April 20, 2011

My garden/yard in April

Last year I threw myself into gardening like I never had before. In previous years, whenever we had a decent spring/summer/fall day, I would usually get on my bike and head out for a ride. The garden/yard took a back seat.

But now that Parkinson's and aging have restricted my biking primarily to short rides around the Washington mall museums, my obsessive/compulsive impulses have turned to gardening. Last year I spent a lot of $$, time, and energy in plantings but unfortunately kept little record of what I'd done. This spring should be full of surprises as I watch what crops up. If you see anything you recognize in the pictures below, please let me know!

Given this obsession, I've decided to start a monthly photo journal of the garden as a  part of the blog.

For years our backyard was dominated by a huge hackberry tree. We tried maintaining whatever grass would grow in the mostly shady yard. When the tree died, I was so depressed that I decided to lift my spirits by hiring a landscaper to come up with a major transformation. I was pleased with the results and pretty much left it alone until last year when I decided to make some changes and add features of my own.

Here's the mid-April view from my back porch rocking chair:

And here's the view from the back of the garden looking toward the porch:

A few weeks ago I added my first garden sculpture. (That's an i-Pod around his neck.) Pink flamingos will be next.

Here's a shot of the garden pond and waterfall:

A couple of years ago I got fed up with pushing the power mower around the lawns on the front and side yards in DC's 95 degree heat and humidity, so I again called in my landscaper to do away with the grass lawns and substitute perennial plantings.  Most of my gardening craze last year was directed at the back yard but I did begin to add some planting to the front and side yards as well.

Here's the front yard in mid-April:

And here's the side yard:

Assembling this garden preview, I once again shudder as I remember how close I came to abandoning all of this pleasure by selling the house and moving into a senior residence. Those were the dark days before I was diagnosed with Parkinson's, didn't realize that I also was suffering from the depression that often accompanies PD, and thought the problems I was having were just due to aging and would only get worse.  A close call!


Zolton Betlton said...

Looks like you've found your Shangra-La. But I'm not sure I'd want to be out working in the garden in August in DC!


Kathleen Mundle said...

Hard to believe there was much left to improve in your garden! On the issues of gardening and exercise: While I love my downsized city life, I miss having a garden more than anything else (although we do sort of live in a tree house.) Your meditation and muscle relaxing exercises are much the same as I've learned in five years of yoga classes, which I recommend to anyone looking to gain strength, flexibility and balance. I'm happily addicted!

John Schappi said...

On improving the garden, you know me well enough to know that I usually follow Mae West's advice -- Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

Trying out a yoga class is on my to-do list. It's often recommended for people with Parkinson's as helping deal with balance issues.