It all started with my wife wanting to do something with the rock bed that sits at the front of our lawn next to our driveway Our luck with plants in that area was somewhere between bad and non-existent. We weren't sure why, but a very young tree that was planted there before we moved in died. We're pretty sure we had something to do with it's untimely demise, but we weren't sure how. Since the tree died, we have just left it as a rock garden sans plants. She decided it was time to beautify a drab part of our front yard with some flowers.
I didn't really have a problem with it in theory. It would make the front yard look a little bit better. She already pulled all the weeds out of the area the day before. So we were left with the simple job of pulling all the rocks out, digging holes, planting some flowers and putting the rocks back.
It seemed like an easy enough project.
Notice that I wrote "seemed" in that sentence.
I didn't really think about it, but I had run the sprinklers in the front yard earlier in the afternoon. I figured the lawn going without water for two days was enough and that it needed it. We didn't realize this was a mistake until we started taking the rocks out. It became clear very quickly that we would be working in a gloppy, slick mud pit.
I don't know if you've ever tried to dig holes in mud. It ain't easy. It makes me wonder what the hell I saw in it when I was between the ages of 6-10. Youth wasted on the young and such. You slip and slide around because you can't get great footing. You slowly grow taller and taller because the mud builds up on your shoes and reminds you where you've stepped with a trail of muddy footprints. Then you have the suction that happens with mud. You step and it's like you have suction cups attached to your shoes because pulling them back up is damn near impossible.
Needless to say mud sucks, but we pushed on.
Then there were the roots. I'm not talking about the rap group that became Jimmy Fallon's house band. I'm talking about tree roots that have made a home under then ground where our baby tree once died. These weren't the roots of that sapling; these were the roots from a larger, more nefarious tree. Every few inches we dug, we found a new root that needed to be pulled out. They weren't connected to anything in particular, but they were still damn difficult to pull out of the ground.
It looked more and more like there was nothing little about this little project.
We finally got the roots out of the way. We had a system in place for our hole digging and plant dropping. We figured we had it made. Then we hit the clay.
This is when I put two and two together regarding the death of our previous resident in the rock bed, why there was nothing before that and why the mud and water accumulated so quickly. You see clay doesn't mix with water. You pour water on clay and it just sits there. It doesn't dissipate or seep into it. It just rests like clay is a beach in Hawaii and the water is on it's honeymoon. This leads to plants getting too much water because it has nowhere else to go. It also means the roots will only grow down so far and start looking for new destinations.
But we soldiered on. We figured that we would be the ones that would finally crack the code and that our planting skills (in spite of our non-green thumbs) would persevere. Maybe it was a fools errand. Maybe it was extra stressful because our girls were all about getting into stuff that they shouldn't. We're still wondering if clay is edible after Ana decided to try some (Trust me I wish I was in the state of mind to take a picture of her).
Erin did take a picture of the new garden.