Sunday, January 23, 2011

Twenty-One Degrees

A tiny January blossom on my vibernum.
It's so cold outside that my hot flashes are lukewarm.

And yet, when I went for a stroll through my garden this morning when the temperature was hovering in the low twenties, I could find vestiges of spring. A tiny pink blossom is timidly showing itself on a viburnum (left) and old Aunt Rhody is sporting tons of buds as if she, like me, is more than ready for winter to end.

All the Christmas decorations got put away two weekends ago, and we took a fast trip down to Austin last weekend with friends for some, drinking, dining, music and warmth (alas it rained both days, oh well). But as we settle into these bitter, cold last days of January, I've begun to think about my next garden.

And I've got budget-busting plans that include deer fencing, built-in and terraced raised beds, and back-breaking transplants. Basically, I'm thinking: tear it up and start over.

Somehow, I'd like to enclose a portion of the backyard, so that my old nemesis, otherwise known as "that fucking deer," can't get in and break my botanical heart with his voracious nibbling. But the yard doesn't want to be easily fenced. There are pre-existing structures that can't be moved and won't look right either inside or outside the fence. If I fence just a portion of my garden, would that look weird in such a small space to create two rooms? And, if I fence the whole backyard, there is not a logical place to bring it to a close, where the gate could go.

But so far, I've got a vision of a high, dark mesh fence held between a series of poured concrete columns that support an arbor-like structure that cantilevers out over all or part of the north side of the property. The entry to the vegetable garden is immediately to left of my stone path at the bottom of the steps. In my minds eye, the gate takes the form of either an elegant Asian design or an English cottage garden style. Where the land slopes a gentle path meanders snakelike between terrace vegetable boxes. Now, instead of just cukes and squash, I'm growing chard and lettuces, carrots and onions and instead of five varieties of tomatoes, I'm able to double that, sampling from all of the heirlooms that I admire in the catalogs.

And now at the back of the property, where my neighbors are growing a beautifully restored native forest, the new fence very much becomes an unwanted barrier, mostly because the exchange of gardening ideas flows freely as I often work side-by-side with my friends back there. And because their garden is an eye-pleasing sight to behold when I'm sitting in my chair.

And then, of course, don't even get me started about what it would all cost. Isn't January gardening grand and glorious? The Putterer

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