Death by landscaping

I am dead.

I’ve been working on a lovely introduction to this post referencing the Secret Garden and the joy of tending a neglected garden. But it’s not coming together for me, and I lack the mental power to make it work. Because I am dead.

You never heard any of the characters from the Secret Garden say, “I am dead. This garden has killed me.” Let’s be honest here, Ben probably said it, but Frances Hodgson Burnett did not include it in her story of love, childhood and horticulture.

In my story of love, adulthood, responsibility, country living and horticulture, landscaping has started.

The turn around has gone from mountain goat terrain to a blank slate, thanks mostly to our farmer with his heavy equipment.

Making a garden on our turnaround

I’ve weeded one flowerbed and my mother-in-law tackled two more. (All of the plant pots were left by the last owners. The plants are still alive, so I’ll be planting them soon on the blank slate of the turn around).

Weeding a flower garden

My father-in-law trimmed some of the trees and stumps around the pond. We still have a ways to go before we can actually mow the shore, but I’ve staked out the new fire pit, and we have lots of wood ready to burn.

Broken tree branch

Matt, my Dad and I dismantled one of our biggest rock piles on the property–and it only took us four hours.

Cleaning up a rock pile

I started building a new flower garden around the well head. And this is when I died.

Rock edged flower garden around a well head

Last year’s landscaping efforts were limited to some very cursory grass cutting. The property was unkempt when we bought it, and our neglect over the past year while we focused on the basement reno made it worse.

The amount of work required to bring a garden back after years and years of neglect is never mentioned in the Secret Garden. Sure there’s a bit of pruning and weeding, but mostly it’s romance and roses.

In the category of things get worse before they get better, even our efforts at clean up have led to more mess. Drilling the new well and trenching new waterlines destroyed one established flowerbed and left lumpy piles of very hard dirt in its place. Burning brush and scrap lumber as we’ve tried to pick up around the property resulted a mountain of ash and a half scorched spruce tree.

Landscaping was at the top of the list on my home goals for this year, and I will get a handle on the situation outside, even if it kills me.


13 thoughts on “Death by landscaping

  1. I LOVE the Secret Garden! My favorite version is the one Hallmark put out when I was little. I love when Mary wants to plants some flowers and she goes to her uncle and says, “Could I have a bit of earth?”.
    You are making great progress. Yard work is HARD WORK!

  2. Brave girl! I love your title. If it helps, even a little, even established properties sometimes get over run, like my bushes and rock filler around the back and side of my house. The bushes grow like weeds and are invasive so they are coming out. The “tile” bits that used to be around the base of the pool are slowly being piled at the road and also slowly being gathered up by those who need that kind of ground fill/cover. My hope is that someone, realizing the benefit to their project of rounded off pieces of red tile, will swoop down with a trailer and piles of hands to take them to their new home.

    In the meantime, soldier on. The during shots are great and the after ones will, as always, be super.


    Auntie Anne

  3. That can’t be against any kind of etiquette! 🙂
    Your garden is going to be wonderful! Good for you to throw yourself into it wholeheartedly. That’s what I need to do around here, too. We have a massive, neglected garden. Sharon started on it last summer (I was still inside, downsizing!) and found lots of potentially great beds planted by an old lady who lived here years ago, before a string of non-gardening tenants. But Sharon’s back is bad, and I know she’ll only get so far and I need to get determined about it, like you evidently have. Good for you!

    • I have to confess the determination and wholeheartedness lasted until about mid-summer. A scorching heatwave zapped my enthusiasm, and I never really got it back. Fall is a good time to do a clean out and get ready to go back at it in the spring. I’m sure Sharon would appreciate the help, just like I appreciate Matt’s help… and his comment.

      • You know what? Even if you only worked part of a summer in the garden, the benefits will still make a big difference. And Ontario heat waves could take it out of anyone! O.o I know from experience on that one.

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