Tuesday, February 15, 2011

small things gracefully do grow

 As I said in the last post, we spent the weekend outside working. It wasn't intentional--I didn't set aside time on a to-do list marked "yard work" or anything. I just walked outside after breakfast to breathe in the fresh air. Then I wandered into the back yard. And I thought to myself for the umpteenth time, "I need more garden space. I hate pointless, weedy grass." And then I started marking off a square with spray paint on the grass. I found the shovel. I started to work.

One thing led to another, and now on top of two 4 x 12' raised beds and a smaller 5 x 5' bed, I have a big 12 x 12' square regular bed to work with. There will be loads of tomatoes, let me just say. I'm already drooling just thinking about it.

The coolest thing about the weekend, however, was what I found. You see, our property is bordered on 2 sides by a small forest that for some reason my boys call "the sneaky woods." For three quarters of the year it is an intractable mess of boggy ground, foul-smelling vines, spiders, snakes, and ferns. But for a few short months when it's dry, the vines are dead and the snakes are sleeping, it's possible to explore it a little. And what you find is years and years of people's junk laying around. See all those bricks bordering that big bed up there? All found in the woods. Most were in an old blue bathtub that's half-buried in the ground, the rest were scattered all over. It was like a treasure hunt finding exactly enough to go around the whole bed. After I found the bricks I wondered what else I might find back in there. So I went hunting again. I found a wide bucket with the bottom rusted out, perfect for burying in the ground for sweet potatoes (yes, I'm trying it again. Don't ask me why.)

I dug a pit a few feet deep, filled it with light soil and peat, and threw an old sweet potato vine in. The idea being the vine can grow up and be trellised, and the potatoes can grow down while being contained by the big bucket. Anyway, I found some old busted pavers and ringed it with them. It works for me.

Next, I found enough limestones to make a ring around my Meyer lemon tree, which made me happy because have you ever tried pricing rocks at a landscaping nursery? It's ridiculous. I mean, they're rocks. Rocks are everywhere, aren't they? Yeah, you'd think.

Next I found a hollow cypress log with a just big enough hole for a small pot, another old bucket that I've put some chocolate mint cuttings in, and a giant seashell. In the forest. Weird, eh? That's Florida for you. I put it with other random shells I've found here to make a little vignette. It's silly, but I like it. 

I know it's weird, but I really get a kick out of finding and re-purposing things. And when it comes to gardening I want mine to be lush and riotous and full of strange found objects.

And yet I want it to be orderly as well. Is that odd? I spent some time yesterday cleaning up the space where I keep my tools and pots and whatnot. The armadillos got into the fertilizer so there was chicken poop everywhere and it was just a mess back there. Having it all clean again makes me feel ready to work. 

I also planted some true mint, something that makes me long for summer. Last summer when we went to California on vacation, we spent the last few days at my mom's house making carbonated water with lemon and fresh mint sprigs from my mom's garden, and eating our weight in cherry tomatoes. This is about the time of the year when I start jonesing for a camping trip, and now mint will be forever associated with summer vacations for me.
 Last but not least, I leave you with some pictures of my pretty blueberry bushes. I just love the way the flowers look like tiny ruffled petticoats on the bare branches. Lovely!


AnneMarie said...

this seriously makes anyone who lives north extremely jealous! Enjoy your time planting!

mrs.deane said...

I love the last picture. You are right on about them looking like petticoats. So pretty.

Congratulations on a very productive breath of fresh air. :)

rachel.lyn said...

i love what you've done!! looks great. i want to go explore those woods with you and find cool things.

and as i was reading this i was sitting here remembering your tiny little potted garden on your apartment patio that "was not in westchase" and thinking "wow...God is so good."

you are one blessed mama!

ps- i had a dream about you last night. you were holding up a sign to your belly that read "DUE IN FEB 2012!" hahahahaha.....hmmm...?