So, over the past couple of days I’ve been doing some thinking and I’m in a much better place than I was before. I think, as my birthday gift, we are going to go ahead with the newspaper subscription because aside from the cost, I can’t really see any reason not to and neither can Blake.
Another bonus I thought of with the newspaper is that, we have this big porch in the front of our house that no one ever uses, especially me, because I feel too exposed there, like every car driving by is watching me and thinking bad things about me, so one of my immersion therapy steps for the summer, when I have the kids all day, could be to stay out there for as long as it takes to read the paper – or at least a section or two of it. (The summer presents a lot of unique challenges for me as I’m not comfortable going places with my kids and they’re too young, in my opinion, to stay home by themselves, which means I won’t be able to do a lot of the things I have planned for the spring and there’s a good chance of me backsliding.)
And that brings me to my garden. If you’re new to my blog, which a lot of you are, then you don’t know about my garden, so allow me to tell you about it.
In the spring of 2006, on the May 24 long weekend, Blake and I held a “Keep Off the Lawn” party where we and some very good and dedicated friends tore up my front lawn so I could plant a wildflower garden.
This was the original idea, to make a large sign that read “Grow Dammit!” which had the possibility of ruffling some feathers in our very conservative, churchy town, which would then become overgrown with wildflowers so you could barely see it and then a “Please Keep Off The Lawn” sign would be placed at the front of the garden, as a joke since there wouldn’t be any lawn to keep off of. For some reason, my friend Sondra and I thought this idea was hysterical and things just kind went from there.
So, on the May 24 long weekend of 2006 (as I said), our friends Sondra, Mariko, (aka Korpsy) Scooter, Alex, (aka Lexibadger) Jesse, Jen and even my mom, all took part in the desecration of my front lawn and at the end of the weekend, seeds were sewn.
Here is a picture of the lawn before the party:
Here are some pictures of the desecration in-progress:
(More pics of the party and devastation can be found here.)
To help fund the project, I sold “PostTards” I made of what I hoped the garden would look like eventually, using a picture of my house and pictures I cut out straight from the seed packets that were used IN the garden, many of which were donated by friends of my site.
Since the original idea of the large “Grow Dammit!” sign became impossible, I just painted one on canvas, varnished it like crazy and it’s still going strong today:
Throughout that summer, and every summer after, I’ve documented and taken pictures of what grows in my garden and posted it in my Live Journal. Originally the project had its own Live Journal community, which I intended to open up to other front yard growers, but then I got busy and couldn’t afford to keep the paid account so I just moved everything to my personal Live Journal. All “Keep Off the Lawn” posts can be found here, under the “kotl” tag.
Here’s what the garden looked like the first summer:
Here’s what it looked like the second summer:
And here’s what it looked like last year (not as pretty…and there’s a reason for that, which I’ll get into in a minute…):
Last summer wasn’t a very good one for me. I was severely depressed and my agoraphobia was in full force. First of all, the garden itself was under performing, partially because of the seed I used (about 10 lbs of wildflower seed, a lot of which turned out to be what I’d consider weeds) and partially because I was afraid to leave my house to pull the weeds and tend to it. In prior years, I did a lot of digging up of certain flowers and moving them to better places and last year I just didn’t have the energy or motivation to do it.
Part of my agoraphobia is that I have this idea in my head that every car driving past is looking at me (which they are) and that they’re all thinking bad things about me, like I’m fat or I’m ugly or my house is crappy. Also last year my neighbours built a patio out back, which looks directly into both our back yard and our front yard and they spent every waking moment out there. I couldn’t leave my house without them wanting to have a conversation…so I just didn’t leave my house and let my garden run wild. I didn’t even water it so a lot of things died.
I spent the entire summer anxiety-ridden over the garden. Afraid of what people driving past were thinking about it, afraid that the town was going to cite me because of the weeds, afraid that people who commented on how wonderful it was in past years were disappointed in me…so many things. I couldn’t even go outside to take proper pictures of the things growing in it, so I was also afraid of disappointing the people who I knew read my blog and looked forward to “KOTL” posts. It was like a cycle, I couldn’t work on the garden because I was depressed and afraid and then I was even more depressed because my garden wasn’t what it used to be and I really really loved my garden.
So, in the fall, I told Blake – and the internet – that the garden would be no more, that we were going to mow it down in the spring and plant sod over top so I’d never have to deal with it again. This was partially due to depression and anxiety – and to be honest, the prospect made me really sad – but also because we had intended to put our house up for sale and it would be easier to sell with a front lawn instead of a garden.
But then the economy got hit pretty hard and layoffs started happening left, right and center and at this point, we’re just lucky if Blake, my husband, keeps his job. Plans change and it’s looking like we’re going to be living in this house for at least another 3-5 years until the economy picks up and we can afford for Blake to find a better paying job with less security.
But I still wanted to sod over the garden and be done with it, until now.
I realized over the last couple of days that I really really like my garden and sodding over it is like admitting defeat. It’s like giving into the illness of agoraphobia. I had a long heart to heart chat with my neighbour yesterday that really changed things. I explained to him about my depression and my agoraphobia and also explained that the main reason I didn’t do any work in the garden last summer was because I was afraid of them. He told me how stupid that was and at this point it is because we’re actually pretty good friends now, and I decided, definitively, that the garden will go on, as it has since we moved here, this summer. And I’m going to go out there and I’m going to pull weeds and I’m going to rearrange flowers and I’m going to take pictures and I’m not going to be afraid of anything. And I’m not going to have any anxiety over it, in fact, I’m going to take pride in it.
In the past, people in town have asked Blake where we live and he says “y’know the house with the garden?” and they say “yes! we love that garden!” so why should it be anything to have anxiety over?
When I’m sitting on my front porch reading my newspaper, the people in the cars going by aren’t going to be thinking “what a fat, ugly cow”, they’re going to see me and think “hey what a neat garden, I bet that’s the girl who made it”. And as an added bonus, the garden makes the front porch less exposed, so maybe the people in the cars going by won’t even see me.
So the plan this year, is to figure out a way to buy some seeds (I’m effing BROKE) and make it the prettiest damn garden I can. I think the garden was at its best when it was mostly cosmos and bachelor’s buttons, filled in by various wildflowers, so that’s what I’m going to do. I want to buy 2 lbs of bachelor’s buttons and 2 lbs of cosmos and call it a day. With that, and the fact that all of last year’s wildflowers went to seed in the fall, the garden should be totally full and with a little TLC, it should be as beautiful as it was in 2007. I don’t know where I’m going to get the money to do this quite yet, but with all things, I’ll figure something out. Unfortunately right now I don’t have any paintings coming down the pipe for sale, so that’s not really an option, but I’m confident, like I said, that I’ll figure something out.
And of course, I’ll also be planting sunflowers in the back, but I think this year I’ll forgo the usual morning glories because I don’t have anything for them to climb on and having them climb onto the sunflowers didn’t work so well last year. I think I’ll plant pansies in my window boxes instead.
So that’s the state of my garden and sort of the state of my head right now.