Wednesday, July 19, 2017

One hundred and twenty-five feet of flowers

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” — Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman politician and lawyer who served as consul in the year 63 BC and is considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists

OUR HOUSE is 100 years old. It's also where I grew up, raised by my grandparents. Because the house has been here so long, the gravel driveway it originally had was grandfathered in by the city. 

But a gravel drive is difficult to maintain especially in winter, and ours is a l-o-n-g one — 125 feet. My goal became getting it paved so that Paul wouldn't kill himself shoveling it. First I got him an industrial snowblower, and 10 years ago I traded work for work for a concrete driveway. 

The deal was that I'd get him a paved driveway, but only if we covered it with an overlay. A driveway is, after all, a huge piece of visual real estate, and I wanted something that wouldn't make my eyes bleed. I worked my way to both. 

In order to put it in, the contractor scraped the gravel off onto the flower bed that runs the length of the driveway. I didn't think that was a very friendly thing to do to the plants trying to grow there, so every night after work I came home and picked gravel out of the soil till dark, night after night for at least a month. I believe Paul thought it was a Sisyphean task, but I kept at it; I'm good at monotonous, repetitive tasks that mostly require only persistence. Afterward, Paul added fresh top soil, and that became what we call the driveway garden. 

There are eight other flower beds. This season Paul was determined to plant, replant, resurrect or whatever else was required for all nine of them. I thought it was impossible, but he did it. He also put in a little vegetable area where we have tomatoes, peppers and mmmm-basil (that's my name for it). The only thing left besides maintenance, is adding crushed brick to a bed that we've decided to make into a potted-plants-only area because it's too dry for anything else.

Below is a pictorial tour and a link to a post called 
Lessons from the Garden from last year. It's a reminder that it's not just okay to need the kind of nourishment we uniquely require, it's necessary — and that not every place provides a growing environment that will allow us to thrive. Other plants maybe, but not us. It's natural. It's nature. So bloom and be stalwart and beautiful in your own way.


  1. Oh Kelly!!!!! It's gorgeous! The house, the driveway, the flower beds and the grass. Even the garage is adorable. Is the house a Craftsman? I'm guessing that you've done a lot of work on it too. Massive amounts of work are glaringly apparent. Thank you for sharing with us - my eyes are so happy with all the green. :D

  2. I just loved reading this piece. The garden is beautiful...I can imagine long meditative walks around it. May it bring you endless joy