I discovered the love of gardening last year when I was at my lowest point in life. Depressed and in despair over the constant migraines, body aches and pains and you name it-it was bogging me down. I had yet to fully learn the coping skills I have in place now, so looking back at that time last year, this garden actually saved me! It made me feel productive even when I’d forget things constantly, I’d never forget each morning to go out and water my newly planted babies and take care of my established plants from prior planting a couple of years ago by my best friend Heidi. She planted Mum’s for me and the Daffodils and Crocus. Those plants are all lined up between the sidewalk and side of the garage. I think that’s why my Mum’s have come back each season for about 5 years now. But I had a purpose. I wanted to make the front more inviting as I had let it go. It basically became a mulch garden a few years ago by my husband and I hadn’t touched it since. After my mom passed in May 2003 I bought a concrete Angel statue and it was randomly placed in this area not knowing at that time what to do with it. When my dad passed in April 2005 I went to the same place I got the Angel and I got 2 large concrete stepping-stones. I had them willy nilly in the garden with no real placement.
(Pic#1 this is the front w/old mulch)
(Pic#2 Mulching in process)
(Pic#3 My garden stepping stones)
So in the spring of 2012 I decided I was going to do a Memorial Garden to honor the memory of my loving parents that I miss dearly. Their ashes are buried in the very southern tip of Missouri and to drive from this location in Michigan to there takes about 11 hours one way. And that was with my husband doing his heavy petal to the metal. We went down there on Memorial Day Weekend 2005 to bury their ashes in the family plot. That was their request and I was the executor of the Estate and I followed all of their verbal instructions they drilled into me for years to the letter. My Aunt that lives down there had already purchased their headstone at my dads request and he paid her. I thought it was morbid at the time him showing me the picture of the headstone in place with mom’s info filled out. It made me feel sad and empty. So when dad passed my Aunt said she’d fill out dad’s part instead of sending a card or flowers. It’s a very nice headstone, if you can call them nice. It’s black granite.
(Pic#1 The garden w/new mulch and new plants)
(Pic#2 Another view looking from the South)
(Pic#3 My Mums in early Sept after pruning all summer)
Anyway to move out of this morbid train of thought. It was just to give a little background to my garden planning. My mom loved the color pink and my dad loved red. I am partial to red, but I love blue and my best friend and sister like purple. My friend always loves my lavender I planted many years ago. It needs some major tending to now that I’ve learned after the fact you need to prune it, because now it has some woody growth to it. It needs a major pruning and I pray I can do it correctly w/o hurting it. I have always loved Lillie’s, especially the Asiatic ones. I like the Day Lillie’s too with all the different colors they have. So along the garage side I added 4 different sizes and colors of Day Lillie’s behind the Mums and near my Honeysuckle. That is where I put my Angel as well. I needed something there that would bloom after the Daffodils and Crocus but before the Mum’s. I’m still pondering if I should add anything more there….
(Pic#1 My Memorial to Mom and Dad-Completed)
(Pic#2 My Angel Illuminated at night)
(Pic#3 Late August things really started to grow, Yeah~!)
On the other side of the garden, the North side, I planted 20 mixed Asiatic Lillie’s. To my horror all summer I was battling a mole varmit! He came and ate all but 3 bulbs by August, but by the end of the month those 3 were gone! I did all I could think of-traps, grape bubble gum in his tunnels and I was also told to place moth balls around the base of the bulbs. To no avail he still gobbled them up. I was ready to take my gun out there and shoot him. Sometimes I’d be out there and he’d zip from my lavender, across the front edge of the garden to under my Mum’s. I’d race to try to stomp him but being as uncoördinated as I am I missed and almost fell all the time! But to continue on with my saga: I planted 4″ potted Little Princess Spiraea, in the corner on the other side of the picture window I planted 2 Black Beauty Elderberry (I know I need to keep it pruned so it won’t outgrow that space, but it looked so cool) and in the front of the bird bath I planted Veronica Georgia Blue (sad to say of the 6 I planted only 3 have survived).
(These are the Day Lillie’s that are on the garage side wall-survived the mole invasion)
It had been a few years since mulch was put down and it was worn down and worn out. I was crazy to think that by buying 6 bags of beautiful red mulch I’d have enough! Hah, it barely filled in the section by the North wall! By the time it was all said and done, the whole area re-mulched, I was 20 bags into it!! Quite expensive but there was no truck available to get any in bulk and to get the color I wanted-Red. Vivid Red. I then on a whim found some fantastic Bronze finished solar lights I put alongside the sidewalk to illuminate the way to the front door. They were on sale and a set of 8 which I considered quite a steal (until I realized why when getting the garden ready for winter-the finish was coming off and they started to rust 😦 )
(The top picture is my baby Spiraea at just a few weeks and on the bottom it has doubled in size in just 1 month)
Around the Angel it looked incomplete and I was figuring out what to do with it. I came across the idea to get 2 solar lighted memorial markers to put on each side and a small bag of white marble chips. I got through a craft store a small bag of white stones to put in the Angel’s bowl she was holding. Then I got to thinking after I saw an advertisement banner searching online, I got 2 personalized stones that represent my mom then my dad. Then it seemed to come together for me.
(one of the other many visitors that came to my garden-we have many rabbits and as a result many Coyote in the middle of the night)
I made a point of it each morning to go out and water my new plants, I called them babies actually, and the older plants as well. I’d weed and put down more Preen. Preen became my best friend as well as Miracle Grow. But while I was out there every day, even when it was hot but the sun didn’t hit that side of the house yet as it faces West, I’d forget my worries and concentrate of making my plants thrive and grown. Plus fighting that varmit! It turned out to be a hot and dry summer so I had to tend to my garden every day. And since it was in memory of my parents that was extra motivation. I plan on adding more to the garden this year, a vibrant red plant (Perennial is a must) to surround the Spiraea and fill in the blank spaces. I’d like to do Lillie’s again now that I got a great hint on using chicken wire to cage them in when I bury them. Wish I had known of that last year. Oh well I got those bulbs on sale so it’s not like I lost a lot of money for them to turn into mole food. It’s just the idea of it.
(This is one garden visitor that freaks the crap out of me-the other one was a small garter snake slithering under the lavender-I stayed away from that for the rest of the season-no weeding around the lavender!)
So along with gardening that I discovered took my thoughts off my problems, I also did journaling and then blogging. But my best friend was right. And so is my new blogger friend Steven. Gardening is very therapeutic, when you don’t have rodents and creepy crawly things to scare the crap out of you, but it still gets your mind off your problems, you’re doing something productive, you’re getting out of the house, your improving your atmosphere as well as the appearance of your yard, and you get to sit back and watch the fruit of your labor thrive and grow. Doing this and being able to interact with some pretty doggone amazing people online through blogging, Face Book and Twitter, all of these avenues are great coping mechanisms. I would highly recommend a flower or vegetable garden. I’m trying an indoor herbal garden with Rosemary. That is slow going but Steven said it would be so I will be patient. I will get it a buddy so it’s not alone in that pot. And I will do another container planting on my back deck. I can’t do any landscaping because that is where the dogs go and they eat and tear up stuff. But I am going to involve my mind more by planning what to add and where to put it, therefore distracting myself from my burdens.
I will post some updates to my project in the future. I hope all of you have a hobby you enjoy that you can find joy and happiness from. If you don’t have one by now please find one and immerse yourself into it fully and reap the rewards.
Until next time wishing you all a Blessed and Pain free day.