I have an ever-evolving relationship with yard work. As a child, I loved raking leaves. I think this was due in large part to my dad’s genius way of capitalizing on child labor. As a teenager and into my late 20s I hated yard work. I couldn’t understand why people would waste their hard-earned money, and their time, working in the yard. Then we bought our house and had a little yard of our very own.
That’s when my attitude toward yard work began to change. The first spring and summer we were here, I didn’t really do anything with the yard. Nick mostly kept up with cutting the grass. I made a few half-hearted attempts to maintain the flowerbeds that we here when we bought the house, but I’m pretty sure I did more harm than good.
The following year, Nick’s grandmother (GrandMommy) got involved. I think she pitied our poor yard. GrandMommy has a knack for growing things, and a very practical approach to yard work. If she’d even hinted at all of the things we’d eventually be doing in yard back then I’d probably have been tempted to go along with Nick’s idea of concreting everything and calling it a day. Fortunately she didn’t, and we started slow.
The first year GrandMommy got me set up with my first ever herb garden. I think that was brilliant on her part. It was small, and meant that one small part of the yard became something I enjoyed and actually wanted to take care of. It also helped that most of the herbs seemed very easy to grow, and that I love to cook.
After that, we began adding something else in every year. Some years we’ve added a few things. It seems to be a very practical approach; start small, learn as you go, and don’t start so many new things at once that you can’t manage them. We’ve cleaned up and added flower beds, as well as raised beds for growing vegetables. And we’re slowly taking out things that just don’t work for us
With GrandMommy’s help, I’m learning which flowers I like, and how to properly care for them. I find myself enjoying the yard and being proud of how it looks. I’ve come to enjoy the flowers, and now I think the effort involved in growing them is absolutely worth it. I’ve finally had the experience of walking into the backyard and picking fresh vegetables to make for dinner.
It’s still a little early in the season for quite a few things here, but there’s still plenty of color and beauty right now. The azaleas and some of the peonies are blooming. Some of the basil and tomato plants are in the raised beds (with more waiting to be planted), and it’s almost time to plant the squash and zucchini seeds. I’m hoping to do that this weekend.
The biggest change in the yard this year, though, is how much I want to be in it. I want to plant things and fill the yard with colorful flowers. I find myself wanting to plant things and pull weeds when I come home from work. In previous summers, my "reward" for cutting the grass was getting to go inside, the promise to myself that once it was done I didn’t have to do more yard work for a while. This year, even though cutting the grass is hard and sweaty work, I don’t mind it as much. And my "reward" for getting that job done? Planting flowers, pulling weeds, potting little flower arrangements for the porch. I never thought I’d feel that way.
The yard actually wasn’t my original plan for my Y post, but I’ve been spending so much time in lately that it just seemed like the perfect post. And I’m ridiculously pleased with the little potted arrangements on the porch. I love the colors of the pots and the color combinations of the flowers. This is the first time I’ve potted arrangements myself, and I have to say I’m very pleased with the outcome.
So what about you? Do you enjoy working in the yard? Do you have very many things in bloom right now?