When my husband and I bought a house with a large-ish backyard last year, I didn’t really know what I was getting into. I loved that the yard included hydrangeas and gardenias, favorite plants of each of my grandmothers. On my last trip to Washington I happily purchased a packet of Northwest wildflower seeds to bring back to our yard.

But I know almost nothing about caring for plants, and usually skip over the gardening portion of shelter magazines. When a drought hit our area, it took away what little interest I did have in what was happening in the ground outside.

One day about a month ago my husband surprised me by buying all kinds of vegetable seeds at Lowes and beginning his own garden plot in one corner of the yard. His joy in tending these little plants brought me back outside just to watch. Simply being out there helped me realize that the yard is not something to feel guilty about, but to enjoy and be creative in, even if I don’t know what I’m doing.

Before work one morning I went poking around the rose bushes and pulled out a clump of weedy groundcover. It came up much easier than I’d feared—instant gratification. The next Saturday we spent several hours together pulling weeds and raking up pine straw. (I listened to Watership Down on audiobook the entire time—a perfect accompaniment. More on that book in a future post.)

There’s nothing like a bit of hard work to give one pride of ownership. Yes, many of the flowering bushes still look dead, but we made a difference in just a few hours. Would it make me feel more comfortable to have some expert come in and do a yard makeover? Maybe, but then it wouldn’t feel like ours.


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