Monday, April 14, 2008

Major Projects, Nagging Doubts

Now that the better weather is threatening to stick around, I've undertaken two major garden projects. The first involves tearing out the grass along the walkway to the front door and putting in a woodland garden. Tearing out the turf hasn't been as tough as I expected. The soil is nice and moist and the turf is tearing away nicely. There is more of it than I expected though and a persistent cold has slowed me down considerably. Once the turf is gone, a local landscape crew will remove the top few centimeters of dirt and ship in some premium soil. I'm hoping that the expense of really good soil and hours of research into deep-shade lovers will pay off with a lush, green forest floor-like setting come mid-summer.

My husband gets full marks for Major Garden Project #2. Not only did he happily sacrifice a rarely used parking spot in the backyard, he also built the frames for the new raised-bed vegetable garden. I've been talking about it all winter. On Sunday morning, he did something about it. One trip to the lumber store and a few hours later, the frames were done and waiting to get to work. The beds will be filled up with soil at the same time I get my soil shipment for the front-yard.

I'm excited about both projects but I'm also feeling nervous about the front. Nobody but the family will have to look at the vegetable garden. The front garden, however, is out there for everyone to see. Yikes! I worry that my tendency to putter just won't cut it in the public eye. Shouldn't gardening in full view of the neighbours requires some sort of licence? Proof of design ability? Proof of colour wheel knowledge? Proof of a green thumb? I have seen some disasterous efforts at front-yard gardens. I don't want to be next. Perhaps I'm being a bit dramatic but I do feel some pressure to produce something instantly pleasing.

Sitting inside nursing my cold has given my doubts a chance to fester. It's time to get out there and back to work. So what if I don't have a design background? So what if a colour wheel looks like a birthday party decoration to me? So what if it takes a season or two ro three to really perfect the garden? Instant results would be boring anyway. I know one thing for sure: the lawn area has been always been an eyesore. Simply removing the turf and replacing it with fresh soil will in and of itself be an improvement. After that, things will only get better with each plant that goes into the soil and each doubt that fades away.


Gardenista said...

Hmmm. A fresh new start on a garden dream. Sounds fun! Are you planning on any structures in there? Rocks or wooden things or metal art or anything like that? I guess one advantage of (I am assuming here) a small city lot is that you can have a dramatic impact even with a small area of planting. Our huge yard is sometimes daunting.

Ottawa Gardener said...

Great to see your garden plans underway. And may I say, I love to see turfed turf!

Pam/Digging said...

Throw your doubts away and just get out there and start digging, Irena! If you love plants and if you're having fun, it'll show. Of course it will take many seasons for it to evolve and become what you dream it will look like. But a personal landscape in progress beats a pristine boring lawn any day. Forget what the neighbors think---it's your yard.

Owin & Irena said...

hi gardenista...I've been so focused on plants I didn't even think about sculpture in the garden..thanks for the reminder.

I agree with you ottawa gardener, the less turf the better. I've still got the whole front yard to go but that's in my 25 year garden plan.

thanks for the words of encouragement, pam. your advice is great and i know it to be the truth. when you love something, it really shows. I hope my front garden proves that to be the case.


Marie said...

It is so great to have a garden!

Anna said...

Live and learn. It's best to have an inspiration piece. I am always attracted to the color first and the texture second. Mostly, have a wonderful time. Discover you style first. Ary you geometric, cottage, modern? I'm cottage which is easy cause anything goes. I love pinks, yellows, and purples. Don't forget a few evergreens for all year color. You'll always have stuff that dies. I'm still killing stuff after 30 years.