Monday, February 17, 2014


I used to work with someone who estimated any activity would take 20 minutes. We would invite her over, and she would say, "Okay. I'm leaving home now, and I'll be there in 20 minutes." Her house was near the university where I was working on my Master's degree. On a good day, it would take me 40 minutes to get home from there, but her estimate was half that. If I was trying to compile a report that  required her input, she would say that I would have it in 20 minutes. I would simply smile. I liked her positive thinking, but I think she's the reason I really learned how to think exponentially.

Three weeks ago, I announced my plan to redesign the Secret Garden. I mentioned that I thought it would take me four weeks to complete. I'm now thinking I should revisit exponents. The plan may well have taken only four weeks had I just gone out and bought everything already built, plants already grown to full size. As is all too often the case with me, though, I couldn't stomach the thought of paying more than $30 for a planter. I couldn't imagine paying $8 (after coupon) for a grapevine ball. I wanted plants that are almost impossible to find and have to be grown from seed. So let's just say that I won't be revealing a completely redesigned Secret Garden next week. I have quite a bit more work to do.

Here's what I've done so far. I have made progress with the path. I've been slowed a bit by the discovery that the 12" pavers I purchased three years ago are no longer to be found in stores. I'm still pondering how to deal with this, but it may come down to me pouring pavers of my own. The upside to this is that it will be considerably cheaper, and by now, you all know that this pleases me.

75% complete

I've dug up and relocated quite a few plants, which means that part of the planting plan is coming together. I've also placed one of the planters.

One planter has found its new home
I had to do a little triage with my trellises. They've always been a bit wonky, so I decided that I would attach them to one another to ensure that they would remain even. When I pulled the first one out of the ground, I discovered that it had left one of its legs behind. The rest of the trellis was showing signs of cracking, so I stained it and its twin to match the arbors and give them a longer life. I'm pretty pleased with the transformation because it creates symmetry with the blue arbors at either end of the garden and the blue wall of the house opposite the trellises.



Finally, I'm conducting a bit of an experiment. I want to use Germander as a low, clipped hedge. Most people I've spoken to haven't heard of Germander. It's part of the mint family. Since it's so obscure, I had to order seeds. Again, the upside to this is that I paid only $4.50 for them and could ultimately grow hundreds of plants. The downside is that they've taken 14 days to germinate, which means that they're just wee little fellas right now and are likely to remain so for a while.

Let me introduce you to Germander

So that's where I stand at this point. With each successive post to this blog, I am noticing the compounding of a theme, not of my creation, that resounds week after week. It makes me think of Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," with one minor revision:

Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand, 
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of [patience] in.

And so, here continues the lesson. I estimate it may take considerable time to reach that goal. The garden will likely be finished much sooner.


  1. I love those trellises! How beautiful - the blue is a gorgeous pop! One thing I'm having to learn is to be realistic in my expectations when it comes to my goals - with writing, with crafting, with everything. That patience that it requires is hard to come by when I just want to do ALL THE THINGS right now.

    So, you know, solidarity.

    1. I find comfort in visualizing your raised fist!