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March 11, 2004: Such a quandry

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I may have already noted at some point in this journal that I am hopelessly clueless when it comes to anything artistic that has to do with color and texture and planning and figure out where things should go. However. If some kind and wonderful person provides any kind of blueprint at all for me to start with, suddenly I am filled with confidence and even a very little knowledge of how to figure out arty sort of things, and I will happily muck about with the blueprint until it might not exactly look like what it was supposed to look like in the first place, but it will be something that I am much happier with.

The latest example of this mucking with perfectly-fine-as-they-were plans has been mainly in the realm of our slowly evolving backyard. Granted, we are sticking fairly closely to the general theme of the plans our friend’s mom very generously drew up for us (in colored pencil and with sheets of details, no less!), but as we put in each section, the temptation to make changes to the rest just gets stronger and stronger. And right now, I think we’re about ninety percent convinced we are not going to expand the porch as planned. Instead, we are going to take out the existing steps (which were always rather temporary anyway) and replace them with much wider and longer steps to provide more sitting area for family Fourth of July fireworks-watching parties, and instead of filling up half the (now non-expanded) porch with a hot tub, we are going to enclose the far end with a few sheets of lattice board and then plant some kind of climbing thing in the ground in front of the lattice so it can do its best to grow strong and tall and try – much like the poppies in front of the house – to take over the yard.

To that end I have been suddenly struck with the need to figure out exactly *what* the climbing/creeping thing should be. Star jasmine grows exceedingly well in this area, but star jasmine is everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. So while I like star jasmine (and in fact we already have some star jasmine which is very slowly taking over the side of the front yard in as messy a way as it can), I would really prefer to add some variety.

Currently the front-runner is Some Kind of Rose. After all, we already have the old fashioned climbing roses that cover the arbor gate (and serve as a perfect hiding place for the little sparrow nest – which, by the way, I am watching anxiously in hopes that the sparrow mom will return and lay more eggs so we can peer at her little fuzzy-headed babies and squeal in glee again this summer, just like last summer). But I am not actually a huge fan of roses as a whole, since they seem to be such a terribly fussy sort of plant. Whenever the subject of roses comes up the conversation inevitably veers into a discussion of pruning, and I am so not all about the high maintenance plants. However, I have been finding different types of roses – old fashioned varieties that look less like fussy multi-petaled roses and more like flattened flowers in all shades of lovely pinks, that might work quite well in the role of the Thing that Climbs. Also, some of these roses-that-don't-look-like-roses produce big fat rose hips that, according to all the sites I’ve visited, can be made into jelly. Yes! More jelly! And it is this jelly possibility that is making me think maybe I can handle just one more fussy, high maintenance plant in our back yard.

In about five years, when I am drowning in a sea of pomegranates and peaches and apples and possibly rose hips, I give you all permission to remind me, in great detail, of how much I was looking forward to spending hours each summer canning fruit and making jelly. Now, however, I can maintain my blissful optimism and get all excited about adding one more thing to our yard that can be boiled and mixed with sugar and put into jars with pretty labels and shiny tops.

Maybe. After all there is still the pesky little issue that things with flowers = things swarming with bees and we are already up to our eyeballs in paper wasps and big fat flack bumblebees each summer as it is so I am not entirely sure if I want to bring buzzy little things with sharp and allergen-laden rear ends that much closer to yet another entrance to our house. But….jelly! Does jelly outweigh the threat of bees? Oh, this landscaping thing keeps getting far more complicated then it should!

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