay and rock beneath. In a fit of ill-considered industry, I tore up the brick would-be patio foundations of the weed garden. To this removal, the weeds responded enthusiastically.

1_overgrown

With prodding and assistance from the Orientalist, I weeded the remnants of the patio, and covered the remaining dirt in newspaper and plastic for the winter.

2_side_blue

Note that the Godzilla hostas and one of the tree stumps at this point remain.

3_top_blue

The tree stump required the application of a heavy-duty brass-ratcheted nylon web cargo strap to one of the towing pintles on the Orientalist’s vehicle and the judicious application of low-transfer all-wheel drive. Of the Godzilla hostas, two became eight and now further line the driveway with the assistance of a nursery spade, a mattock, and a digging bar.

4_trench_dug

After some graph-paper stagulating, we cut the trench for the new retaining wall. This involved demo of scant remains of an old retaining wall; scabbed-together bricks and mortar halfassery that was in keeping with the quality of workmanship and upkeep on the rest of the house when I moved in.

5_started_wall

Note the initial use of the bowed 2 x 2 as a simulacrum of a level. That didn’t work so well, and we wound up tearing out most of those courses and starting over.

6_finished_wall

On the other hand, the use of an actual, real-life level treated us well, as much of a pain as it was to make sure that (1) each joint between bricks was level, (2) each brick was level left-to-right, and (3) each brick was level front-to-back.

7_gardenful

And so now we have a garden with its wall and with its fruits, pole beans and okra and peppers and tomatoes and cucumbers and squash.

8_fruits

The Orientalist and I took our first small bites tonight: the green-tint pattypan squash, sliced and broiled; the pole beans, steamed; and cut small in a salad with balsamic vinegar and tamari, the cucumbers.