Column: Gardening challenges awaitWell, it’s that time of the year again: time to square off with the yard. When I moved to St. Paul a year ago, I was thrilled I was going to have a yard for the first time. To be able to plant a garden. To buy pretty flowers and make flower beds outside the house.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Well, it’s that time of the year again: time to square off with the yard.
When I moved to St. Paul a year ago, I was thrilled I was going to have a yard for the first time. To be able to plant a garden. To buy pretty flowers and make flower beds outside the house.
And for the most part, I accomplished those things. But really, I didn’t know how much work – and money! – was involved in such an undertaking.
I thought about this all on Sunday. Since we had that really nice warm spell a couple weeks ago (which just happened to correspond with my staycation at home for a week) I knew it was just a matter of time before Yard and I were going to come head-to-head.
I went out to the garden one of those days, just to knock around a little bit. Kind of check things over. Since I’d never really had an in-ground garden before, I wasn’t sure what you were supposed to do at the end of the planting season, so I pretty much pulled up all the dead stuff and left it in a pile to be dealt with later. Well, now, it seems, is later. And I still don’t know what to do with it.
While I was out there, I noticed signs of life in the garden. My strawberries were starting to vine out. And it looks like they’re vining in places I maybe didn’t intend for them to be. My strawberry plants had always been confined to cute little clay pots before. Chalk that one up to something I need to research relatively soon, I guess.
I was going in through the back door when I noticed the lilac bush, which is really more like an unruly tree, seems to be budding already. I love lilacs, and I’m thrilled that there is a bush in the backyard. The only problem is, before The Beau bought the house, it was in foreclosure for three years and no one did anything to the yard, outside of mowing occasionally. I pulled out two overgrown bushes last year (I mean, really pulled them out, by hand, after severing the roots with hand tools) but I think we missed the window of opportunity to trim the lilac tree back last year, and I may have missed it again this year.
At least I like the lilacs. We’ve got a couple of other bushes in the front of the house that are well on the way to becoming Christmas trees. Those I don’t like as much.
Having a puppy will add a new twist to my already questionable knowledge about lawn care. I’m not sure how to go about resurrecting the grass, especially the yellow stuff. Add to that, last summer, long before we thought about getting a puppy, I planted two nice flowerbeds in the back and both are now home to various buried bones, and I have to really think this yard thing through.
I’m also not sure whether we’ll have a random crop of sunflowers popping up. The neighbor planted some right along the property line last summer. When the heads dried up and dropped seeds, those seeds dropped right into our yard.
Suffice it to say, I have my work cut out for me. The Beau takes care of the mowing and raking, but lets me be the creative one when it comes to planning the rest. Fortunately, I planted a lot of perennials last year, so at least I don’t have to spend so much this year.
Still, I get a little excited when I start thinking about everything I have to do to Yard. It’s a little on the therapeutic side, that digging and planting. And I frankly loved that continuous yield of fresh tomatoes, onions and zucchini. Not to mention, I like learning new things, so I enjoy the extra research.
The only thing I won’t enjoy is the allergies that have already started for me. It’s that time of the year for those, too.