I love to work in my garden. Now that the weather is turning, it’s time to start planning what to plant and where.
But first, I’ve had to clean out the flower beds, removing debris and removing roots and stems from annuals that grew out of control last year. That cleaning has been a stark reminder that I’m not as young, or limber, as I used to be. Getting down to the beds is easy. Getting back up, not so much.
I wanted to expand one flower bed but that would require removing grass and preparing the soil. That meant a lot of digging. My wife reminded me that it would be a lot of work… and was it really necessary?
The last three homes we’ve lived in had ample acreage and I was able to plant nearly anything I wanted. We now live in an HOA-controlled environment and space is limited. I only have a few small beds to work with. Fortunately, the HOA takes care of the grass mowing, trimming, and watering.
But those small beds irritate and frustrate me to no end. I’d love to grow dozens of daffodils, iris, and a few other favorites but there isn’t room.
I have worked part-time at garden nurseries for decades, beginning while I was in college. I wish I could start over, 50 years ago, and become a landscape architect. I love planning and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I’ve had gardens in Southern California, Georgia, and now southern Utah. Each area posed different opportunities.
In Georgia, it was easy to grow things. Frequent rains, fertile soil, and comfortable summers made it easy to turn a barren, red dirt backyard into a semi-Garden of Eden.
When we built a home near a lake, I worked with the builder to have the grounds terraced into several layers. Huge rocks added an accent to the landscape and helped define the terraces. When the first spring came around, my wife looked down from the deck and noted that the area looked like golf course fairways. As an avid golfer, it wasn’t by mistake.
When we sold that house, at closing, the new homeowner asked me if it would be okay to remove a tree in the front yard. I told her that after we signed all the paperwork, the tree would be hers to do with as she pleased. The last time I saw that house, the tree was still standing.
I love daffodils and had several hundred of them growing around our mountain cabin and in the forested area below the house. They are a harbinger of spring when their bright yellow blossoms pop open, even after a light snowfall.
The first spring in our mountain home, I had a dozen or so blooming that I’d planted the previous fall. The home builder came by for some final details and asked me where I got the “March flowers”. That’s a southern thing they call daffodils.
Our next-door neighbor greatly admired the daffodils in our yard. She was more or less housebound and couldn’t work in the yard. While they were away from home one fall, I planted several daffodils on a hillside behind their house so she could see them from her window. To say she was surprised and delighted the next spring would be an understatement.
I had a vast collection of different iris around the yard and added to them yearly. I wish now I’d dug some of them up and brought them to Utah. When we visited our old home a year after moving, the new homeowner had dug most of them up or covered them with different plants. It was a sad sight.
Spring is almost here and I’m itching to get planting. But my knees and back tell me I’m going to have to go slower than I’d like. And that flower bed might not be expanded.
– Ryan from St. George, Utah, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC).