I Like to Play in the Dirt

Pike Nurseries, an Atlanta-based lawn and garden center, used to sell t-shirts with the tongue-in-cheek phrase “I Like to Play in the Dirt” on them.  In fact, as I just noticed on their site, they invite you to “Come play in the dirt.” I bought one for my dad, as he has the greenest thumb around.  That, and he spends countless hours in his yard. Always has, always will. He used to say that he was playing the dirt, so when that t-shirt came along, boy was it ever the best present for him!

Dad’s green thumb has slowly and surely rubbed off on me. I have a loooooong way to go, and I need to devote more time to it anyway, but I do enjoy seeing the fruits of my labor outside. I generally do a spring and fall planting in our flower beds out front, but this spring I opted to forgo the normal planting and left my beds bare in favor of putting the pansies in containers instead.

We’ve really let our yard get away from us, in every sense. I mowed the lawn yesterday — first time this season — and it was a chore for sure. I say that not merely to complain but to point out that our mower would have been able to handle cutting our quarter of an acre (minus the house) in less than an hour had it been cutting regular grass. However, I asked it yesterday to cut through all kinds of weeds and sticks and gum balls.

I HATE this one particular weed as well as the sweetgum balls that have infested our yard. Here’s about a foot of the problem. And this is AFTER I mowed, as I took this pic today.

That viney thing with the purple flowers? Yeah, it sucks. It wouldn’t be so bad if the thing grew close to the ground, but like ivy and kudzu, it grows over, across, down, up, and any other direction it chooses. Oh, how I would love to find the easy way out of eradicating this weed.

We have the pleasure of our house being situated under a massive Sweetgum tree. In fact, there are two of them, one in our back yard at the edge, the other in our neighbor’s yard, but its branches hang over in our front yard. That is THE messiest tree in the world. Ever. In the spring, it sprinkles nasty pollen-filled specks of mess everywhere. Then it hatches its gumballs, some of which fall off prematurely. Then, in the fall, it drops many many many leaves. Then, all winter? Down rain the gumballs. They are golfball-sized spikey globes. And they are everywhere. Our poor dog has to tip toe around them, and so do we. I fell while I was mowing the lawn because I slipped on them.

So, Vineyweed and Gumballs of Death? It’s on. It’s sooooo on. I will conquer you.

(I can already hear them laughing at me. I know it’s useless, but I will try.)

So here’s what I did in the yard today:

I made a rather hodge-podgey planter box! I put some cinder blocks together that Josef had used to spray paint some things for his birthday party last August, thus the blue paint. I may complete the job, but I kind of like the funky look of it, for now.

I went on a little photo tour to show you some of the plants I have managed to not kill (there are many that have succumbed to my inattentive nature, probably back when I was watching too much HGTV and not tending to my own back yard).

First stop, a holly tree my dad gave me:

It seems to be very happy where I planted it! This is the second year I’ve had it and I am thrilled at its hearty nature and willingness to thrive despite my neglect at getting around to getting rid of those nasty weeds!

Next, our dogwood tree, surrounded by border grass:

These plants are collectively saying, “Thank you, oh, thank you, for FINALLY mowing the weeds yesterday!” This is an area I’ll mulch later, after I’ve pulled up every one of those daburn viney weeds.

Next are some bulb plant with a really pretty white bloom. Because I don’t know its name, I’m going to called it Edelweiss, even though I am sure it’s something else. But, it is “small and white, clean and bright” and it does “look happy to meet me.” I can’t actually take credit for this plant as it was already in our yard when we moved here.

Well, I can’t seem to find the name of this plant, so if you happen to know, could you tell me?

Here’s what edelweiss actually looks like, by the way:

A few years ago, I went slumming for plants from my neighbors. I posted a note on our neighborhood forum asking neighbors who gardened if they had anything they needed me to take off their hands. One neighbor in particular was especially generous. Rachelle gave us all kinds of stuff, and here are the very-much-thriving Black Eyed Susans she gave us!

When they bloom, they’ll look like this:

Yippee!

So, that’s some of our yard for you to see. I have decided we need to get some stone to put under the deck and along the side of the house to the crawlspace. These are areas that definitely need some TLC and cleaning up. I don’t know that I can handle planting grass, so I’m going to have to keep thinking about what to do with the rest of the yard. I definitely will be getting some of our arborist neighbor’s free mulch so we can stamp down the weeds until I come up with the best solution. Phew, will I be sore after I’ve moved all this stone and mulch everywhere!

In LOR news, I have sucked at drinking water the last three days. But, being mindful of forgiveness, I know I can make myself be better going forward. It’s shocking how quickly my body got dehydrated, just one day after not drinking enough water. Unreal. The walking part is going well, although I didn’t get to take Hunter on a walk today as I would have liked. Again, tomorrow is another day, Scarlett, as my friend Linda used to say when she left work each day. She was referring to “Gone with the Wind.”

In renovation news, we’re taking our time and making sure everything’s right before we move back in. We’re super duper close still, but we’ve been busy and tired and waiting on weather more conducive to having things dry, unlike the cold, rainy weather we had all last week. Today was actually hot! We do live in Atlanta after all, and Mother Nature finally remembered! My poor Boston friends got the cruel April Fool’s Day snow on Friday. Sorry, my friends. I do hope it warms up for you soon.

Oh! I forgot! We went to prom last night! It was great fun. It was cold outside (it didn’t get hot until today), and I was chaperoning, so it was kind of awkward how some kids who like adults would come and speak and others acted embarrassed to have their prom hijacked by all these gooney adults, ugh! Typical. Proms are proms though, and it was great to see these kids having a blast in all their finery. The theme was Harry Potter, and the committee did a fantastic job decorating. Since I was cold, and the theme was Harry Potter, I grabbed a graduation gown to wear over my dress, so I’d look the part of someone at Hogwarts! Very fun. Josef had a lot of fun eyeing potential drifters from the prom scene. We had a lot of fun together as a couple, thinking back to our junior and senior proms, and rehashing the good and the bad. Now we can say that we’ve been to prom together, when we couldn’t have before!

Cheers, my dears! Hope you have a great week, and I hope to hear from ya!

Parting shot: Hunter

Hunter loves relaxing right beside mommy, wherever she is!
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