Saturday, January 9, 2010

What did you do today? I built a wall...

Today saw a combination of two things...

#1:When I first got the house, I went and bought a couple of books on gardening. One I really loved, called Coastal Gardening. While it focuses on British gardens, the conditions and plants for a lot of the British coastal gardens are similar to here. One thing I particularly loved were the herb/plant walls. The idea was you built a wall that was stacked so that there were spaces between the rocks and then you filled the gaps with soil, then herbs and clinging plants. You could also plant on top of the wall (called, cleverly, a topper). I loved the idea, especially the combination of form and function. Unfortunately, I could not see how I could make it work in my garden. But the idea stayed in the back of my head.

#2: So I had this really ugly concrete patio thing in the corner of the yard (you can spot it in early pictures of the yard). I had no idea what it was. I knew it wasn't septic because my neighborhood has septic, the individual houses don't. A few weeks ago, I decided to dig down near it and see how far the concrete went down and maybe give me an idea of what I was dealing with. Turns out that it was just bricks laid down with concrete poured over it. One brick depth. In my digging I tried to lift a section of it and lo and behold, the section cracked and separated. I spent an afternoon breaking off sections of it and tossing the bricks aside. However, there were a couple of sections that weren't breaking and were much too heavy for me to try and lift and break. So the pile of rubble just sort of sat there. It became Nehi's favorite place to play, as there was new sand to dig in, new roots to play with and rubble to jump over.
However, I knew I'd come back to it, because I suddenly knew how I was going to get my herb wall. I'd use the bricks from the patio.

Today, I let Nehi out in the yard to play and then laid down on the couch, because I really wanted a nap. But then I felt bad, because she was out playing by herself. So I bundled up and went outside. I figured I might as well try to loosen more of the patio rubble while I was out there. Turns out that the freezing weather had loosened the rest of the mortar. So I spent two hours loosening bricks, dropping them to break them when necessary and building my wall.


I purposely set the bricks so they were concrete side down, with the bricks up. I spaced them so I would have room to put in the soil and plants later this spring. It looks a little out of place right now, but in my head, I see what it'll look like and it's going to be great!
So now, the corner of the yard is clear except for a couple of brick pieces I couldn't use in the wall.

I'll finish clearing them later, and find some use for them (see blog from earlier today). This also clears the way for another spring time project- creating a rain garden on that side of the yard. We get horrible runoff from the property behind us, and I'm going to put a rain garden in to see how much that helps. While I can't plant until it warms up, I can go ahead and plan the space out and start digging it out.
So, I probably won't be able to move tomorrow (hey- I built a WALL!), but Nehi and I had fun. There's nothing that beats being able to look at something and know that you've built it. I can't wait for spring.

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