Archive for June, 2011

Time flies by so fast.  The pre-tour for the Master Gardener’s “Through the Garden Gate” tour is this Saturday.  The official, public tour is the following Saturday, the 18th.  Mitch and I have been busy, developing new beds, planting, filling in, replanting and finish hardscaping.  This last week, we added 5 frog and fairy statues to the garden.  Duke, the black lab statue that my sister ordered for me to honor our dogs will be placed on Wednesday.  Right after Erica ordered it one of our dogs, Tumbles, passed away suddenly.  I think I am going to cry when the statue arrives!  We have yet to have a small burial for Tumbles’ ashes.  Mitch has been busy pressure washing.  It is amazing how dirty the eaves and vinyl fence were.  Mitch is also busy refinishing the outdoor furniture.  On Sunday he suggested that perhaps we should just buy new furniture.  Now that I have seen the condition of our furniture, I agree, but he has since decided that we need to stick with what we have.

Last night, we were working on my concept of a wine themed art piece.  I brought home 2 twisted metal stands that are primarily used for metal birdbaths.  I had envisioned a wine bottle pouring out on one and a wine glass ready to receive on the other.  Having never done any art like this, I waded in determined to see my idea through.  I bought epoxy and “glued” a bottle onto the first stake.  Then I filled the bottom/top of the bottle with fine gravel and put epoxy on that and placed an angled rock on that.  When that dried, I attempted to epoxy another wine bottle onto the rock.  That was the point at which Mitch intervened, as some portion of my creation had gone awry.  Apparently, I wasn’t applying the epoxy correctly.  I thought it worked like super glue.  Who knew there were 2 components and they had to mix!  So then Mitch got into the creative process.  He purchased more epoxy and last night we were ready to fasten the glass onto a base.  Mitch wanted to use the stem of a blue plastic wine glass as the base for the glass wine glass.  However, I had failed to mention that I wanted the wine bottle to be taller than the wine glass.  Remember, they are on the same height stake.  I had figured I would use a glass inverted on the stake, thereby making the wine glass basically it’s actual height not greater by the height of the “stem”.  Mitch thought it would be great to drill out the stem and screw it into/glue it to the stake.  I will admit, it did look a lot classier.  At some point during the epoxy process, Mitch thought it would be great to let it dry where it was actually going to reside.  So we traipsed outside at 9 or 9:30 at night.  It was getting very dark, so I had a flashlight.  As Mitch was preparing to sink the stakes in the ground, he realized what my concept was and that he would have to dig a deep hole to get the stake with the glass low enough for the bottle to pour into it.  So the two of us were manuevering a post hole digger, a flashlight, a stake with a non-hardened epoxy bound wineglass and another stake with the wine bottle.  Mitch kept pulling out soil, and a plant.  He kept going deeper, but it wasn’t deep enough.  He decided to pound the stake into the ground using a board (his foot wouldn’t fit in the hole to stomp it in) and a rubber mallet.  That didn’t quite get it deep enough, so he resorted to a hammer.  It was at that point that he broke the wineglass.  I had to giggle.  He was frustrated but not angry.  Here we were, out in the garden in the dark, with a flashlight trying to set-up this piece of art.  I realized I was married to the best guy in the world!  And we were having fun together.  Destructive perhaps, but still fun.  I enjoy creating with my husband.  When we really get into a project together, there isn’t anything that matches that.

Mitch is a very romantic sort (lucky me) and we have some wonderful “rituals”.  We visited the Chinese Garden in Portland and then had tea there.  That led to the purchase of tea leaves, a traditional tea pot, cups and a steeping cup.  We still enjoy tea together as a break from gardening.  We love to walk through the garden and decide what we are going to do.  Most people think we are wasting time, but we know that we are deciding together what we are going to do so that we only do it once.  When we haven’t had that process, we end up redesigning the bed multiple times.  Perhaps Mitch knows me better than I know myself.  He realizes that I need to think through the design until I come up with the perfect solution.  When I used to do landscape design for a living, I would agonize over the design until I was absolutely sick of it in the end and thought it was the very worst design possible.  It is hard to explain how someone can be so intimately involved in a creative process that they hate it when they are finished, but that is what I experienced.  Perhaps it is a defense mechanism.  I pour my entire soul into something but when I get to the criticism/judgement stage I cannot bear to have someone evaluate my design and I have to view it as fatally flawed.  That way, whatever the judgement it is still better than my expectation.  Okay, that’s kind of twisted!

All I know is…I have poured myself into this garden project as if I have something to prove.  Why can’t I be satisfied with the process and the fact that my garden has personality.  I live in fear of being the person who wears two conflicting plaid patterns and thinking it is high fashion.  What if everything that I have planted, and therefore everything I am-for my garden reflects my personality-is cheesy, hokey, white trash, neon butterfly, grandma bending over in bloomers artistic sentiment.  And I don’t realize how unfashionable I am.  I never have.  I’ve had an inkling but….  And not to disparage the other set.  When I drive by a house with so much clutter that it makes me nervous, I think to myself that they think they are fashionable just like I do.  They are expressing their personality.  Just like me.  And who is to judge who is more creative, who has better taste.  Isn’t it about enjoying what you have?  Somehow I still feel like I am in high school.  I’m overweight, dressed by my mom, and mousy.  That is the girl who is going to present her garden on tour to a group of dedicated gardeners.  I’m afraid I won’t measure up.  I’ve always been afraid of that.  And I’m ready to release that and say this is me, take it or leave it.

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Here we are in another week.  I am no longer distraught over Tumbles death but only sad.  Tipper has redeclared her affection for Mitch.  We have a visitor, Francis, my dad’s dog.  She is bringing companionship for Tipper.  Life is still very quiet.

On the landscaping front, Mitch has been hard at work.  Planting, planting, planting.  I think we are about done with planting.  Next on the agenda is pressure washing the other half of the vinyl fence, repainting the outdoor furniture and finishing the wine bottle sculptures.  My mom’s birthday is Saturday and we would like to take a day off together.  We’ll see what happens with that.  I think I am through bringing home plants.  We are now at the finishing stage.  I hope we peak at the right time!  I did find out that it is better for the owners of the gardens being toured to be present during the tour.  That is outside my box.  I may seem like a glory hound, but really I am very shy.  We’ll see how that plays out.  I’d like to give kudos to my “yard slave”, my faithful and dependable husband, Mitch.  He’s also extremely sexy, witty, and my best friend.  I couldn’t fathom life without him.  Thank you, Mitch!

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