Saturday, September 12th, 2009 Archives

The site of the future (now completed) detention pond above the house. At present it is a bit ragged, but will be completed with a mixture of obligate and facultative wetland vegetatio

The site of the future (now completed) detention pond above the house. At present it is a bit ragged, but will be completed with a mixture of obligate and facultative wetland vegetation.

When I first arrived in late May, progress was easy because there was everything to do and anything that I did looked good relative to the way that it was. The front yard was re-established with an attractive perennial garden on one side, and a burgeoning woodland garden on the other. I rebuilt the retaining wall by hand using a two-tiered approach to add planting space for ferns. A nasty weedy area by the garage has become a perennial garden fronted by large red dahlias I got for free from a local garden giveaway. I built pond and waterfall, and oversaw the construction of a detention basin (below) for controlling runoff such as what flooded the basement last year.

Now, as it turns September here and the fall rains begin, I look upon what I have done and realize that it is no longer so easy to prioritize. I’ve gotten to the easy stuff and left the trickier elements for last. For instance, the crumbling walls of stone along a weed-filled planter with rock-hard clay soil which greets the visitor long before the gorgeous new perennial garden. Then there are the other elements of the larger plan, the back 20, including the 2,500 square foot vegetable garden that required tilling and mulching, and I realize that 1. I need a plan that will best use my resources to complete the creation of my 10-acre garden, and 2. I need a business plan to earn some money at this rather than watching my recession-tattered savings drain.

There are some rays of hope. I am applying for a Master Gardner class that will provide me with opportunities for volunteer work and networking. I will start two community college classes this month, one in business and another in executing landscape design drawings. I also plan to get a business license and begin advertising.

Ultimately, I see myself being a landscape designer and writer, but also the conservator of an amazing 20-acre preserve that includes gardens and natural areas accessible by modest trails flanked with a diversity of native plants from throughout the region. The task before me seems so overwhelming at times, though, I almost don’t know where to begin. Each day, I step outside my door and think of the thousands of things that I could be doing and wonder which is the most important. And even this question has two parts:
which is most important for bringing me to the point of being fiscally sustainable, and which is the best for my heart. For in the end, it is not the money, but the creation of a dream, a garden of my own, that draws my heart. For that I would work endlessly without pay, at least in an ideal world.

The First 100 Days