Secret GardenApril 6, 2007
It was always one of my most favorite books in the whole world. I think I've mentioned to you our secret garden, but if I haven't, indulge me. If you go through the back yard, down to the back fence, there's a gate under the trees. If you open the gate, there is a rather surprising shallow flight of wide wooden stairs, dropping five or six feet into another little garden area.
We keep the gate shut, because the back of the secret garden is city-fenced, and the fence has a large dog-sized hole in it. Clara has expressed interest in it in the past, and I need to repair it before letting her down there without supervision. The last thing we need is a border collie crashing through a ripped fence and falling into the creek below.
Yes, the creek. It is the NEATEST thing to have back there. Unfortunately, this year it just hasn't rained enough, so the water level is still low, and will remain low all summer. But it's so shady and green and ivy-filled back there, and there's nothing on the other side but the high school track, which is barely visible through the trees (I never knew I would love the sound of kids playing so much. Really, the sound of games and races are so awesome to hear).
I want to do something with it, but I don't know what. I have a romantic vision -- I am sitting in a comfortable chair, with a low slung table in front of me -- I am writing while my tea steeps in the pot. Of course, I am wearing something soft and flowing and lovely. I might have long, curly locks in the vision, but we won't talk about that.
But in reality, there are issues.
Ivy, everywhere. I know enough about ivy to know that where there's ivy, there are rats. Ew.
Black widows. Twice, I've gone down the stairs and broken strong, non-sticky webs, that when pulled off and balled up, give off that peculiar black widow web stink. Did you know about that smell? You probably didn't want to know about it, but now you do. Luckily, black widows don't want to meet me anymore than I want to meet them, and they stay pretty hidden in dark spaces, but ack.
Furniture. Right now we have two plastic chairs back there, and they get pretty damn gross. I think I've only sat in them a couple of times, and that was only to sit and think, how nice it is back here, we should do something with this, and then I get up and go back up to the back yard proper and forget its existence again.
So, ideas? Wooden furniture would be nice, but I'd be worried about spidies all the time. Pulling ivy? Should we plant something? It's really compact clay back there, shaded almost all the time, a relatively high level of moisture due to the creek just below. It would be very hard to dig up, and I am essentially lazy.
I spent fifteen minutes down there the other day, just sitting on one of the steps, listening to my iPod, resting after furious garden exertion on the other side of the fence. Clara was sad that she was left out.
Right after I took this shot, Miss Idaho strolled right under the gap under the gate, giving Clara a pitying look as she came to sit with me.
We've all got gardens on the brain, don't we? I spent hours this week working in the front and back yards -- put in TONS of flowers, some tomatoes, some herbs. I even mowed the lawns, which left me with this:
This was an empty green waste bin, and is quite a bit bigger than our regular-sized trash can. My muscles ache today. Victory!
(Also and a complete non-sequitur, but I have to mention it -- while listening to NPR this morning, the radio announcer said Crucification. She was using it as a noun, and while I don't normally trip on an unreal word accidentally used, it was way too close to my accidental confisticate. I have no idea when or where I became convinced that confiscate had an extra syllable, but I did, and once I said it out loud, in polite, smart company, and I almost died. I feel so badly for that announcer, dude. That's blush-for-a-day-worthy.)