Last night just before Kathy served grilled salmon, I stepped out on the deck with my camera to record a few things that please me. We've had a fantastic April in terms of beautiful working conditions and beautiful results from our repeated "nursery crawls" all over the metro area. Our favorite nursery still is the closest to us, Daniel's Farm and Nursery. They are not the biggest nursery around, but everything about their site, their people, and their plants resonates with our life histories of living in rural areas and getting to know "real" people who operate distinctive family businesses.
On one of our trips there a couple of weeks ago, we walked through one greenhouse devoted entirely to Hostas, and we walked out with eight pots of "First Frost" for the east-facing border of our patio. Here is the view straight down when you walk out of the dining room and cross the eight-foot-wide sitting area there.
There are the pavers that Steve and Tim laid last fall, and there is the new sod from Daniel's that came in the nick of time before the November rains provided all the watering needed. There is Hosta "First Frost" with cranesbill "Max Frei" growing next to it. Kathy has planted Max Frei at intervals between the clumps of First Frost. The powder blue leaves with cream accents make a perfectly composed emotional impression, and the small purple flowers of Max Frei lift that impression out of the merely sedate and into the sublime.
Here's a look at more of the border and more of the plants.
Looking beyond the patio, I see the product of Kathy's afternoon work on the bed she envisioned outside the basement and below the master bedroom. She laid out the curved stones at the end of the summer. This month a local youth brought more stones down and laid them in a row. Kathy didn't like the lack of symmetry, so she took a tape measure and moved the near end of the row out onto the grass a foot or so, making the bed of uniform depth. We're going to remove the old Hostas there and replace them with some majestic beauties, anchored by a dwarf Colorado blue spruce bush at the far end. We bought the bush this afternoon.
Our neighbor's son, Adam Dobbs, planted those two Japanese maples and helped with planting a dozen other trees last week. He's a great worker.
Looking in the other direction, there's our only shaded garden spot so far. This hillside was eroding from storm water that washed over the driveway in small surges and flowed through the blocks of that wall. In my previous blog post I showed the work on a new French drain in the flood side of that wall. Kathy has been working on that shade bed for a year, and it is really starting to show what it will look like when the plants grow in.
At the base of that hill is the veggie garden plot. Since it receives any runoff, it seldom dries out, and so it seldom is tillable. Kathy had one of our helpers move some bricks and blocks down there so that she can build five raised beds in that area.
Then looking to the right you see the daylily beds we planted in early June last year.
I am moving a lot of plants right now, and every time I dig a place in those beds, I encounter more of the buried rubble that was hauled in years ago to raise the level of the back yard. In a way, this back yard is "historic," if highway construction refuse is truly history. Why wouldn't it be? Whatever happens is part of the story and there's nothing that's outside the story of God's creation.
I am removing the clay I dig out of the hole and dumping it along the shoreline to build up the border there. I'm replacing the bad soil with a topsoil/compost mix from Daniel's Nursery.
Down on the shore Kathy has placed two white poles to mark the locations for two more smoke trees. We'll have a trio down there, two yellow and one deep purple.
Back up on the deck, we have creatures great and small who like inspecting the world from behind those comforting vertical bars. There's Topper, the immense and extremely conversational cat, with Lola the Poodle.
And there's Ginger, the resourceful hunter of birds and the lover of evening Netflix movies on the couch.
This is the cat who chose Kathy years ago in West Plains and who carries her mystique about her at all times. I am happy to be a part of those times!