Gardening: In which I am over-ambitious

I’m working to turn the patchy part of my lawn, the bit under a huge silver maple tree, into a rock garden.

First, it took me over a year (a year!)* to find a goodly pile of rocks for edging the garden, and even then I had to use a bunch of rocks that were already here edging a different feature AND buy 54 pavers.** I did make the rock garden a *bit* bigger than I should have, as you’ll see, but still.

Here’s a very poor double pic of the proposed garden on the house side. The rock area and few plants at the base of the tree were there when I bought the house:


And that edging was all the rocks I could scavenge — in a year(!).

Here’s the garden from the street side, with the Extremely Heavy Pavers:

And that little bit on the left, about 1/4 of the total rock garden area, 1/3 if you count that already-rocked area under the tree as also finished (which, believe me, I am) is what I planted today. It’s three clumps of chives and a lot of hen and chicks, with more hen and chicks and two cold-hearty cacti to join them soon. I used newspaper to smother the grass, then topped it with topsoil (14 bags!). Luckily, I’m getting the plants for cheap and some for free from friends. Tomorrow’s project is to expand the area around the tree with 13 more assorted hosta and lots of river rock.

The next step is to do the area between the tree/hosta and the chives garden with river rocked areas and areas of assorted ground cover — phlox, thyme, and nettle (not the stinging kind). That will probably finish up my gardening budget for the summer — the area on the far side of the tree will just have to remain patchy and ugly until next spring. Luckily, I can get wood chips for free from the city.

And now, I’m taking my filthiness and walking the dogs before I settle into a lovely, soapy shower……

*In Nevada, you’d drive out into the desert and get some rocks. Here, every single inch of the state is farmland, practically, and people use their own rocks for outdoor decor. Rocks are damn hard to come by!

**They weigh 14 lbs each. After the first day of setting 16 of them, I was exhausted. Now, I’m in much better shape, slinging around 40 lb bags of topsoil like, well, like heavy bags, but I AM slinging them, which is something when you’re parked at a desk reading freshman essays 9 months of the year.

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3 responses »

  1. I remember quite clearly that when we lived in Lompoc, one of the adjacent neighbors (a man) used to enjoy sitting in a lawn chair in his yard watching Dad do monumental and complex yard projects, which then got moved to another part of the yard in the next year. Somehow, your entry reminds me of those days, seeing that old neighbor guy lift his beer in a toast as Dad would trudge by with a bag of mulch, a chunk of concrete, or something. If you get the urge to move this rock garden next year, promise me you’ll get help. Professional help. And I don’t mean a landscaper.

  2. Mmmmm. Chives. The best perennial ever: they don’t need care; they spread and spread; purty purple flowers. And you can eat them. Especially the flowers: toss ’em in heated olive oil, add liberally to your orzo. Purty purple dinner. Mmmmmm.

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