I surveyed the front yard. Nothing but dirt. Walking around the house to the back yard, I was dwarfed by the tumbleweeds piled there…reaching the roof top.
This was our new home. The landscaping was my baby. I had never owned a yard before, so this would be interesting. I had one goal in mind; to create a yard that would be an oasis for me in this desert where we lived.
It took days to remove all the tumbleweeds. Then my husband decided he would tackle the underground sprinkler system. After talking with our neighbors, he quickly reneged on that idea. According to our sources, some landscaping companies would not even come to our neighborhood. Too many rocks. Too many broken trenchers.
After days of searching, we found someone willing to try. Sure enough…they broke a trencher. We were relieved when our sprinkler system was in place.
We cheated on the grass. It was delivered on a flatbed truck and rolled out on top of the dirt. Three down and two to go.
Our marriage passed the “putting up a fence together” test. What a sense of accomplishment when that job was completed.
Now it was my turn. With a curved border outlining the grass in both front and back yards, I had a defined area for my flowers, trees, shrubs and anything my heart desired.
I knew some things for sure. I wanted at least one maple tree. And I had to have lilac bushes. The rest I would learn from books and websites.
After observing the direction of the setting summer sun, we planted a maple tree in the southwest corner of the front yard. When it matured, I was sure it would shade the front porch.
Lilac bushes were planted on the east side of the back yard. I could hardly wait for their sweet scent to fill the air.
Two dogwoods graced the north side…one in front and one in back. Just a reminder to me of the wood used in making the cross. In the northwest and northeast corners of the back yard I planted Rose of Sharon. More biblical remembrances.
I learned what plants needed shade and which ones preferred full sun. Some wanted acid soil and others required alkaline. My desire was to have the back yard totally encased, giving me a cocoon for relaxing.
Visiting a nursery, we picked the brains of the salesperson. We finally chose two Silver Lindens as trees for shade from the morning sun. Our instructions were to dig a hole six feet wide and three feet deep. We hired a teenage boy. It took him all day. He refused to take a break. I took him water and offered him food, but he said, “My dad taught me to not leave a job until I’m finished.” And he didn’t.
When I looked out the window an hour later, he had somehow managed to remove a huge rock from the hole. It came to rest in our yard and provide a large seat for our grandchildren to sit on, dangling their feet.
During a severe wind storm, the Mountain Ash on the north side of the back yard split and knocked down the fence. More learning experience.
I watched green things sprout that, as they grew taller, I realized were volunteer trees. I love trees, so I let them grow. Big mistake. I could have pulled them up with one hand. It cost a lot of money to have them cut down when they extended into the neighbor’s yard and dropped very messy mulberries.
The flowers were a learning experience. Some made it. Some didn’t survive. I had one rule for them. No orange, red or yellow. Sometimes the pot was mislabeled and we ended up with a surprise color. It was short lived.
I created a haven for butterflies with flowers and “butterfly bushes”. The birds were given bushes with berries. As the trees grew larger, nests appeared in the branches.
One summer a few years ago, as I was working in the yard, a wonderful fragrance wafted by. I walked around the yard, sniffing; sticking my nose in the roses. Not them. Finally I followed my nose…and discovered it was the Linden trees. In the early part of July, they give off such a wonderful fragrance it fills the neighborhood. How delightful!
And that Maple tree that was planted for shade. After 14 years, the front porch is totally shaded from the evening sun.
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