Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thursday in the garden

From the front door the day after I moved in. Those were the pots from the balcony garden in S. Marinella. That little collection of a dozen has doubled.

A day spent digging in the garden, and all the troubles of the world just recede into the background.

I haven't actually turned earth and sod with a spade in... since... good grief, I don't even know, but it has been a damn long time. It might have still been the 90s.

My sitting-in-front-of-a-computer-all-day days have been cut down to three a week, and now that spring is here, I'm hoping that the other four days will be digging-in-the-dirt-and-getting-it-under-my-fingernails days. Or stomping-about-the-fields-watching-birds-and-collecting-wild-herbs days. Either way, I'm hoping that all the digging and stomping and generally being-outside is going to help my back and my brain, both of which have suffered somewhat from 15 years of staring at the little square Palantir.

I dug, pulled weeds, filled pots and transplanted seedlings, yanked and heaved out unknown root systems, heaved out big rocks and bags of earth, raked the last of the oak leaves and filled the first of many big planter boxes. Dug it down about five inches into the ground and will build up around it with stones and potting mix and plant out some of the leftover seeds around it.

Then I went to Vespers, then I went down to the garden centre to see what was on special, and got me my first climbing rose. Yessirree, the day of climbing roses has finally come. And sweet alyssum and some kind of purple-red flowering thing. Potted out my sunflower seedlings and transplanted another rose some friends gave me, as well as the potted herbs I bought, lemon thyme and salvia. The pansies I rescued half-dead from the garden centre are blooming mightily and the garden is spotted all around with sweet little bethlehem lilies.

I'm making plans. Most of the garden is on a steep slope, and the soil is the worst I've ever encountered. Calling it soil at all is being kind. The slope is so steep that most of the soil simply washes down, leaving sand and rocks. The weeds hold whatever's left in place. The solution, obviously, is terracing. And the way to do it is going to be the hard way. Which means a lot of spade work, and buying sturdy planter boxes and finding large stones and digging them in to the slope to create steps of flat to stop the erosion.

I have a four year lease on this place, and at the end of that, I'm thinking of buying a place (somehow) so everything I do here I want to have in boxes that I can dig up and take with me. But I want it to bloom in the meantime. You can do a lot with sturdy plastic planter boxes, and if you dig them in a bit, then pile up stones around them, lace the spaces between the stones with lots of potting soil and set up barriers pounded in deep to keep it all from washing down hill, you can make a rock garden where you can't see the ugly plastic boxes.

Anyway, at least I'll be getting a bit of upper-body exercise in.



Michael Demers said...

I like your blog but how come when I try to follow you on my Blogger reading list I get this message, "You have followed this URL, but we couldn't find a feed for it."?

Gerald said...

How lovely! Hilary, I wish I were there to help you with the terracing! The air is getting quite polluted here.

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...


I hate having too many people. So I've shut off all the "feed" options on the template. If you want to follow, you just have to come and look.

Michael Demers said...

Fair enough, thanks.

Mary Kay said...

Strange surprise for me: the duplex I am just purchasing has a back yard similar to your steep slope. As I plan to purchase another duplex in the next few years, to allow me to retire some day, I hope to take some of my plants with me. I will be sure to tell you if I find anything wonderful, since you have introduced me to some fun plants.