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Musings About Family, Travel And Gardening With Allen Martinson.


Make My Day

These are the quiet days, a major part of gardening, that I enjoy and get excited about. On these quiet days of winter I get a chance to think about what I’m going to do next instead of walking outside and seeing 50 things that need tending to in a hurry. Mimi and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this past October. I should say we let another date on the calendar pass us by without being able to do anything about it. We knew it was going to be a busy time of the year to celebrate a 30th so we agreed to pick a great spot to travel to later in the summer. We tried and tried to come up with that spot we would call a bucket list trip. We thought about Ecuador, climbing Kilimanjaro, Greece, back to the Himalaya or even Switzerland. We just can’t decide.

It’s a good thing because as we were having a quiet Saturday mulling over next big projects in our yard we realized our trip money is probably better spent in our backyard oasis. In order for us to be able to stay in the direction we are going with our yard we will have to build some more sea wall on our pond in order to begin the process in that part of our yard. We want our pea gravel walkways to join making a huge loop that we take for pleasure, tours or just getting around on our buggy to work some areas of the garden. Once the sea wall is built we can begin to mimic other sections of the yard that are close to or are a part of the pond. We will put a narrow stretch of zoysia next to the wall then a wide pea gravel path held in by steel borders like we’ve begun to use all over the yard.

We will roll out another strip of zoysia about 300 feet long. After that we begin making massive beds where we can figure out our design. We are beginning to like large swaths of the same plant up next to a large swath of something else with, perhaps a contrasting foliage color or texture such as burgundy against chartreuse or silver against dark green. We love having color from blooms in just the right spots but we try not to get hung up in trying to get our color from flowers. Getting color from the foliage gives us a year round show instead of a few weeks or months. Don’t get me wrong, we will have plenty color from flowers too. I will always add pockets of annual and perennial plantings for the big bangs of color. We love Limelight Hydrangas, Roses and  Camelias for permanent shots of big color. We love petunias, dahlia, Caladiums, creeping vinca and all those bedding plants that sing so loud . Right now our yard is full of a butter cream yellow pansy surrounded by bronze snap dragons with 100’s of foxgloves hiding in there for when their time comes early in the spring.

The long range plan is to one day wind up with strips and spots of lawn running through an otherwise heavily planted and covered yard. I’ve seen gardens like this and it looks like a different world to me where weeding and intensive yard work are kept to a minimum. That would be the goal. By the time all of this comes together I should be at an age where that’s exactly what I’ll be wanting to do, less. Instead of being forced to downsize to a zero lot line or a smaller house we should be able to manage this as we get closer to that age.

The other reason this came while “window farming” on one chilly Saturday is that we have a big big wedding coming up in our backyard this October! Max and Madeline are getting married so everything has to be beyond good. They have no idea what an honor it will be to host their big day in our heartbeat, our yard.

I dreamt that the kids might want to have their weddings in a place that we all built together. October is a great time to show off a yard, there all kinds of great things that we can have going on then. The Hydrangas and roses will be blooming and that gives us plenty time to plant that right flowers in the right places for the big colors. I imagine there will be a band, blues if I had to guess knowing them. There will be some dancing going on so I need to figure out a dance floor that will keep dizzy guests out of my flower beds! This backyard project was going to be fun anyway but now it’ll fun with a purpose.

We will get started on the sea wall in the next few weeks then it’ll be planting time, we will stay on this one to gradually turn it into something special for now and for our future. Honestly this is beginning to sound better than a big trip anyway. Travel right now looks a little dicey so we might as well see our great places nearby like Florida beaches and New Orleans. As it is we’d just rather be on our little slice of heaven right here in Ridgeland, those places will wait.

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