Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is it spring yet?

Today was the day I started to tackle the long neglected backyard.  The sun was inviting me to come out and play.  Look!, it was saying to me, I've returned!  The snow from The Great Inconvienence of 2010 had finally melted after a week of hanging around.  But spring is here,  and that means eating al fresco and lazy afternoons in the hammack, and I can't do those things in an overgrown yard. 

My yard is small, with two sides free and the right third adjacent to my lovely neighbors.  The two free sides are neighbored by air, in the sense that my walls are two stories high on the external, and waist high on the internal, if that makes sense.  Straight ahead, the wall faces the village restaurant, and on the left side are the abandoned castle grounds. I live next to a castle, how neat is that?   I've had lots of nightmares about my children taking a dive off of these walls in the ten years since we've lived in this home.  You know, the kind where you have to get out of bed and check to make sure they are in theirs, and not splattered on the ground two stories down below. 

The left corner of my backyard, buried under knee-deep snow.  Those blobs by the wall are my poor cedar treesThe tracks are pee runs by The Ripper.

  It was time to gather up my yard tools and my courage, and venture out to see what had been going on out there.  Well, I found out that Jack the Ripper has made a urinal out of my sage plant, and the poor thing is basically dead.  Shriveled, yellowed, burned branches greeted me this morning.  Only one branch is still kicking.  So I cleared out the weeds and cut off the peed on parts.  The weeds, I have to say, were green and healthy.  Why do weeds thrive on dog pee?  This is one of nature's mysteries.

I pruned the caper plant, the one that is growing in the kitchen wall.  The dead branches reminded me of an old witch's head, all stringy and grey.   Ever tasted a caper?  Capers are the unopened flower buds of this plant.  They are strong, and go well with fish dishes.  I'm not a fan myself, but the plant is beautiful when the flowers bloom.

the caper bush is there in the middle, just starting to grow. The branches reach the ground eventually. photo from may '09

Jack has made a bed out of the lavender.  So that explains why he's been smelling so fresh and spring-like lately.  I found various holes with half-buried dog toys around the mint and rosemary bushes too.  Nice to know he's got good taste.  I can't stand holes.


My cactus "Wile E. Coyote" had disapeared, I thought for sure it was dead.  But it was just buried under 12 inch tall grass clumps.  Did I mention that the yard gets no coddling in the winter?  It's just too freaking cold.  So, I dug ol' Coyote up and divided him into 4 big terracotta pots.  He's now sitting pretty under the terrace, thinking about growing and making more of those beautiful yellow flowers he's famous for.

I pruned my climbing red velvet rose bush.  This heirloom rose was a gift from my neighbor 6 years ago.  He asked me if I wanted it for my yard, since he was putting in a Jasmine plant in it's place.  Later on, his wife was busy showing off her new jasmine plant to me, mentioning that her husband had thrown out "the ugliest rose she had ever seen".  I guess he didn't tell her that he gave it to me!  Silence is golden in times like these.

table set with red velvet roses in a tea glass from Marocco

My fingers are stained brown, and my back is aching, but the yard is slowly coming back to life.  I see progress.  


Sarah said...

"I pruned the caper plant"

Ohh big jealous look coming your way !

I was told they were too tender to grow up here in the North, but if yours has survived snow then maybe I can have at try.

Queen of Crafts, Current Events, and Such. said...

Good post Tammy... I love gardening in the Spring, as well. Something about realizing that everything comes back after being cold and dormant. The warm, but cool sunshine in early Spring is a pleasant tease for even better things to come. BTW....I like the new look of your blog...Fresh and crisp

3LittleMonkeys said...

Love the look of your new blog!

Wow, your yard looks beautiful! I make a dish with's hot italian sausages with peppers and pasta (my Hubby's fave).

Taking Heart said...

Loving your new look... very whimsical and carefree... I can almost smell fresh air!

Taking Heart said...

Your presence has been requested to attend the grand opening of the Royal's new duel blog... Chamber Pot Stew... a gossipy rag of sorts... where the Queen & her Scribe tend to let their hair down and tell it like it is... Won't you join us Tammy? Comment away... in the raw... you are the first of the villagers to be invited.

Tammy said...

@Taking Heart...What an honor! You know, I was just a giggling reading the sore spots list! I think the Chamber Pot Stew is going places! I can't wait for more gossip!

Ellen said...

Your new blog look is so cheerful! Spring on your page....I think we all long to be outdoors tending our lonely garden spots, pots awaiting new plants...just to soak up the sunshine and smell the fresh light air. I hope to get something done this weekend...ideas are circling in my head...wheee!