We lived in Army quarters for years. For someone who grew up in a very rural area, living in such close proximity to other people presented some problems. I finally became accustomed to the noise and lights at night, people coming and going at all hours.
What I didn’t get used to was being unable to grow plants outside. Well, I could have a couple of window boxes, or a few annuals along the sidewalk. But I missed the big vegetable gardens and extensive flower beds I’d grown up with.
See, my family has lived right here in this area since the late 18th century. They’ve always farmed, and I used to visit with my grandmother during summers on the farm originally settled by Laban and Jane when they came here from Maryland. As a kid, I worked the fields right alongside my parents, and learned to appreciate, even depend on, the time spent in heavy physical labor with my mind free to build different worlds and my stories. Some would probably say I have the soil in my blood, and they’d probably be right.o999
It was only natural that I would miss that way of life desperately when I moved away from it. When the time came for Hubby to retire from the Army, we turned down several excellent job opportunities in favor of returning to my home town.
Being as realistic as possible, we bought a little house in the town, since we both worked in town. There wasn’t enough land to have a big vegetable garden, but I could have flowers. That first spring, I put in a little 6′ x 10′ garden between the house and sidewalk.
Each year, I added a little more, carefully selecting perennials and self-sowing annuals to minimize future expense and work. I even added to it during the years I was so horribly sick that I honestly thought I would die. It became my solace and escape.
These days, my entire front yard is one huge flower bed. And I’m getting ready to tear it all out.
I’ll keep one narrow strip along the front porch where Asiatic lilies and day lilies are accompanied by huge Dahlias and bordered by delicate annuals. The rest is going. Even the border hedge.
Nope, I’m not insane, though some would argue to the contrary. But I need space for 3 growing boys to play outside. Our back yard is fenced for the dogs – all 5 of them – and so not practical for the boys. So the front yard it is.
In a few weeks, a couple of garden-enthusiast friends and I will dig up all the roots and bulbs, and the friends will choose whatever they wish from them for their own gardens. Whatever’s left, I’ll find other homes for.
The soil, being “clean”, free from chemical fertilizers and pesticides, will remain in place, along with the border timbers.
Various earth-moving and construction toys will be added, along with sections of pipe and boards, a metric ton of cars and trucks, and lots of things to dig with.
Add three small boys, some rain, and mix well.
Okay, so maybe I am insane, just slightly. But they’re washable. And the fun and learning to be had are immeasurable.