"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

A yard is a terrible thing to waste

By on September 28, 2020 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments
Flowers are blooming by July 20.

By Jaana Hatton

When we bought our house in Wenatchee in October 2019, we got both twice the house and twice the yard we had intended. 

In both cases, we have been delighted. 

A few months ago I shared our house renovation adventure — now let me share a few things about the yard.

We have a corner lot, large enough for two houses by today’s standards. Luckily the generous unbuilt portion of our lot was nothing but a well-maintained lawn embellished by a lone dogwood tree. 

Why is that lucky, you may ask? Well, it’s like a fresh canvas for an artist, a blank page for a writer; full of possibilities. And I had a few ideas.

The work begins on May 6.

Lawns to me are the greatest waste of landmass. I call them the “grow-mow-throw” menace — after all the maintenance and watering, we end up throwing away the grass we grow. 

Yes, grassy yards are great for children and dogs, but many a homeowner maintains a putting green quality lawn just for show. Anyhow, each to his own and my “own” is this: give back to nature what you can.

The first step in getting more natural was to get rid of the lawn. 

That was no easy task, let me tell you. First we tried covering it up with black plastic to suffocate the grass underneath. We had to use pegs and rocks to hold the plastic sheeting down and still the fierce spring winds (we started the process in March) found their way underneath the covers and tossed them into the trees and onto the street. 

After a couple of weeks of playing fetch with the plastic we realized it was not going to work. In the meantime we had started digging up the lawn, one square foot at a time, with shovels. That was like lifting weights for hours on end. Food never tasted so good!

Then, along came a friendly neighbor, with a look of pity on his face, and suggested we just offer the sod free for the taking. 

“Why are you doing all that back-breaking work? We got rid of our lawn by just advertising it as free stuff,” he explained. 

Sure enough, as soon as I had placed an ad on Craigslist about our free sod, people came — in pick-up trucks, in small cars, with trailers even. 

We were getting rid of it, but still doing a fair amount of digging ourselves. 

Finally we realized a sod cutter would make the work easier. We rented one and cut the grass into squares of one-by-one foot. The landscaping work became a whole lot easier. 

By May we had gotten rid of the unwanted grass and could actually start with the fun part: planting flowers and new grass. Yes, new grass. We ordered a native blend of fescue and clover, a huge sack of seeds from Oregon, and wasted no time in broadcasting it. 

I also bought two large bags of wildflower seeds and scattered them in two corners of the yard. A meadow was a must for the birds, bees and us — just like Mother Nature intended.

Then, some heavy digging commenced. I had decided to start a cut flower garden, but I had to establish the flowerbeds first. 

For weeks I dug holes about eight feet long and a foot deep, to be filled with good soil and compost. 

I started to feel like a gravedigger, looking at those nice rows of hollows in the ground. 

I bought seed packets and plant starts after having done a good deal of research on which flowers are best for a cut flower garden and which veggies would be easy to grow in our area. 

So, in went bachelor’s buttons, zinnias, cosmos and a whole lot more for the flowers, squash, radishes and onions to mention a few for vegetables. 

I planted in mid-May and by mid-August, I felt like I was looking at a miracle. The tall sunflowers were a treat to bees and birds, flowers bloomed in every color possible and the onions were getting tall and aromatic. 

Regular passers-by have been cheering us on and now enjoy seeing the yard as much as we do. 

Even the mail carrier mentioned how much she loves the yard, my BloomYard garden. 

I am delighted: a shared joy is twice as big. The biggest reward are the resident birds and bees that the flowers have invited to stay.

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