Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gardening with a Straight Edge

We had a lot of landscaping done this summer--the kind of thing that were beyond even the amazing DIY prowess of Cpt. Sweetie. We had three guys full time in our yard for a month, and for the first three weeks they didn't make a MOVE without a level in their hands.

They built us walkways, they built us steps. They built a patio and a bluestone planter/wall. They brought in 7 foot tall trees and planted them for us. They ripped up the lawn (a word which here means "mostly creeping charlie and a lot of weeds") and laid sod.

Then they went away.

Not that the landscaping was finished, mind you. Far from it. However, what was left was the sort of thing that even someone with limited DIY skills ( which would be me) could take over. Planting perennials and small shrubs? Mulching? Things that take more muscle than brains? That's my portfolio!

Of course, we have a scale plan for the yard, with plants spec'd by species and number and color, and so all I have to do is buy the plants, locate them according to the plan, and then plant them. One of the first I did was a ring of three cranberry cotoneaster shrubs.

Pretty, isn't it.

Since this was the first thing I was planting, I was obsessive about the placement. I took measurements from the plan, and replicated them in the yard. I took yard measurements and checked them against the plan. I lined up plants (still in their pots) and tweaked the design so that it looked good, then checked them against the plan. Only after I was satisfied that I had honored the balance of the original plan, while also controlling for the variations on the ground, did I plant those three bushes.

The digging and planting took about 20 minutes--the lining up and double checking beforehand took a good hour.

So it was with pride I showed Cpt. Sweetie the gorgeous new shrubs in our garden, regaling him with tales of all the care I had put into placing them precisely as the plan demanded.

He looked at me with that loving expression--the one that makes me feel like I won the Husband Jackpot: a mix of love, pride, humor--and said, "You did an excellent job. Except, the cotoneaster don't go there."

Ack! He was right, of course. All that measuring and placing, and I had failed to notice that the plan called for a completely different plant there.

Citrus swizzle forsythia, which looks nothing at all like cotoneaster.

Oh. Nevermind.

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