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Thursday, June 14, 2007

the Farmer’s in the Dell

This last weekend was our annual condo home improvement extravaganza! We decided in late winter to pull out our unsuccessful lawn and put pavers in, surrounded by, hopefully a beautiful border. All through the Spring, the gardening has danced through my head, I love it so, and we finally got to it.

Myself and M groomed the borders — we started by salvaging what we could from the naturalizing day lilies that were by the fence and then I marked a curvy space with a spade all around two sides of the yard. We had a huge pile of weeds and rejects. D used a rented Home Depot tiller to break up the grass and then D & T bagged and shoveled it out and tilled once more.

Then, even though it is really late in the season, I transplanted my favorite purple leaf sand cherry from the front yard to the corner. What I found preparing the new spot was just amazing.

Our house was built about a decade ago over what we found out later was the remains of a fire. When the contractor finished the property, they put in, oh maybe, an inch or two of new top soil over backfill. As I dug in the most hard tack of surfaces, objects were revealed: door handles, bits of wood, bricks, fabric, a bone or two, rocks of all ages, iron spikes, nails, the trivia of a century or so that might better have been left alone.

Instead, I salvaged the most likely and dressed that Cherry Bush with what was dubbed the Ring of the Ancestors as a homage to the layers of history revealed by our change.

I think it was a lucky stroke because even though the Bush had a little transplant shock, it is now stretching and maybe wiggling roots below. I gave it a little haircut too.

More chipping and forking later in the east corner and there was a perrenial bed. We all emptied the soil from our multitude of deck containers (minus old stems, roots, etc.) on the surface and I tried to double-dig the lot (sort of like this but I used a tined fork) with some more bagged topsoil. I really got a workout! My DziaDzia taught me about double-digging before planting and if ever an area needed it, this was it. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Russian Sage, Veronica, Campanula and bronze-leaf Coral Bells will agree and next year we will have a lush oasis instead.

We ran out of day before the lust to plant was done so I did what any normal person would do: I cast on for a new project!

I was running out of steam though, and all I had energy for was the Lazy Grrlz Provisional Cast On:

Using scrap yarn, cast on the number of sts needed. Attach working yarn. Knit 1 row with new yarn to make stitches to be used later, then continue with chosen pattern. No fussy crochet chain. Barely any counting. Snip out scrap yarn later.

See you all when I get Back! I’m leaving on a Jet Plane, details to come…

16 responses to “Thursday, June 14, 2007”

  1. ~S says:

    Gardens are the best places to go and unwind with nature and it looks like your spaces are coming together quite nicely. Have you thought of Nepeta or Lavender (English/French type) for your space. I think both do well in your area and are not invasive and look good with lillies and sage. Speedwell is another nice addidtion, but I think it likes to be an annual. Have fun with the yard.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Looks great! I always find gardening very cathartic and relaxing. Safe travels!

  3. jeanne says:

    Oh, Bonne Marie, it’s going to be beautiful! I miss having a garden – working like a dog all day, getting major dirt under my nails, giving everything one last good drink as the sun goes down… then INSIDE for a bath, a manicure and a glass of wine, knowing that all my little seeds and sprouts are tucked in – heaven!

  4. Sonya says:

    Urban archeology is the best! I love how you put the salvaged pieces to use. Grow little plants, grow!

  5. brenda in toronto says:

    that Lazy Grrlz Provisional Cast On might be the best thing ever! thanks for posting it! i’ve only done one provisional cast on and it was such a nightmare i swore i’d never do another! wheeeee!

  6. I’ve always wondered if such a cast-on would work. Thanks for posting about it! Good luck with the gardening. Have you had many cicadas? They’re thick on the ground here in Wilmette.

  7. Patty says:

    Oh-My-Gawd, you are a genius! I’ve been putting off a shawl for my Mom b/c it had a provisional! Thank-you so much and have a great trip!

  8. Jane says:

    Gardens are very stress relieving and very relaxing especially if you get them taken care of like one of your little kids.

  9. Bonne Marie says:

    Ick-Cadas! I have seen none in town — but I drove through about a billion on River Rd. and Higgins out by the airport.

    EEEEE! They are awful — what a pheromone frenzy ;p

  10. Cathy-Cate says:

    Have a wonderful trip!

    Always up for trying a new provisional cast-on — thanks for sharing!

    And good luck with the garden! A no-longer-mystery plant (thanks to Tammy, a commenter on my blog!) that’s done very well in my garden without taking over is Penstemon (both a green-leaved and red-leaf variety). And I don’t do much in my garden except weed occasionally and water when things look wilty. I think the Penstemon should do well by you too, your climate is a touch more mild than mine.

  11. Tracey says:

    Ooh, where are you going? Thanks for the lazy cast on, definitely will be using that. I really am excited to see your paver project. The company I work for has an amazing hardscape crew, want me to send them over for ya?

  12. Carol says:

    Have a great trip! You did a great job on the planting:)

  13. TracyKM says:

    That cast on is sort of like casting on with waste yarn on the knitting machine! Sneaky!

  14. Melanie says:

    Thanks for the provisional cast on – even I can remember that, it makes sense.

    Like the artifact border in the garden – nice work.

    Have a great trip – hope it’s vacation..

  15. lisa says:

    Enjoy the rest of your trip – and don’t have too much fun!

  16. Jennifer says:

    The trip looks like it is so much fun! The billboards are ginormous!

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