Sunday, October 15, 2006

A New Garden Bed

Evelyn, Graham's barber, called the other day. In the course of the conver- sation, she asked if we wanted any plants from her garden. As all gardeners know, the Autumn is a perfect time to divide overgrown plants. As a result, all too often in small city lots we have too many plants for the space.

I never turn down plants. As it happens, in this case, I am building a new garden bed. I haven't actually started yet; the plants from Evelyn are a little early. But it will give me motivation. Seems I need that this year.

I have been procrastinating. I read somewhere that this isn't an excuse...we can label ourselves anything we wish, but it is still an excuse. So I will do as the article said...and just start. Somewhere. Anywhere. And then, things will flow from there.

My first step is to call Earthbank, for the soil I will need. Living on a city lot makes it hard to have the ingredients for a new garden bed at hand. I used to have piles where leaves and season's end plants would compost and build into beautiful, black mulch. But no more...that is a luxury I have no more room for, those compost piles. Our two small composters can in no way keep up with my requirements.

Once I have the soil delivered, I will feel the gardener's blood pumping...and I will be on my way. Rain, hail, won't matter then. With the silken, black soil and sometimes muddy black earth covering me from head to foot, the new bed will suddenly appear. What is bush and weeds right now, will emerge groomed and planted, looking as if it has always been there.

I will start with the huge Rock Pile, the leftovers from the backyard. It will have to be spread out and the Rocks planted. Then I will cut down Black- berry... I will not be able to completely eradicate it, though, nor do I want to. Birds love this berry, and as long as I can keep it in check, I will leave some of it there.

And then the Cork trees. The link I have given shows the living harvest that is taken from the bark of this Tree. The Trees in the side yard, where the new bed is going to be, have never been harvested, and their bark is still crumbly...and probably always will be, since these Trees will not be harvested. But they are beautiful, have their own funny personalities, and give us great privacy from our neighbours.

These Trees send out many babies, however. And I shall have to be ruthless with them...something I'm not good at. But if there is to be a bed here, there is no other choice.

Then, once I have a clear area, I will spread cardboard I have saved over the bed. This will cut down on the weeding that will, of course, be required later. Then I will spread the dirt, and mix compost and leaf mulch with the soil. I will place bulbs...daffodils, since this area is outside of the fence, where plentiful Deer populations abound...before I have all the soil in place. Saves me digging later on. And I will place the plants Evelyn gave us.

Then I will cover the whole thing with more soil...and there...we'll have a new bed. The Corks will be able to breathe...and they will receive the humidity they crave, while still retaining their dry feet.

Sounds like a lot of work. In years gone by, I would work at a project like this until it was finished, from dawn to dusk. But my body refuses to let me do that now...the arthritis will flare up. I think that is part of the reason I procrastinate so much now, when it comes to hard work. I can no longer work until the project is has to be done in small increments.

And I am impatient.

But life least I can still work hard for short periods of time. I am grateful for that.

Perhaps, by working slower, the new garden bed will show the care that may have been missing in my younger years, when I built quickly.

One thing for sure, this area will be welcoming, when it is complete, showing the neighbourhood that a gardener lives who can still build new garden beds, even through arthritis, procrastination, and middle age.


  1. Sounds like you've worked out a good way to build the bed with a minimum of effort on your part. I like the idea of the cardboard, as a great way to recycle and keep down weeding all at the same time. And who would have thought of putting down the bulbs before adding the rest of the dirt. I would have been digging away at each hole. Your way is much better.

  2. Yes, DB, those of us that are physically challenged in some way have to be resourceful. Preparing a bed in the traditional way takes physical strength.

    And that's something that is in short supply for me at times.

    As it is for you. I vote for you all the time at Blog Village!

  3. Anonymous5:51 p.m.

    Somehow I missed commenting on this one. I can fully understand the need for slowness and the impatience of it. Age and very bad eyesight (totally blind in one eye with very little in the other) have slowed me down, whereas once I could clear and redesign effortlessly now I'm struggling with just half an acre.
    Wish you well with your new beds.

  4. Sandy, the older I get,I find there are many people my age fighting health is no longer, as it was in my younger years, unusual.

    But we all manage to find a measure of acceptance, and we carry on.

    We may slow down, but eventually it all gets done!