Super Sow Sunday was a fun & frenzied success but last weekend was anything but fun having to put my eldest kitty down. It was time and certainly best as I didn't want him to suffer any more than he may have been at that point but it's still an utterly heartbreaking process to go through. He was 4 months shy of his 14th birthday; I was just 23 when I got him and am now nearing 37. He was a part of my life before gardening & my husband! I couldn't think strait much less write this weekly column but I've found my thoughts in my garden, which happens often when I'm sad or in need of healing.
Prior to Hurricane Irene last August, our back yard & my garden looked the best since we moved here. Hurricane Irene changed things drastically. Three trees fell on the other side of the fence (thankfully away from us) but their root systems pulled up a section of our back & side fences (which made the side fence & gate completely off kilter) and created a three foot sink-hole in that corner. Then the power company came along in the Fall and cleared away all of the over-grown brush on the other side of our back fence (in their access alley) to roughly three feet before our fence and took down most of the trees along-side it. (Had it been maintained all along there would have been no need to be as drastic and perhaps this area would have had its' power restored before a week's time had passed, but that's all a debate for another time and forum!) It could have been a lot worse and I'm thankful it wasn't, but it was still a hard pill to swallow.
All of these changes to the landscape left our yard disheveled and feeling very open to the street we live on. (It's really not but it feels that way as you can see more of the street from our yard vs being able to see into the yard from the street, especially when driving by). It also brought about people from the neighborhood taking walks over specifically to look through the chain-link fence into ours & our tenants yards as if we'd all just suddenly popped up out of no-where! (Yes, seriously! I know, talk about rude!) I started standing in our patio doorway waving at people & that seemed to stop the gawking pretty quickly but people are now using the alley as a short-cut, encroaching on the privacy we've had 5.5 years prior to the hurricane. (Makes me more than just a tad uncomfortable).
Ideas are beginning to collect. Lattice along the bottom half of the back fence, the length of the yard. Lots of climbers like Morning Glories & Moon Flower along that length of fence. Lemon Balm to fill in the gaps between the pavers that lead to the grill. (Seeds my friends! I'm all about affordable options in the garden). Four Azalea's to fill in the gaps along the back fence or four new Roses! (Maybe both!) On my Rose Radar so far for 2012 are the Biltmore Loretta Lynn Van Lear Floribunda Rose from Edmunds' roses (click here to view), the Sally Holmes Modern Shrub Rose (click here to view) as well as venturing into "cupped" roses (specific types not yet determined). And then there are Sedums. I love my Autumn Joy (10+ years & counting for the one on the front porch!) but I have seen so many pretty new kinds of Sedum in the catalogs I may just start collecting them! Soon I'll take photos of the back yard, print them out on 8.5"x11" paper, tape them together to create large panorama's & pencil in my idea's, something I do every year as Spring nears.
I'd love to hear what you are doing or planning right now for your gardens!
(PS: We will be on the road the next two coming weekends so I may not post again here until March 10th!)
NJ Zones 7a & 6b