Saturday, July 12, 2014

Nice Place to Play

My backyard invites activity, always casting a spell of something going on.  It is a city lot about 100' x
160' and is almost equally divided diagonally by a drainage ditch that snakes throughout  the city.  When it was for sale in 1972 most people didn't like that feature, divided when they were after a flat lot with a manicured lawn.  I saw it as an advantage, a proper divisional "his and hers" or a more industrial farm side and a residential side, naturally and permanently divided.  I bought this little third acre for $8,275. (no typo there!) fifteen hundred down and $87 per month, two bedroom, nine hundred square feet built right on the ground.  A Real Fixer-Upper!  Over the years (42!) it has changed a lot, like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon, pretty much unrecognizable  from its beginnings.
I saved 400 square feet of the original house so we would have a place to live as I added 2,000 square feet to it and the industrial side has transformed as well.
    The first structure I built was on that side, an 8' x 12' greenhouse, 40 years ago and still standing although it too has been remodelled a few times.  This triangle has been one huge tomato patch, a hundred and sixty feet all the way to the street.  The entire area has been a jungle gym with balance beams and climbing bars, tire swings and cheap throw away swimming pools.  A wonderland for my kids and their friends.  I think I was the first in this town to raise chickens and they kept the area clear of snails and pretty much weed free for years.  We have had two dogs over the years and this was heaven for them too.
   About 20 years ago I built a shop/studio and office at the back section of this area and I added a stone, concrete and steel bridge to cross the drainage ditch.  With my children I built the little garden pool, a plunge pool 3' deep and 14' x 8'.  I have had 20 kids in it at once!
My garden area is a little more formal now, its own raises bed really, about 40' x 40' and there are other little planting areas where I keep the blueberries, another section for raspberries and maybe 50 pots scattered around full of flowers here and there.
   A lot of it is concrete now, the area in front of the shop, behind the shop, from the pool to the greenhouse and at both ends of the slated bridge.  I did this years ago realizing that one day I would get older and wouldn't want to weed this entire section.  Glad I did.  I have lots of flower pots to distract from the concrete but this area I also use as a shop overflow and to display my finished work before it finds its permanent home.  This time of year there is a lot of activity, lots of railings, tables, garden benches, trellises and garden art all scattered around.  No one ever visits me and asked what I do!
   I took some photos this morning so I will show them to you in a minute.  One caught my eye and needs an explanation.  It is the watermelon 10 feet in the air.  Now you may ask, as I did, why on Earth would I do that?  The simple and truthful answer is that I have never seen this done before.  It appeared as a challenge to me.  If I am successful (difficult in Western Oregon!) and these are the 20 pound Simpson Melons, it will be like a coup to me!  15 gallons of really good compost soil, closer to the sun, no weeds to contend with and I climb the ladder every day and pamper it.  I planted a Borage next to it to attract the honeybees and that herb always does its job!  Much of what I have done and built has simply come to me as a challenge, something different.  Sometimes this works and, of course, sometimes it doesn't but the challenge is always there!  We shall see, I will keep you posted.  I don't think I have invented a method to grow melons commercially but maybe an additional space?  At least something to do.
Skinny dipping after 3!!!

1 comment:

Anthony Hopper said...

Great looking garden!