Guest post by Renee Garner
Never one to adhere to tradition, I have started swallowing my grassy yard up with perennials and edibles. Several factors have prevented total success with the work so far, though, and a major one has been communication between my spouse and myself. This was especially apparent one evening at dusk when he felt the urgency to mow the yard. Around 6 PM he revved up the mower and began the attacking the grass voraciously; the most recent planting escaped both of our minds. The next morning I proudly surveyed the landscape, until my eyes happened upon the shredded stalk of my blackberry bush. . . and the rose vine. . . and the oriental poppy. . . and. . .
Well to be honest, I was in no position to complain. He couldn’t see well at that time of the day and I stayed inside lazily reading a magazine with a fan keeping me cool. This humid Southern weather envelopes us for a period stretching sometime from June through October. I had no interest in pitching-in by going outside to coach him along. So, I figured, the price to pay for that luxury was a couple of plants mowed down to a severe state of pitiful.
Last year I was decidedly more creative with my resources. Was it cooler, or was my endurance higher? Though expensive if you consider the price of a bottle of wine, I took my ever-growing collection of wine bottles out in the yard and began picking away at the rocky soil, trenching a line for a glass bottle border; the image is of the area mid-process, a very long process I might add. Or, considered in another light, not long enough drinking and too long working.
Immediacy was a major goal. Plastic was to be avoided at all costs. Gayla’s Willow Edging came to mind, but with the temperature averaging in the high 90s, I was more in the mood to brainstorm in air conditioned comfort than forage for twigs. Enter the hardware store. At the opposite end from the nursery, towards the lumber, where DIY items may necessitate a more thoughtful approach, but productivity ends up much cheaper.
Lo and behold, surveyor’s stakes ($6 for 20-25) and lattice edging (around $1 for a 10-foot strip). The thick flat strips meant less time in the heat, the stakes, well, they’re meant to be pounded into the ground. Thanks to the heavy and constant rain we’ve been having, the ground was soft enough to make the task even easier. I took a hammer and started each stake, placing them about 2 feet apart. I then took a sledgehammer and pounded them further into the ground to the desired height (I used 5 lattice strips tall), and began weaving away. The result is fairly sophisticated for my haphazard gardening style, but it’ll save my plants from being coupled with similarly-priced mundane plastic edging!