Sunday, June 28, 2009

In which I finally show you what I've been babbling about for the past month, and then babble about it some more

Is it really Sunday night again already? Well crap; how did that happen? I very much enjoyed my long weekend last week; do I really have to wait until next week for another? I do? Damn. Life, she's a cruel and unfair beast sometimes, no?

The good news is that after this weekend, I will no longer be sweating away my Saturdays and Sundays on my yard beautification project. At least, not anymore this year, anyway. My backyard still lacks any welcoming character whatsoever, and my front yard could still use some shade-loving plants in the thus-far neglected areas, but people, I am TIRED of digging and clearing and planting and such, so I have decided that what I've done in the past month and a half is ENOUGH for now.

So then. What have I done? Well, since you asked...

This is what the area in front of my house looked like previously... three sad, random, anemic bushes with nothing but weeds and sparse, half-dead grass in between.



And here is that same area, bushes gone, grass cleared, area edged and newly planted.





Of course, the idea is that those tiny lumps below my window will grow into full-sized shrubs, and the flowers and other foliage in front of them will also expand to nestle up alongside them. These things take time, but here's hoping that time actually improves this landscape rather than diminishes it. The last time I planted a fraction of a paycheck's worth of perennials, only half of them came back the following year. Do you have any advice to help me ensure that these plants don't also vanish underground over the winter or die a similarly untimely death? No, seriously. There are probably tricks and techniques to this sort of thing, right? And yet, the extent of my plant-care knowledge is summed up in that classic Sesame Street clip: Duh, man, plants need water. Beyond that, it's a mystery to me. Is there something else I should be doing, other than watering? Is there a pagan ritual or plant-dance I should know about? I'm willing to try almost anything, so please do fill me in.

While I was already up to my elbows in dirt, I figured I'd do some maintenance on the perennials along the side of my house as well. I dug up the grass and weeds in this area to create this bed a few years ago, but obviously I had no idea what I was doing, because as I said, half of what I planted did not come back, and the other half was not actually organized particularly well. Either the purple salvia I planted has done exceedingly, unexpectedly, mutantly well, or, more likely, I didn't consult the "Estimated height" line on the information card when I bought it, because it had grown far higher than the day lilies I planted behind it, and the whole area was a bit ridiculous-looking, actually. So I spent my vacation day last week moving the day lilies to the front and spent yesterday afternoon planting pink coneflowers in their place. Cross your fingers that those coneflowers actually bloom (and also come back next year), will you? Or, again, fill me in on some trick or ritual, because I'd really rather not revisit this same perennial bed again next year.



While I'm pretending this is an HGTV blog, let's talk about my tomato plants, shall we? I may not have the greenest of thumbs, but I maintain high hopes for these. Here they are huddled up alongside my grill and hose reel, because I lack a proper patio to place them on (and one digging-up-my-yard project was quite enough for one year)...



Yesterday, when I went out to water them, I wondered just when I might start to see something that looks like a tomato on any of the stems, so I crouched down to take a closer look, and lo! Tiny tomatoes! It's like magic! They are a long way off from being edible, of course, but I consider those little green balls tiny hopes and promises anyway.



And let's see. What else did I do with my weekend? Well, Friday night I attended another lovely soiree at my good friend Carrie's place, where both the food and the company were fantastic and yet I neglected to take any pictures to serve as memories or proof.

Last night I decided I needed a evening off, so I made myself a frozen pizza and opened a bottle of wine and watched He's Just Not That into You on DVD. And OK, can I make a confession? I fully realize it was a purportedly terrible movie based on a terrible book. I am well aware that it received almost universally dismal reviews. But you know what? I didn't hate it. In fact, up until the last 15 minutes, I maybe even liked it. I can't say I related to any of the characters specifically (Lord help me, I hope I didn't relate to any of the characters specifically!), but I am wearied enough of dating that I suppose I related to the topics generally, and it was actually refreshing to see a movie that attempted to crush the myths and idealism we single girls have been fed for so long, rather than perpetuating them. That is, until the final 15 minutes, when (sorry; spoiler alert) two of the characters actually get exactly what they want, what they've been told the entire movie they cannot expect, which basically wrapped their stories up into a neat little Hollywood bow just like every other romantic comedy that came before. What's worse is I actually cried at one point near the end, and kept it up almost all the way through to when the credits rolled. Part of me is strangely grateful for the reaction, because I feel so jaded these days that I worry perhaps I'm now made of stone, but even so, I'd like to blame the tears on, I don't know, hormones? Wine? Heat exhaustion? Please do take your pick.

And that's about all that's on my mind lately. I've got a busy week ahead, busy with both fun things (the first trip of the season to the Pizza Farm, as well as a movie screening a friend is hosting in an area parking lot) and also routine, have-to-be-done things (my first haircut since February and another appointment to sit in the Saturn service center lounge for a couple of hours while they finally repair my A/C problem). So while usually I write a Sunday or Monday night post with earnest but ultimately false intentions that I will write another one or two before the week is out, this time I am fairly certain I won't log in again before the holiday weekend, so I wish you a fun and happy one, whatever you have planned.

17 comments:

Monkey said...

Great photos! Have a wonderful week!

Jules said...

You did a lot of work! It looks great!!

Shelly said...

I really liked He's Just Not That Into You, and for the reason you list - that it depicts some reality, not just Hollywood fantasy. And while yes, two characters get exactly what they're hoping for at the end, I think that's realistic, too. I mean, people do find each other and get married. There are still happy endings, they're just not all happy endings. Some of the characters ended that movie alone, and some ended it in new relationships that may or may not work out, and that's a lot more realistic than most Hollywood rom-coms.

lizgwiz said...

It looks lovely! I had a lot of salvia that I left behind in my last house, and I haven't been able to find a local nursery carrying the variety that I want, so I've been salvia-deprived. Hee.

Jess said...

This is all gorgeous! Too bad you've given it up because I was just going to suggest that you come to my house and do the same thing.

-R- said...

Now you can come over and do my yard!

Your yard looks great!

ediblecities said...

Great job, Stef! You must feel so relieved that all the planting is done. I hope they all grow beautiously. We'll have to work on that camera thing.

Sauntering Soul said...

Wow, your yard looks awesome! But trust me, you do not want any gardening advice from me so I can't help you figure out how to make them come back next year.

Courtney said...

Great work on the yard! HGTV will be out to do a special segment on your yard before you know it.

I'm glad to hear HJNTIY wasn't all bad, since it's on its way to me right now via Netflix. Normally I don't really do chick flicks, but sometimes I need some mindless entertainment, and it's good to hear I won't be completely wasting my time.

Shana said...

I bet the increase in property value will work out to a pretty good hourly rate for your toil, AND you get to enjoy the fruits of said toil. It looks great, all perfect and deliberate (so unlike my yard), but not all Stepford and overdone. Faboo, I say.

flurrious said...

Your front yard looks really good! I have a terrible shrub in front of my house that I'd like to pull up, but it helps to conceal my terrible siding, so I'm leaving it.

If you prune your tomato plants a bit, you'll get a higher yield. Every place that you see three stems coming from a node, pinch off the middle one (unless it already has flowers, then leave it and take one of the others).

Alice said...

your hard work has definitely paid off - it looks fantastic! the extent of my green thumb is "buy a plant for my mantle every few months, because the one i bought last never lives longer than 3 months." which is not a great track record and clearly means i have no useful advice on keeping things alive.

Allie said...

Wow! That looks fantastic!

If you ever feeling like heading out to Rochester to do some rogue gardening, let me know. :)

Poppy said...

SQUEEEEEE!

Need I say more?

Ok, fine.

I gasped and audibly said "oh, my!" several times as I looked through the photos. Wow! YAY, YOU!

Lara said...

Rob and I both kind of liked - and I may dare say loved - HJNTIY. (Can I abbreviate it like that?) I cried at the end, too, but then I cry at many things these days. For example: Rob bought me walnuts. He went out of his way to buy me walnuts, then chopped them so I could put them on a salad he made for me. He does not like nuts. Thus, I cried. WTF? Please, God, Get me out of this pharmaceutical nightmare.

Anywho. Sorry I just hijacked your comments and told my own story. I really want to go to your Pizza Farm.

Lara said...

Oh! I can't believe I commented on those things and NOT on your awesome yardwork! DUDE! I'm ridiculously impressed!

Whiskeymarie said...

I have a love/hate affair with the purple salvia (same kind you have). Once it gets established (2-3 years), then it gets HUGE and kind of droopy. Last year I totally cut back my 5+ year old stuff in the front and it looks MUCH better this year. I love it thought, because it can withstand draught, sun, and probably nuclear holocaust.

Good job on the gardening!