Monday, June 23, 2008
For all the years we've lived in this house, we've never quite gotten around to dealing with all the weeds that sprang through the cracks in our patio. It was a chronic problem. When we didn't have children, we had plenty of time to spend pulling the weeds out, meticulously. One year I sprayed it down with toxic weed spray, but that wasn't something we wanted to do permanently. The past two summers, with children on board, we've been lucky if we can pull away the really tall ones before we have guests over.
Lately, though, we've decided we want the backyard to be more restful. On our honeymoon, we spent a few nights at a wonderful bed-and-breakfast in Monterey, California. Our room had a small, private garden, filled with plants and a small table and pair of chairs where we brought dinner one night. It felt magical, having a gorgeous space of our own outside, surrounded by beautiful flowers and wood trellises. It was an eye-opening experience, and after that, we kept wondering if we could make our garden more of an oasis like our garden in California. A place that makes us feel like we're on vacation, but without having to pack anything. With our climate, we certainly can't duplicate the California foliage, but we've been working, modestly, over the years, to turn more lawn areas into flowerbeds, create a row of patio pots and add to our mix of perennials. Last year, we added hydrangeas, which are everywhere in Minnesota. I can't wait to see the first puffy blossom.
Now we're on a roll. This weekend, we finally got rid of the patio weeds. Three of Steve's brothers (ably assisted by rake-wielding Daniel) came over and spent the morning lifting the patio tiles, raking the dirt underneath, trying to level out the areas lifted by roots from the old tree. They spread a pourous landscaping plastic over the dirt and replaced the tiles, and now we have a relatively flat — and weed-free — patio. And a patio table and chairs, too! Those, along with the canopy, were our summer treat to ourselves. (It's the Woodbridge collection at Lowe's, if anyone cares.) Sunday morning we spent the entire morning out there reading the paper and making sure Daniel didn't pull up all the flowers.
And this week, if everything goes according to schedule, the meager chain-link fence that separates our yard from the somewhat loud and public alleyway behind our house will be torn down and replaced by a six-foot cedar fence that will run along the back and up the side of our yard. That pickup truck you see in the background? Gone. We're going to have solid, gap-free gates that the boys can't slip through to escape. I cannot wait. I think that's when our yard is really going to feel like an oasis.