4 min read

All the Good Reminders

Life blooms at 615.
All the Good Reminders
Photo from this evening.

I spent a good chuck of the weekend working the garden of 615, cleaning up what needed taking out, shoring up this and that, and adding mulch in bald spots.

A lot of it involved running into what I affectionately call "Val rocks." Our dear neighbor Val – who is not dead, merely relocated to California – just loved to collect rocks, and she put many of them in her garden.

There's our house in the background. Soon I will get to our garden!

As the garden became overgrown in the last couple of years, many of the rocks were obscured with growth and detritus. I dug a lot loose today and set them up where they were supposed to be, along the edges of the beds.

Some of the gardening involved reminders of where we've been in the last four months with the house. For example, I cut back the dead parts of a flowering bush just to the west of the new central air conditioner. The white blossoms are luscious right now.

Miraculously, the clematis survived the electricians' accidental assault when the new service was installed for the house. I wasn't even sure the mess of vines I came upon yesterday was that clematis, but friend Bobby stopped by with his plant-identifying app and checked. The app confirmed the identification and added, "This plant needs help." We laughed. It sure did.

Today, we gave it help using old poles from 615 and strung them up with twine. It now has something to climb. It wasn't easy getting the poles into the ground because...Val rocks. But we managed.

The mint, as you can see, is none the worse for wear. Note also the new redbud planted to fill a gap.

Closer to the street, just to the side of the sunroom, we also have a beautiful new Japanese maple planted by Tom Morgan of Bud, Branch & Blossom:

This photo doesn't really do it justice. It is an elegantly shaped tree (it looks so dull in this photo!) and will thrive there. Tom also planted those hot-yellow bushes that look terrific in that spot. I can't remember what those are called.

Yesterday, I also boosted the blooming lilacs up onto the new trellis out back.

The trellis marks the walkway between our backyard and 615's, and tromping back and forth along that path left me sentimental as heck. I miss Val and Ken so much now that it is spring, the time we would be back out in our gardens together, the time we would start to move our regular dinners together to the porches.

I also found myself missing neighbor Kevin, who died just before Christmas. How strange it felt to be gardening out front with no chance of running into Kevin. He had walked inside 615 with me as I was trying to figure out if we should buy the house and renovate it. He was the anchor of Sunset Lane.

But then I was reminded of something, namely that missing people is a reminder of the good you have had in your life, and the good you still have, and the good that is to come. I sucked up my tears and took some photos of what is blooming at 615:

We call these wild marigolds.
This flowering vine is climbing the old wood pile.
These bluebells look like a deer has been nibbling at them, but I don't see other signs of deer.
These little blue flowers have yellow eyes.
Here's a closer look at the lilac bunches on the new trellis.
This silly, beautiful columbine is growing in a crack in the driveway where the garage meets the carport.
I know they're purple, but I think these are called "pinks."
These furry little plants are showing up all over, lighting everything up with their petite, sunshine-yellow flowers.

Tomorrow morning should be busy. The tiler is due back to continue work on the first and second floor bathrooms. The drywaller is due back to work more on the kitchen. The insulation specialist is coming to fix the spots in the first floor bedroom/office where insulation came out as new wiring went in, and the framer is coming to oversee that, since he knows where those spots are.

Me, I'll be trying to keep track of everything to make sure we don't have to backtrack later. I hope all the guys coming and going will take a moment to appreciate the flowers and the rocks and the trees. It's so wonderful to live in a neighborhood where no one expects you to keep a tidy lawn. No one even wants you to, here.