Kind of a Day Off

I’ve been working on my home pretty much non-stop since the return from my vacation. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the weather was gorgeous for a while so I did a lot of work outside. I finally decided on paint colors, which I’ll reveal in a later post, so I spent two days painting my kitchen and bathrooms. Yesterday, I mowed and finished planting things, then spent hours at Hobby Lobby picking out gallery frames only to learn frames were not on sale. I did come out with an awesome mirror that I have a project idea for, which I’ll also reveal in a later post. While I wandered around Hobby Lobby, I said to my friend, “I feel like I’m getting sick.” I definitely had a migraine, so I spent all of last night napping and binge watching Californication. I decided that today would be a day off from house things. I’ve read somewhere that it’s a good idea to let your body rest after a lot of physical exertion, and since housework and gardening are forms of working out, I’m going to do that.

I did go to Lowe’s this morning, though. The reason? Their Fourth of July paint sale ends tomorrow, and I want to get the rebate on the paint that I’m buying. I have it in my head that once I paint, I can really settle into my home. Once this is done, I can start doing other things. So, even though I bought the paint (and two new plant friends) it’s still a day off because I’m not actually painting today. I’ll paint tomorrow. 🙂

Now I’m going to brag about the work I did on my side yard. My driveway is a disaster. I feel like if my driveway were an actual road, people would write to mayors and DOT officials about fixing it. Since I only do at most 5 MPH on this disaster of a concrete slab, it’s way at the bottom of my to-do list. It does, however, have a side yard on the right that has a lot of potential in my eyes. There is an old tree, one of the peeling kinds like in Jersey City, that provides a nice canopy and showing roots. I decided that this would be the perfect spot to test out my new obsession with ground cover.

The before, facing my backyard

I started out by staring while in deep thought. Isn’t that how most huge achievements begin?The logical place to start was by raking up all the bark, leaves, sticks, and whatever else had fallen on this area. That took a long time, and filled a lot of orange Home Depot buckets.

During, before I pulled each weed out individually

Once I had raked up as much as I could, I literally got on my hands and knees and pulled all the weeds out one. by. one. This took a few hours. Then, I stared some more.

Recently, I had purchased some wooly thyme that I knew I wanted to put somewhere, I just wasn’t sure where. After looking at ideas of using it on Pinterest, I thought it might look nice if it creeped over the roots of the tree. I only had 3 little containers of wooly thyme, so I started by planting them. I quickly realized that in order to get the effect I want, I would need more thyme.

Somewhere in here, I wandered into one of the real nurseries in my neighborhood, not a Lowe’s or a Home Depot. That’s where I discovered the crown jewel of my ground cover obsession: Corsican Mint. Oh. My. Gosh. Running my hand over the mint released the scent of heaven. I imagined walking barefoot on it and smelling like mint all day. I wasn’t ready to buy the Corsican Mint yet, so I pried myself away and told myself, “Next year… next year you can plant the mint.” I continued to wander, and stumbled upon some Loosestrife. They had two containers of this plant with purply-green little leaves that spread, and in the early summer bloom yellow flowers. (Yesterday I learned loosestrife is invasive from a friend. I did research when I got home and I didn’t buy the invasive type, that has purple flowers.) And, it likes shade! There’s shade under the tree! So, I bought them. I also bought 6 more thyme plants from Lowe’s, although they’re Pink Chintz and not wooly. Whatever.

I planted 3 more of the pink chintz thyme, and I was exhausted. I said, “I’ll go in tonight and finish this tomorrow.” And then it rained for about 5 days straight. It was finally yesterday morning that I was able to get out and a) mow my lawn and b) finish planting my creepers. Here is the end result:

Thyme in the front, loosestrife in the back.

From another angle:

Thyme to the left, loosestrife to the right

Please disregard the disaster that is in front of the fence. The reason I didn’t plant so far in that direction is because my next summer project is to revamp that entire area. No more planting allowed, only pulling of weeds and pine-needles. The only thing thriving in that area is creeping jenny:

Creeping Jenny is literally growing out of a pile of rejected potting soil.

I’m eager to see how my creepers do over the next few weeks. What’s good is that I can see the new growths on them already. I just need them to grow outward, not upward. I think for fun, I’ll take a photo every week or two to track the progress.

Gardening is so rewarding, and I’m loving having all this space to try things out. It’s also exhausting, but I think the outcome will be worth it. It’s been a great way to check out of the world for a while and de-stress (there’s a t-shirt I saw online that says, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes.” Preach.) because I get to leave my phone in the house and just zone out with nature. Playing in the dirt reminds me of playing in the sand down the shore. I love the feeling of pride looking out the window and thinking, “I did that.” Finally, I love the excitement of wondering how this is all going to look in 1, 2, 5, 10 years.

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