Digging In

So, we have been doing things. Notably, trying to keep seven fruit and nut trees alive in our basement for longer than most orchards recommend, because the weather has been random and weird and not at all conducive to digging holes and actually planting trees.

And then there was the matter of the utilities. I spent the winter months dreaming and scheming about the best placement of all of the various edibles on our property, and had earmarked a spot on the northern edge of our property in the front yard as being the best spot for an orchard hedgerow. Great sun, solved an aesthetic problem (the not-so-lovely view of our neighbor’s driveway) and had an absence of existing planting beds, so could use a little  something.

Well as it turns out, there’s a reason the previous owner didn’t plant anything there – it’s where all of the utilities, including electricity, cable, and gas – come into the property. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

The next suitable spot is in the backyard, along the western edge of the property. Only problem is, there was a trio of  young lilacs already in residence. But a door never closes without a window opening, and as it turns out this new problem is actually the solution to a few issues. Number one, I hate shrubs, and the entire front of the house is swathed in bushes. Number two, half of said bushes are dead. Not precisely an elegant landscaping situation. So, slowly but surely, out come the shrubs, and in go the new – in this case, lilacs.

Here’s the before with some of the offending shrubs –


The sentinels are out of control… when we moved in six months ago (has it been six months!?) husband gave them a buzz cut and trimmed them down quite a bit, but at that point it became apparent that despite the lush greenery in this photo, they were actually quite unhealthy. And anyway, my hatred for them was cemented from the first. So out they must go. So the lilacs have found a home flanking the big window –


Now granted – you might be thinking it looks worse at the moment and is not much of an improvement. And yeah – I can see that. I kind of feel the same way – they’ve not got any new growth on them yet (I mean, it is only mid-April in Northern Illinois…) but they have leaf buds on them, so I have hope that they will take to their new location. And obviously all the mulch has been pulled out of this bed for this little transplant operation, so that adds to the sparse look. Ultimately the big hedge will come out and something else (still TBD) will go in. And I’d love to install a window box planter on this window, and we definitely need to do something about the faux shutters on the house… it’s amazing how one little change opens up a black hole into the five billion other things you want to/should do. Crazy! But aside from that, I’m hoping the lilacs take to their new location, because the prospect of the lovely smell of lilacs wafting into the open windows on the springtime breeze is a wonderful thought indeed.

Oh yeah – and now we need to dig seven holes in the newly opened space in the backyard and get the orchard planted!