Okay, here we are almost seven weeks into “social distancing” ourselves. Time to take stock….what have I accomplished with all this free time? Granted, the early weeks of quarantine were marked by my injury from a fairly dramatic fall in The Little Woods, so I have to cross off two weeks worth of recovery time. Not much accomplished during those days, other than serious reflection on how I managed to do that to myself. Well, and a lot of reading, scrolling, and napping. If there’s one thing this pandemic has done for me it’s rest. (Going back to the real world where you can’t take random naps in the middle of the day will be rough.) But once the stitches were out I was ready to tackle my project list.
Since I started this whole home confinement by working outside, I was eager to get back to my abruptly interrupted plans. Out to The Little Woods I went under the watchful eye of my hubby. Have I mentioned he is worried to death I’ll fall again. I truly appreciate his concern but I’m feeling a little like a toddler who needs to be followed just in case. Yes, you can hear a little sigh from me…..Anyway, while I got back to raking the never ending piles of sticks, he ferociously attacked the many little stumps like the one that had tripped me up. We made a pretty good team, with only one slithery sighting, eek, from which I quickly social distanced. I think, hopefully, fingers crossed, said slithering creature moved on to the neighbors’ yard.
With all the piles gone (Billy has begged me to quit raking and come to grips with the existence of sticks) and the stumps removed, it’s amazing how much better it looks! And how much safer it is. Next, I tackled some planting. During my sofa sitting I managed a bit of online plant shopping, resulting in 50 periwinkle seedlings to plant in the woods. Not only a great ground cover, periwinkle blooms a lovely bluish-purple flower in the spring. Yes, that’s a lot of periwinkle but I fully expect to lose a few along the way. Needless to say, it took me several days to get them all in the ground, but I didn’t mind one bit. It felt so good to be back outside with the sound of the birds and breezes, I just took my time. It’s not like I had anywhere else to be.
By far the highlight of being back in the woods was the day my friend Deborah Elvington turned up with plants. Deborah has the yard I aspire to, lush and colorful, designed and cultivated for many years. She, too, has lots of shade, so she totally gets what I’m trying to do in The Little Woods. Before the shutdown we had been trying to find a day that I could go dig a few things out of her garden to plant in mine. That’s a true friend and gardener, willing to share her bounty. Unfortunately, it never happened, so Deborah took it upon herself to dig up (with the help of her hubby Fulton) and bring me a trunkful: Iris, Lenton Rose, Spiderwort, Black and Blue Salvia, and Autumn Joy Sedum. We carefully social-distanced while we got them in the ground (with help from my hubby digging the holes – gotta give our men their credit.) We chattered endlessly, starved for company and conversation. We knew we were technically breaking the rules of the day, but hoped we could be forgiven in the name of nature.
The final step last week was ordering a few plants from Pike’s Nursery. They have arranged a fairly easy system of ordering online, followed by a phone call from someone to firm up the details, payment, etc. Billy made a curbside pickup for me the next day. From this order we filled the two flower boxes on the front of the house with Coleus, King Coleus, and Sweet-Potato Vine. And yes, these are the dreaded difficult-to-water boxes I bemoaned last year. We did discover that removing the plastic insert, filling them outside at ground level, before replacing them in the boxes, sure made planting a whole lot easier. Watering them will still require hanging out the windows, but I am just so happy to have green things growing, that for now I don’t mind at all.
We also planted several pots with caladium, impatiens, and fuchsia, then situated those in the woods where they could be seen from our back window. So nice to have a little color in our view. We still have more plans for this year, a few azalea bushes and a couple of hydrangeas. As I’ve mentioned several times, The Little Woods will be a work in progress for years to come, but it’s amazing how my vision is starting to take shape. Compared to the overgrown, weedy mess we started with, we now have a tidy natural area to design and dream about.
Next up, we are tackling the sunny side….the large expanse of our yard that has absolutely no shade. We have noodled on many different approaches to this blank canvas. So far all we’ve done is plant a row of evergreens last year to give some privacy from our neighbors. Of course, the pandemic has slowed the process of having any workers on sight, but next week we get started. Carefully, while social-distancing, we will be digging a VERY large swath of flower bed. Updates to come!