An Accidental Garden

It all started with the gate.

We had originally installed a wide gate on the south side of the house for easy access to the backyard—something my dad joked about needing when he was helping us with the front landscaping. Jonathan ended up removing it a year or so later when we realized it was too heavy to be supported by the fence. This time around, Jonathan installed a narrower gate that was just wide enough for our garden cart. (And by the way, that’s not a bald spot. Quarantine has reduced us to kitchen hair cuts and there’s clearly a learning curve.)

We ordered all our plants early this year–most the local nurseries were selling out of stock within days because of everyone’s quarantine projects–so the pink climbing rose went in before the gate construction. A few bricks around it for protection and it managed to survive the post hole digger quite nicely.

Protected Rose

We call them Dad’s Gate and Mom’s Rose. And dad was right—this is much more convenient.

We did have to sink a post and so we borrowed a tiller from the neighbors to clear the weeds and grass from the area. This section of grass never really recovered from the patio construction and seven years later it had become nothing but weeds and Bermuda grass.

For some reason, we just kept tilling. It was hard work but it felt good clearing the lot of it.

We had some idea of reseeding the area but we already have more grass than we need so Jonathan started wondering aloud why we just didn’t just plant a flower bed. I couldn’t argue with him there. We called my mom for an emergency garden plan and she mailed us one right away.

We spent three more days tilling, spreading topsoil, and mulching the area—and three more days hosing mud off the dog—but we finally finished the area.

(That’s my thumb in the corner. I was really tired by then.)

I had started buying plants immediately so even though we planned on a small tree, we needed to get everything in the ground. I stuck a potted pineapple sage right where the tree should go and started digging.

There’s nothing so underwhelming as a newly planted garden.  I was so focused on imagining the plants fully grown, I forgot they were just a bunch of 4-inch pots. But once we got the tree in–a multi-stemmed tulip tree–it really pulled the bed together.


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