Composthaste’s Weblog

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Arborius laborium

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The real reason for this blog is to chronicle my gardening efforts. As a new homeowner, I am excited about the prospect of a garden. This excitement lasts about as long as it takes for me to walk from my computer/desk/TV to the backyard. At this point, as I look out at a great expanse of woods, my enthusiasm wanes a little. As I trudge out to the garage to get my gardening tools, which smell of the hound droppings they were most recently employed to pick up, the enthusiasm is down to a general interest. When I walk out to the “unfinished” portion of the backyard, I realize the deception of scale….it looked a little smaller from the comfort of the living room. My enthusiasm now a passing curiosity. By the time my rake gets entangled in the first root system, I remember the joy of my previous townhouse and the 3 pots that constituted my garden. At this point I can’t recall the feeling of enthusiasm and I am back on the couch with a beer and an episode of Desperate Housewives on DVD.

Well, no longer. This spring I’m going to turn my black thumb green. I’m going to put in a patio, grow vegetables and herbs, keep my rose bushes neatly trimmed and beat the weeds into submission.

We’ll start with the backyard. If you’re not already aware, the previous owner of the house is a fastidious woman with no great love for animals. The backyard had some lovely grass, then a creek running parallel to the house, beyond which is 1/3 of an acre at most with some scattered trees and random ground cover. It is in the very back where my neonatal compost heap has begun…..I think I’m up to 6 egg shells, a few avocado pits, and some carrot shavings. The first order of business after moving into the house was putting up a fence so that my adorable lummox can run free without the need for a leash….or a dogwalker.

The yard began very nicely, it has quite a slope to it down to the right which you might gather from the Over this slope grew a fantastic Wandering Jew plant. The purple flowers were gorgeous, and the plant’s succulent stems were a lovely change from the spindly plants that grow in Indiana. They also, it turns out, provide excellent traction for large quadrupeds to get to the bottom of a sloped surface quickly (going around said slope clearly takes too long on a bloodhound’s busy schedule). I was certain that once a path was worn through the W Jew, that the carnage would stop. Sadly, the gestapo of Wyatt would not rest until the plant was obliterated.


That’s it. Here is my first task. Clearly he can be trusted with neither plants nor grass (his urine apparently, like his breath, is lethal) so I will eliminate the slope, build a small but elegant retaining wall and cap it off with a patio. The remainder of the yard will get mulched so he can track his large muddy paws no longer. It was time to consult a landscaper.

My recommendation to those considering a landscaper: consider a reasonable price for the materials and labor that you think would be appropriate for your project and then triple it. This will bring you closer to the actual price and it avoids the embarrassment of your potential contracter having to help you off the floor after you’ve fallen from your stool.

I’m no idiot. Despite my concussion, I knew then that it was time for a second opinion……tune in next time as I describe limping through the Spring Garden Show 2008.


Written by composthaste

March 2, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Love the story about the wandering jew! Good luck finding contractors. Angie’s List (and Roxxors!


    March 3, 2008 at 4:14 am

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