I’m here to urge you to… do nothing. To paraphrase a particular shoe manufacturer, “Just don’t…”
I have never been, um, particularly spontaneous. Oh, if you call me and invite me to dinner, I can be ready at the drop of a mascara brush. Unlike my mother, who needed three days’ notice before going out, that I can manage to do with no notice whatsoever. I’ve also been known to be fairly spontaneous with buying stuff, which makes early morning coffee and the Internet a baaaaad thing.
No, I’m talking about the big stuff. The REALLY big stuff. Not. Spontaneous. At. All.
When we made the offer to buy our house and it was accepted, I threw up. Not kidding.
So, it should come as no surprise that, after Mr. Ex moved out, while I had the urge to make major changes like redo the entire house, or sell it, or move to wherever, I really did nothing for the first 16 months or so. That possibly may have also had something to do with the fact that, for much of the time, my mother was dying and I was otherwise preoccupied, but let’s just pretend that it was by choice, not completely by inertia.
When I finally got around to redoing the house in February, I knew what I wanted to do. I had lived with it for quite some time and let it speak to me. Seriously. That sounds hokey, but I did. I sat in its quiet rooms, just House and I, and let it kind of flow around me. And, when I did decide what to do, it was good. Not to paraphrase the bible or anything (it was good). I mean, I think God was kind of spontaneous, don’t you? Shouldn’t she have waited to see how the “let there be light” thing worked out before going with the animals, and people and all? Sorry…back to doing nothing.
Now – the yard. Last year, the first summer after Mr. Ex departed the premises, I hired a lawn service. I really don’t think I stepped foot into the yard more than a half-dozen times last summer (and that was probably just to pick up poop). I don’t really think I entertained out there, other than an occasional eating on the patio with my kids, if that.
This summer, more out of frugality than anything else, I took over the lawn duties. The frugality part is kind of funny, since I think I’ve spent quite a lot on yard stuff since becoming, um, intimate with it, but work with me here.
First came the mowing. I’ll admit, I don’t exactly find the lawn mowing part to be the ultimate zen experience. At first it was no big deal, but now, as the grass is rapidly growing and it seems that every day it’s either too hot to mow or raining, I’m not listing mowing as my favorite thing to do (a side note…if you go to Match.com, there’s a picture of a lovely young woman lying on the grass and it says “Mowing the lawn is very therapeutic.” Bullshit).
But the thing that mowing did get me to do was to pay attention to the yard, which is a very large space. Very large. With potential. I started to think about the things that could be done – more space for entertaining, some room for a butterfly garden, or a zen space…
The other thing is that, while I’m good with the mowing, I’m not good with the edging. I don’t like gas powered things, and I don’t want to spend much money on more lawn mowing equipment, so I don’t have an edger. And the problem with manual mowers is that they don’t get up close and personal with fences or other hardscaping, so you tend to have this unruly, unmowed edge around the lawn. I don’t care so much about the edges of the yard – it’s not a golf course, after all (which would be my new mantra. I’m thinking of having that put on a tee-shirt to wear while I’m – what else? – mowing). I have grass shears that I use around the patio, but I’ll be damned if I’m edging the whole yard that way.
So the edges of the yard – the three very long edges that are up against the fence – go unmowed.
Guess what? The not mowing part has given way to YARD SURPRISES! Little pretty presents from the unmowing fairies.
On the south fence, we have hostas. Lotsa-hostas. I seem to remember that they were growing there when we bought the house, but I guess we just kept mowing ’em down. And in the corner, right by the uglyshed, there are daylillies. Bloomin’ daylillies. Like a present.
Along the west fence we have some more more hostas, and I think there are some more daylillies trying to poke their little heads up. Comeon little guys…
Under the magnolia tree, there are some elephant hostas like I’ve never seen before. Biggest leaves ever. As soon as I start my experiments with hypertufa I’m picking a few of those babies to cast.
And along the north fence there are weeds. I think they’re weeds. But they’re interesting. And it’s not a golf course.
And, like I did with the house, I’m contemplating what exactly I want to do with the yard. So far I’ve done only one “permanent” thing, which was to plant a hydrangea next to the patio. It’s only as permanent as Tallulah will let it be, since she decided yesterday that it would be a good idea to dig it up. I think for the time being I’ll stick with container gardening and deciding what to do with the huge space I’ve got.
I’m not in any hurry.