As the summer begins to end here in the desert and we dip below 100 degrees Fahrenheit a lot of things become discovered and uncovered. I begin to spend more time outside, it’s easier to work in the garden when the heat is not seering your lungs with every breath. Many of my plants did not survive the summer and I am reminded of the pain and depression that plagued me over the last few months of decent weather. This is a therapeutic time for me when I reflect on the past and also rediscover myself and my outlook on life. It is easy for me to become overwhelmed with the seemingly endless amount of work, however, this year I decided to attempt to do things differently. This has been a recurring theme in my life recently as I realize that I can no longer do things as I always have done. So this blog made my brain ring with some truth and some renewed insight.
I am currently working on 2 projects, my Mother’s garden and My Own. I’ll start with my Mother’s.
Last month I was commissioned by my mother to plant and design her garden as she was unable to because of a job commitment and later a broken leg. Many of you having read my blog know that it was in my Mother’s garden that I found my passion for gardening and a way of coping with my anxiety and depression. I have found a great peace and love within the redwood planks that make up her raised garden beds. My children, wife and I have spent countless hours watching the growth and eating the fresh veggies. It was also a combined effort between my Mom and I to plant and share a garden for Sarina the year she moved, it was to be Sarina’s first Christmas present from us. It was really daunting to see my Mother’s garden so unattended and overgrown, her plants had not been tended too since she had broken her leg in June.
Our first step was to clear out all the dead plants before we could begin preparing the soil… After clearing away all the dead plants we started preparing the soil. Lili was a great help, she added the gypsum, helped compact the soil…
and leveled the dirt.
Then it was time to find all the leaks in the watering system…
The process of drying out the over watered parts and waiting for the temperatures to dip below 100 degrees began. Sarina, My Mother and I began planning what veggies we would have in her garden utopia.
To read all about soil preparation click here
Meanwhile, I needed to begin working on my own neglected garden… It had become overgrown and under cared for as I had spent the majority of my time hunting Pokemon from the car and avoiding the heat and eventual demise of the things I had planted, having cleared the majority of the plants out of the Key garden it was time to tackle the cinderblock and tire section of the yard. Our main focus of the summer was spreading our grass and cutting down on the dirt and dust that accumulated in the house. While this was quite the feat, it also meant that the grass had taken over the garden as well.
As I stared at the daunting task and was momentarily overwhelmed by what lay ahead of me. There was just too much grass and overgrown weeds everywhere! The sunscreens had been blown over and weeds had grown through the burlap weed preventer we had used at the bottom of the tires. The back yard has been a huge undertaking. Nothing was alive in the entire backyard when we first moved in. There was dirt and dust for as far as the eye could see. Having two dogs and two kids, make mopping and dusting a never ending story. Attempting to grow grass has been quite the undertaking, to try and alter something that has been barren and neglected for so long requires a lot of dedication and commitment. Our landlord is marvelous in some areas however enhancing the exterior is not one of his priorities, alas it is one of mine.
Since my injury in early April I have had very little ability to work the gardens and the yard. At first Sarina and I thought that all we had managed to accomplish was making a huge mud pit for the dogs to play in and dig. Grass as evident from this picture had taken over the garden though.
As I begun to disassemble and weed whack the garden lots of different thoughts ran through my mind. Gardening is a lot like dealing with people. Often the most daunting tasks and the greatest amount of work uncover the most beautiful results. Buried beneath the weeds and debris are the ability to create something beautiful and rewarding. I reflected on my own situations to the whirling of the weed wacker and wondered what I might uncover. I was also blessed and grateful with the reminder that while I am not the easiest person to deal with there are those who have been placed in my life that have never given up on me. These thoughts kept up my desire to see this task to completion. I did what I could do and finished with a smile on my face and the discovery that the wild hot pepper tree is well and alive, my watermelon vine has small watermelons on it and is alive and well. The tires are awaiting a make-over. When dealing with people we often find ourselves in situations where it is easier to give up and walk away. While this is in fact the easiest choice often times these are the people who need our help the most. Gardening is not the easiest hobby, however, as it evolves and transforms it is the most rewarding.
One step may be small but transformation without surgery takes time, and stepping out of your comfort zone.
I can’t wait to recreate some of these memories.