An Exciting New Direction

February 22, 2011

At class Friday, I showed Nancy the photograph of that strange wet lump in the crotch of the honey locust tree. She looked at it and pronounced it slime mold. “Ah,” she said. “You have much bigger problems. See these blown-out patches of bark?” she asked. “That’s canker and that tree has to go.”

“I love you,” I declared. “I love you too,” she answered then asked “Why?” I explained how I really hate where that tree is placed, how the one side has to be whacked back to keep it off the house, how she has now absolved my guilt entirely for taking down a tree and how her pronouncement will help in telling my husband the tree has to go. “Any time,” she said. She asked for the photo to pass it around the class and shared my delight in taking the tree down. She also mentioned the husband thing. Apparently, Master Gardeners are also in the business of resolving marital issues stemming from poor plant management.

When I got home, I took a look at the other honey locust and sure enough, it’s got the same cankers. I wasn’t thinking about taking that one down, but –

Well! This now opens up all new opportunities for our backyard. Tonight, I rummaged through my filing cabinets looking for the plat of our house, which shows the house in relation to the lot. I found it, taped it back together (what was THAT about?) and scanned it into the computer. I printed out a few copies and went to work.

I pulled out the notes I made from landscape design and found some of the “basic” ideas – curves, diagonals, arc and circles. First I sketched in circles, leaving rounds of turf. Because of the wedge shape of the yard, I wound up with a very unpleasant look. When I tried conjoining circles, I got a snowman of grass. Ummm, no. I erased that completely – it was not even worth putting to the side.

Next I worked with curves, blowing out what is already there, putting muscle in the curves, as Greg recommended. Not bad, not bad at all.

Last, I considered diagonals, using the lot line on the east as the angle to follow. I created straight-edged beds, full of right angles and strong lines. I added a slash of bed along the front sidewalk, opened up a bed to include the veggie garden and added places to put benches and seats. I put those strong diagonals in the backyard, the side and the front.

WOW. I love this look. It compliments the architecture of the house, it’s different, and I can easily maintain the edges. I’m reshaping what exists and adding a few new beds, but it’s not a drastic makeover. My next step is moving this onto a gridded sheet so I can be sure of measurements, but in my mind, it’s already dug, the soil is spread and the plants are getting placed.

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