Saturday, April 19, 2008

the landscape of my dreams

today was a fine, spring day. the first day where it was nice enough to sit outside in "the circle" in the garden and enjoy the sunshine. it was time to haul out the pastis, which is our usual garden circle drink of choice. today with a cup of fresh, steaming coffee indulgently laced with creamy whole milk. the beech hedge hasn't yet unfurled its leaves, so it still has last year's cinnamon-color, which shields us from the prying eyes of those walking by.

it was an afternoon spent sitting in the circle with a good book (in this case the lyrical, magical realist haruki murakami's dance dance dance), feeling the spring sun on my face, sipping pastis and listening to the songs of a dozen different birds, joyously proclaiming that spring is here.

as i sat there, listening to that incredible birdsong, i reflected that our yard is changing and my use of my beloved circle will change as well. we've built on to our house (it looks a right mess above, but the end is in sight as the windows will be delivered this week!) and we are building three smaller wooden structures in our garden. make that four counting the greenhouse, oh yeah, and a small sauna, so 5 buildings in the garden. three of them will cause big changes in how i use the circle.

husband's workshop--seen as foundation poles above--will be closest to the circle and will actually block the traffic flow to the circle, so it won't be quite the same to walk out there with a tray. however, it will still get the morning sun, although some of the afternoon sun i enjoy so much today will be blocked by husband's workshop. there will be a small walkway between the workshop and the bike/utility shed, so i am hoping that if we pave it well and plant it invitingly, we'll still want to use the circle, which has been such a calming, enjoyable place to be for nearly five years now. the good news is that i will get a new refuge outside of my own writing house...the white recycled wood platform that can been seen in the background of this picture will be where that patio will be. there will also be a water feature and our specially-designed grill table will stand there. plus, it will get afternoon sun, so all is not lost. what will change is simply our use of the garden.

husband is working today on the foundation for the greenhouse which will be made of the panels recycled from the terrace that was at the back of our house before we built the addition. since slugs are such a problem, especially since we had such a mild winter, we are going to fill the greenhouse with flowers as well as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and perhaps even a melon, tho' they threaten to take over. we figure we can slug-proof the greenhouse with small ditches of sand around it. at least we hope so. slugs are just so disgusting! we saw a kiwi tree and a peach tree at the nursery and we think we'll try planting those in the greenhouse as well, to see what happens--such fruit in this northern climate would seem quite miraculous.

all of this work on the house and in the garden is a realization of all of the conversations and dreams we've had since we bought the house 7 years ago. it had a totally 70s garden, filled with those very 70s low evergreen bushes and it was definitely not us. this is the summer when it will all begin to come together, although knowing us, we will continue dreaming and landscaping. but i guess that's what life is about...mapping and shaping the terrain around us.


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

"today with a cup of fresh, steaming coffee indulgently laced with creamy whole milk.." You got me there, and I don't even drink coffee. I love the smell, and I love good visual.
I think if I show Spouse these pictures, he'll say "that's the place of our dreams."
Sunshine, books, writing, vegetables, trees, dreams, coffee, birds- can anybody ask for more in a piece of writing? Just the word Kiwi makes my mouth water. I'll stop there. I'm hungry and thirsty now. Thanks. :)

julochka said...

i haven't shown much of our building project here...i think the chaos has been something i wanted to forget, not dwell upon, but today, perhaps with the strength bestowed by the spring sunshine, it seemed like exactly what i wanted to photograph and ponder....