After several days of rain and just plain cold weather (what’s up with that?), the bad weather waved adios and sunny skies replaced them. And we exited our house as quickly as we could. One daughter headed out to a parade, another to a cookout and the husband and I were out in the garden. He spent the afternoon getting covered in stain from redo-ing the big swingset and I wrestled with an area of our garden that I has left me stumped for 14 years.
My garden is large and scattered around the backyard….large and formal configuration in the center, with a pergola to center everything and provide a great place for our beloved firepit….two other planted areas along the driveway, one by the back deck of the house, another branching off from that and some new plantings along the side patio. Sounds mammoth, but it’s really not. Just a nice manageable size with plenty of areas for interest.
But this one area along the garage has kept me annoyed and perplexed for all the years we have been living in our house. I have tried planting countless things there….yellow broom, fuchsia stalks of some plant that I cannot remember the name of right now, lambs ears (the only thing to ever do well), irises and two trumpet vines. We also had a ground-hog living in this bed for a handful of years. He was huge and would dig unbelievable holes. He and I had a little war going on …he’d create a huge hole and then I would come along and fill it. Dig and fill. Dig and fill. Curse, dig and fill. I’m sure he was cursing at me, too, as I was destroying his handiwork. At times, he would run out onto the lawn and I’d try scaring him, screaming like a banshee and clapping my hands on the back deck…he looked like a big slipper bumbling across the lawn when he got moving. And I looked like a lunatic. He was the funniest, most annoying creature to ever grace our backyard. Thankfully, he has moved on and is now terrorizing someone else.
The holes he dug were in between two trumpet vines that I planted along the garage, on trellises. These vines came from my grandparents’ yard, where beautiful flowers, tomato plants and raspberries dominated the landscape. Some of my happiest childhood memories involve plunging into those raspberry bushes or tending to the tomatoes with my grandfather. To this day, I cannot eat a raspberry without thinking of my grandparents house….and my poor husband gets to hear that every time my lips sink into the plump berry-ness of one.
But back to these trumpet vines. My grandparents had them at the far end of their yard. I realize their widsom now with this placement, for my trumpet vines were set to eat my garage. Funny, too, because when I planted them they didn’t look like they were going to survive. But survive and thrive they did. The orange trumpet flowers have bloomed for many years now, hummingbirds have to come to our garden to taste the nectar and the vines…holy smokes those vines…they crept up and then proceeded to attempt going over the garage. If left to its own devices, I’m sure it would have eaten the entire structure in about two seasons. Possibly even a car or child along with it. Heck, the whole neighborhood.
I’ve apparently become a “real” gardener because I now readily rip plants out of the garden that just don’t work or, better yet, don’t work for me, with wild abandon and not an ounce of guilt…so I commenced to do away with the trumpet vine. It was going to belt out it’s swan song. Sing its last note. Rise for its final bow. Fini. Because I do have two other vines (taken from this mother-plant) started on my pergola from the grandparents’ vine, I felt fine about doing this. The vines on the garage, however, needed to exit. They were out of control and needed to be stopped, much like an adolescent run amok.
Yesterday: garden gloves on. Wheelbarrow (why oh why is it not called a wheelbarrel??) parked and ready for refuse. Shovel, rake, handshovel…I was ready to rock and roll. Or pull and destroy, as the case were. When I approached this section of the garden, I sighed a heavy sigh. It really would be so much easier to just let it creep out of control and let it to what it wanted to do. This was going to be a BIG job to get under control. Good lord. My arms were tired just thinking about the work.
But then I remembered a lecture from my recent trip to Kripalu. I, along with twenty or so other inquiring souls, listened to a life-coach for about an hour. To be honest, I went to the lecture because there were no others ones scheduled at that point in the day. I also figured that hey, why not? Can’t hurt. I’m still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.
Izzy-the-Coach turned out to be great. Inspiring. Fun. Approachable. Clarifying. The big take-away from the hour, and this isn’t anything new in the realm of problem-solving, is “little bites”. You have a big hurdle sitting in front of you…you have a big project to tackle, take a little bite. Each bite taken leads to a next bite and before you know it, you’ll reach where you want to go. Human nature wants to jump in and eat the whole thing, but you really need to take little bites so that you don’t choke on the darned thing.
I sighed, I took little bites. I chiseled away at this whole stretch of garden all afternoon long. An iced coffee break. An ice cream break. Lots of wheelbarrows full of branches, leaves, grass, weeds.
Granted, I was seriously wondering if I’d be able to hold a coffee cup today because my hands were so tired from this work.
But I’m holding a coffee cup right now. Sore fingers,tired hand and all.
Thank you trumpet vine. You trumpeted your message, I cleared my garden space and am now ready for some new landscaping.
Little Bites, Loud Trumpet.