A blank slate.

A blank slate.

My first garden was larger then most.  It was an extreme reaction to a nightmare situation.

Deep in the dark lonely hole of grief, I was desperate to find something good in the world. Something to busy my mind. My hands. To have purpose.

My youngest son had died at the end of October. I was heart broken. Lost. Angry.  Estranged from my family. My husband, at the time worked 10 hours away. I was alone with 2 young kids on 160 acres in the middle of nowhere, barely hanging on.

It was a long cold winter, which only compounds ones darkness and despair. On one of the rare trips out I picked up a copy of Organic Gardening. Something on the cover grabbed my attention.  I took it home and devoured it from cover to cover. Seemingly it was the distraction I needed.

I bought some seeds and potting soil. I used an old set of floresent lights and 2 plastic milk crates to hold them up off the floor. I planted 2 full trays and began the wait for sprouts to appear.

My garden was 4000 square feet that summer.

It became my therapist.

My passion.

Where I could work myself into a state of exhaustion for days on end. Where I could be alone. And think. Or not.

It truly is what got me though the darkest days of my life. When you don’t have any support from family or friends you lose the strength to face life. Funny, how no matter how close the friends, the death of a child changes everything. In those days when you need someone the most their fear keeps them away. Sad isn’t it.

And then one day you find joy in the littlest thing, you take that spark of hope and you run with it. It is amazing where you can find strength.

I have since moved off that little piece of paradise. The yard was on the edge of a forest, with trees so big you could not wrap your arms around them. Where the sunlight would stream through the trees in perfect silence. The floor an combination of moss and wild flowers. Something out of a book. Almost magical.

My yard now, is the size of my entire garden back then.

A downsize like nothing I could imagine.

The yard was in such bad shape it took 2 years of work to get it where I could even consider planting a garden. A blank slate.  A complete tear out of everything was in order. From shrubs, and sick trees to a 50 foot poplar that someone so thoughtfully planted less then 4 feet from the house. Seriously. It took a full year just to dig out the roots from that monster.

 

With a lot of hard work and determination the day finally arrived where the fun work could begin.

The pictures below show  my first plan of action in the backyard. The goals here were clean lines and eventual elimination of needing the weed eater in the future.

For just over $200 I got 10 tonnes of nice clean gravel.  I used a double thickness of landscape fabric. Plastic brick guides and a bag full of 4 inch spikes.

It made for the perfect edging around my garden as well as the north side of the garage and was a great start to redesigning my backyard.

 

 

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10 thoughts on “A blank slate.

  1. Thank you Annika,

    It is amazing how the physical act of playing with the soil and plants can be so comforting. I get so much of my thinking done when I am outside tending to everything. It is a great way to work out everything that weighs on ones mind and heart.

    Thank you for stopping by Annika.

  2. Beautifully written. Grief is never easy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. My garden is no where close to being the size of yours, but still, I too, turn to it for solace.

  3. You sound like my Mom. She has always gardened, but it became therapeutic for her in 1994-95 when my younger brother died suddenly in San Antonio where he and I were both living at the time.

  4. Hi Chris,

    I really does fill one with a huge satisfaction. Espically when you are enjoying pickles or homemde pie fillings made from the food you grew when in the icey grips of winter.

    And it is a great way to work out thoughts and frustrations, gardening is hard work!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

  5. I appreciate you sharing all this with so many. I have found that the therapy of nature often comes from seeing new life spring forth and the joy and satisfaction that comes with it.

  6. It really does. I have always enjoyed working hard, I can lose myself in the task and do my best thinking out in the dirt.

    Have huge plans for the backyard this year. Working full time last summer meant I severely neglected the yard. Looking forward to making up for lost time.

  7. It was not a traditional way to fall into a new hobby but I am so glad it is where I landed.

    I have a ton planned for the yard and garden this year. Can’t wait to share it all.

    Thanks for stopping by Rachel!

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