After days of hard labor, interspersed with times of waiting for the rain to stop, a new Mesta Park garden iis now born.
Though the garden is still young, it shows promise of becoming a true beauty. When I took this task on, I had a blank slate full of hopes and dreams and questions. Big-time questions – like how best to kill the seeding Bermuda grass when our early cool weather created less than optimal conditions for use of a chemical solution.
In the end, I decided to dig rather than wait with hope that chemicals might work. I laid out 50 feet of sash cord to define my garden border, and with spade in hand; I begin to dig down past the roots and then slice horizontally to remove the soil, one shovel at a time. Defining the border was the east part. And the tenants of the duplex made sure I knew how much they loved the garden’s curvy lines.
Then I began the hard work of digging. The tenants, observing my progress from their perch on the porch, became carrier pigeons of progress from my hands to the ears of the duplex owner. A week into my digging, the upstairs tenant shared the owner’s interest in whether I had planted anything yet. She let me know she told him I was STILL digging. The downstairs tenant wondered out loud whether I had expanded my project just a tad. “Nope.” I told him the garden bed was ‘on task’, shaping up just as I had hoped and intended.
Fifty hours of digging, hoeing, raking and many pounds of pre-emergent later, I began to plant. But not at all what I had planned to use. I look back at that initial list and just laugh. This late in the season, I ended up buying the dregs and whatever was on sale that would complement and define the new garden bed’s shape. With Lowes marking all shrubs and perennials down half-priced for two weeks, I got a nice selection of plants for around $100 – in colors and shapes that will look nice against the rust-colored brick of this eighty year old duplex – that once established, will be drought tolerant and easy for the duplex tenants to maintain.
Ornamental grasses of all sizes, most with copper and tan colored plumes, will offer all-season interest: Maidenhair Grass, Fountain Grass and Mondo grass. Perennial bloomers of red and white and yellows graced from Autumn Sage, Coreopsis and Oriental Lilies. Eight Firepower Nandina shrubs are already dressed with some beautiful fall color. Thanks to Shroeder Wilson, the duplex inherited 5 yellow Day Lilies. And my own garden passed along 10 Black-eyed Susan plants. All of these, with the Lirope harvested from the Duplex’s own back yard, provided enough bones and room to grow for this garden’s first year of life. Some space was left for colorful annuals — presently the host of rust and yellow colored Pansies and Snapdragons — that invite the eye up the sidewalk to the two front doors.
As I look out my window to gaze upon this beauty in the making, I realize I did have a little fairy dust after all. It looked a lot like my husband, who was around for all the heavy lifting, as he worked by my side to install the steel edging to help keep the Bermuda out and unload 40 cubic feet of bark mulch. What else can I say? Except thank heavens for caring husbands who help make their wife’s big gardening dreams come true; and for duplex owners who aren’t afraid to say ‘yes’ to something that seems too good to be true.