Oh, it was good. A very good Tuesday. I got my yard all set up for summertime. I believe you are familiar with the evening view from that chair on the right.
The past four days in Portland have been beyond gorgeous. In the 70s and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. All over the city, people came outside to see the sunshine. Our neighborhood was a beehive of yard-fussing activity — from behind every fence I could hear washing, building, digging, watering. I wandered in and out of several nurseries and garden centers throughout the weekend and it was so much fun to be out there with everyone, feeling so happy to be planting at last. Everyone was happy. I felt a mandate from Mother Nature to dig a bit, plant a bit, and then just sit and appreciate it all until late into the evening on each day. My mind unwound itself like a fiddlehead fern, and stretched.
This yard is small — maybe 25 feet deep and about 40 feet across at the most, not counting the garage and driveway — and quite tightly packed into the tree-lined yet truly urban neighborhood. The houses are very tight. Four other houses border our property, and on the east our neighbor's house is literally 12 feet from ours. If that. When I first moved here, I was not used to all of these tall, very opaque fences, but now I get it, I guess. Everyone wants a bit of peace and quiet and privacy, and this is the type of place where people are frequently in their yards, so you see (and hear) everything. Everybody gets along just fine, but you need that private space. It's a busy city.
Last year our neighbors behind us built a new fence. Thank you, neighbors! We had some scrappy shrubs along the old falling-down fence that got taken out. Right now everything is brown, in every direction. This year we've planted nine hydrangea bushes — very small! — along the new back fence. They're cream- and lilac-colored mopheads, and should grow to about 4' to 6'. I put my new willow teepee thing around one, just for fun and to give things some height back there. I also put three climbing hydrangeas against the big brown garage wall. They take a while to get going, but then they go whoosh. And they are one of the few things that will climb without support and in shade.
The yard is more hardscape than herbscape right now, but I have to remember that it's all just beginning to grow. I found that round table in someone's driveway while I was riding my bike (car's still in the shop). It had a broken leg, and a "FREE" sign on it. I rushed home and called Andy and gave him the address and asked him to stop by with the truck on his way home from work much later that night — for eight hours I sat crossing my fingers and hoping no one else would find it first! No one did. Score. I put an old half of a cinder block under it and it was the perfect height, so I didn't even have to fix it. Andy was very skeptical so I have naturally reminded him about how awesome my alley table is every day since we got it.
On Saturday, one of the things I did was run around all over the yards (front and back) and collect up all of the pots I have been collecting over the years, and I emptied and cleaned them out They now hold my herb garden and potatoes (I planted four in four different pots — the white ones that look empty) and one cape mallow called 'Very Cranberry'.
Orange mint, sage, parsley, cilantro. In the others I think there is more sage, more parsley, dill, oregano, rosemary, another rosemary, thyme. And a couple of extra fuschias. I'm going to see if the shade plants or the sun plants do better in each location.
Fuschia windowsill right outside my studio.
I've planted everything in the kitchen garden now! We mixed lots of compost into the square, and fertilized with Dr. Earth's Organic 5. Then I planted cut-and-come-again lettuce, spinach, broccoli, garlic, leeks, Napa cabbage, runner beans, peas (I stuck a section of our old wire fencing up along the wall for them to climb), and nasturtiums. Almost the minute I was done planting yesterday, I heard the UPS truck coming down the road (I'm like Pavlov's dog with that thing — I hear the engine from blocks away and I drop whatever I'm doing and rush to the front yard, panting). Sure enough, it was for me — my willow edging. Yay!
The willow is my big splurge this year — besides the plants, it's the only new thing. Well, I did get a new hose and sprayer nozzle thing. I have 30 feet of willow fencing that is going to be wired to the (chain-link) fence and the driveway gate, as well. I put the little loops on top of the edging with some old willow sticks I had from Garden Fever when it used to be Poppybox. Not sure if they still have loose willow there anymore, but they do have a LOT of willow stuff there (it's hard to find here in Portland). More nasturtiums will go on the outside of the edging, between the edging and the rocks/sidewalk. I was going to go with strawberries but it's just too tight with the sidewalk and the hose and the dog, so I think just flowers are best on that side of the edging, and the strawberries will go into pots. I think I might get a bale of hay and mulch everything too. I love the smell of hay. Reminds me of my horseback-riding days.
I really think Mr. MacGregor would be proud!!!
I have a thing for willow.
And this pot, apparently. I painted several of my terra cotta pots with yogurt a couple of years ago. For a long time, they didn't look any different than they had when they were new. Then all of a sudden this year: Patina! It worked.
The light is just crazy dramatic back here. I think this was around 3:30 or 4 p.m. I'll take more photos of the details when it's less shadowy. I love it like this, though. It adds another layer of interest to everything. Just look at this tree shadow:
Isn't that cool?
The cats love the new table. There's a little bottom level they take turns curling up on. (And by "take turns" I mean "punch each other in the face until one or the other leaves.")
I love it here.