As the duly appointed photographer for Caddo’s “Yard of the Month” I see a lot of great yards and gardens. I talk to avid gardeners and lawn fanatics and residents who are doing what they can to make their yard a source of pride and joy for the community. Some are young citizens, some are older, but they all have one thing in common- their yards show consistent care and attention. When I photograph some of them I am very thankful that I live in the country away from watchful eyes!
I worked in my own yard Saturday and I was reminded again that I have gotten older and my priorities have had to adjust to compensate for my limitations. As I used the electric trimmer I recalled an apartment garden I once tended where I cut the 3’x5’ square of grass with the kitchen scissors! I had flowers in pots and vines clinging to the tiny fence posts. At another house I kept the edges of the lawn even with a device that looked like a giant pizza cutter. In the past I’ve carefully pruned and weeded and trimmed all year long. I’ve had gardens that required an hour a day of maintenance. Not so anymore. I call my new gardening style “Wild and Wonderful”. lol
Now I use an electric trimmer because I can no long start the gas-powered one. Areas past the length of my power cord get trimmed when they start looking really bad and Gary is able to start the gas trimmer for me. (Because of severe arthritis problems he can’t carry it.) Even the electric trimmer is difficult to use for too long, so I end up doing about a third of the yard at a time. Gary mows with a riding mower.
I use more mulch than I really like because I’m not able to keep the dirt clear of weeds and grass. And even with lots of mulch I still have less than beautiful beds. I don’t keep the edges trimmed with a shovel like I used to because of my foot problems. In fact I avoid using the shovel at all. If I need a hole dug I rely on Gary to do it.
I do what I can with a hoe and a rake, but I have to pace myself. A little work, a little rest and cold water, a little more work…
I don’t bend over as easily as I once did- not because of muscle or joint problems, but because of dizziness due to medications.
I’m not as strong as I used to be and I rely on the wheelbarrow to help me with more and more chores.
But thankfully my flowers aren’t fussy about sharing their homes with a few weeds and grasses. After all, most of their ancestors were wild and carefree members of large communities of plants! It is we who have chosen over the years to isolate flowers and spoil them with their own pristine plots.
I also think a casual gardening style is more suitable to the place we live. A country garden needs a sort of rambling charm in order to fit into the woods and prairie surrounding it. I think it is odd sometimes to come across a severely trimmed and manicured property in the midst of the country. And I always wonder if the owners are in a constant battle with their wilder surroundings.
Critters- from insects to birds to rabbits- love a little “wild” in between the flowers. They have places to hide and nest, and grasses to nibble. I’m just careful to stay alert for snakes!
So, if you wonder sometimes why I take a lot of flower photos, but not flowerbed photos, it’s because mine aren’t exactly picture perfect! Pristine doesn’t live here anymore…I’m not sure she ever did!
(The lovely home pictured above is a previous winner.)