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>Home is….

March 31, 2010


My friend Sandy over at Reluctant Entertainer invited me to participate in her weekly Wednesday “Home Is….” event that starts today. Stop by her blog and see what the rest of RE’s readers think of when they think of home each Wednesday. (But stay here and read mine, too…)

Home is...

This week we were challenged to share about a delicious scent in our home.

But I’m not going to do that.

I’m going to share about a beautiful scent outside my home…in my backyard.

For a good four years, we’ve lived with nothing but open space behind our home. How did that happen? Simple. We’re Gabes. It’s what we do.

We got excited and over-eager (ok, not me, but G did. When the opportunity to swing a pick axe and sledge hammer presents itself, he’s unstoppable.) We bit off more than we could chew with all the other DIY projects we had already begun, and, oh yeah, there was a baby on the way. We tore out the hodge-podge of existing hand-poured patio space and were left with…nothing.

A big. Gigantic. Nothing.

About 8,000 square feet of….nothing.

Well, some things, actually – weeds. Mud. A little perimeter landscaping that became overgrown and unsightly with neglect. Forgotten. Unloved. (I’m a terrible, horrible person.)

Since then, for the most part, I have avoided going back there because it was simply too depressing. The sheer magnitude of the space was overwhelming. The kids would play there in dry weather, but during the wet months we stayed away.

Last year, I’m quite certain that had it not been for the kindness, blood, sweat and tears of friends, the dandelions would have taken over the house. (You think I’m kidding, don’t you? I’m sure they were cahoots with the chickweed and bougainvillea. I have the battle scars to prove it.)

For four years, I missed out on spring.

It was too muddy, too bleak.

Finally, last fall, just before the rains came, we had the massive 1250 square foot patio poured. We used this wonderful, new material called Granitecrete – it has the organic, historical vibe of crushed stone or sand, but the hardness of concrete.

Suddenly, the space had structure and definition. My existing landscaping had a frame. What was once wide-open and undefined was now sweeping views from my dining patio, across the playground, to my breakfast area. One enjoying the cool of afternoon shade on the east side of the house, the other taking advantage of morning sun.

Ever since the first of January, when spring truly begins here in the Silicon Valley (don’t hate me), every week there is some new delight.

First it was the daffodils and Lily-of-the-Valley. Before, they were drowning in weeds and mud and debris. Now, visible in their tidy space ‘neath the apple tree (don’t sit there with anyone else but me), they shine their sweet faces through the raindrops. I could see their bobbing, smiling blooms through my back windows, and darted back there daily to visit and snip a few for my kitchen ‘sill.

Then the roses woke up. Each week new growth emerges, as internal clocks begin to ring. I pruned them hard, giving them their best possible foundation for what I hope to be an abundant season. Last summer they survived on their own resources alone – I didn’t even water the poor, neglected darlings. Now, covered in dark red leaves and the first profusion of buds, I can hardly wait to see how they will frame the arbor and my new red bench.

This month, yet another surprise…while working and weeding one Saturday, the most lovely, faint fragrance swirled on the breeze. I started hunting, and to my joy, my own laurel, covered in spikey white flowers, had been blessing us each year and I never even knew. We spent so little time back there, I had missed her spring-y gift.

So much promise in the coming weeks! My uber-fragrant blooming roses – Sharifa Asma and Gertrude Jekyll will knock your socks off. Joseph’s Coat is competing with Graham Thomas for who will take charge of the trellis. Both those boys will bloom steadily in vibrant yellow and peach and pink all the way through Christmas. Chianti will give us one, tremendous show. Her fragrance so strong it will come in through the windows for the few weeks she is in bloom.

And, my favorite, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, (aka Kiss Me Quick – I can’t decide which name is more scrumptious) is another of the backyard beauties I have yet to enjoy. It was for her that I moved our dining area to the east side. Now in full view of our table, we’ll soon be sipping ‘ritas in her showy shade.

So much to look forward to. So much to enjoy.

Sandy, in answer to your question:

Home is….

worth the wait.

This photo was taken yesterday; the very first apple blossoms popped open overnight.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 1:13 pm

    >This is a wonderful post – we've just bought a house and move in a month and half. The back yard is a blank canvas and I'm struggling with where to start. Hopefully it will be worth the wait – but I hope the wait isn't too long!Jade

  2. March 31, 2010 3:01 pm

    >I love this post! So descriptive and … worth the wait! 🙂 Love those first apple blossoms … now you get to enjoy over Easter! Thanks for linking up today. I so appreciate it and love reading all the posts!

  3. April 1, 2010 5:31 pm

    >Having sat in that chair your two ragamuffins are occupying and enjoying a spring day while they played Narnia, I will completely agree with you: your backyard is a place of beauty in the spring. You are very blessed, and should be super proud!

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