I didn’t think we could grow plants in our back yard. I thought I wanted all grass and very little perimeter plants. I never thought my husband would spend the money for a professional landscaper. I thought I wanted the bird feeder in the place it has always been. Once I decided on imitation grass I thought I would want a large section of it. I thought my birds might leave if we installed imitation grass. I never thought re-imagining the borders between grass and plant beds would be so beautiful. I never thought I’d resurrect the hummingbird feeder half buried in the back yard, or find marbles that belonged to some of our children who now have children of their own, or that my own back yard might actually qualify to be called a garden.
I don’t have a green thumb. Anyone who knows me knows that I buy Boston ferns each year to hang from my porch for the wrens to nest in, and except for the bamboo plant my daughter Lena gave me years ago that I have managed to keep alive I don’t know how I can’t grow a thing. Neglect or over-watering is my style, mingled with lack of patience for a plant’s nature and how it wishes to be cared for.
But with Paul’s decision to open the wallet and bring a professional landscape designer onto our property, all that has changed. Someone who has a gift for the vision of what a transformed yard can be chose plants that can grow in our location, crafted flagstone landings and patios that are both useful and beautiful, and developed a river rock bed that functions perfectly as a drain while looking like it is there just for looks.
It’s all about perspective. Now that my knee is healed and I can walk in my lovely neighborhood again, now that we have amazing new plantscaping in our backyard, I’ve observed plants in other yards with an eye to what we have done and how it might look in the future.
I can’t believe I’m sitting on my deck watching the birds alight on the feeder in its new and improved location; the freshly washed hummingbird feeder with my homemade solution hangs invitingly in a new place; dappled sunlight points out bright orange Turks cap blooms; tiny pink ruellia flowers look hopeful as they await their turn under the water hose; boxwood shrubs stand firm and healthy, promising they will grow as high and wide as we wish. Our own native plants and shrubs look somehow new, slightly rearranged after a trim and some transplanting. Over all of it hovers my prayer of gratitude that we are able to afford the luxury of bringing in some of God’s best creation into our yard, letting the greenery get settled and happy in its new home.
We sat on the grass the first night after it was installed. Silly I know, but for over a decade I haven’t been able to do that in the back – too much dirt, too much overgrowth, too much au naturel as Paul would say. But now I can sit on soft grass under subtle lighting and marvel at the fact that I’m lounging in my own back yard – new bug-less grass that will consume zero water and provide limitless fun for us and grandkids. And the puppy.
The puppy. The puppy who arrived three weeks ago, just after the installation of the new landscaping. The puppy that my husband says will not be one to dig or tear up plants or cry at night. So far he hasn’t dug or torn plants or cried at night. Which is great, because he is making up for it with razor sharp teeth, poo and pee all over the back deck, and jumping up with open claws. But this blog isn’t about that. It’s all about perspective.