I started thinking about what the yard looked like before we tore it all apart. It looked like, well, nothing you would call pretty. To start with there was concrete EVERYWHERE. The neighbors laughed at me when I told them we would remove the concrete strip next to the street. “Nothing will grow there,” they said. “We’ve lived here for 50 years. Nothing will grow.”

And I shrugged my shoulders and told them I had to try. And if I failed they would have a new story to tell about that crazy garden lady. Today I looked at what used to  be the concrete strip between the street and the sidewalk and I have Ceanothus in bloom, Bee’s Bliss sage and Lupines. The Cleveland Sage is full of buds and just waiting for its turn. The native Fuschia’s are gearing up too and I’m sure the hummingbirds are watching for those first red blooms.

The first thought that came to was concrete jungle but that was cliche and it really wasn’t true. What we had was a variety of concrete and aggregate, like little streams leading to the street.

concrete rivers

And what did they do? They hid things. They hid the dirt from me. They hid the dirt from the sun and the rain. They hid the seeds buried deep over many years under a sterile 6″ deep river of cement.

concrete rivers hide

It was the dirt I was thinking about now. About how, when we finally did remove the cement, there were piles and piles of dirt everywhere and the guy with the tractor wanted to take it away. “It’s just clay,” he said. “It’s no good for growing things.” Oh how wrong he was. Clay is rich in nutrients and holds the water well. Perfect environment for my native plant garden.

rich clay
soil seeds sun
rich clay waits for seeds and sun
feed me
hungers for the sun
rich clay soil hungers for the sun
needs sun and seeds and then
rich clay soil waits for seeds and sun
hungering, slumbering dirt
hungering, slumbering soil
hungering, slumbering clay

hungering, slumbering clay

I knew it was there – a beautiful garden – just like a sleeping princess, waiting for me to wake it up and bring it to life.

sleep sleepy sun  sleepy garden
under garden garden under wake up
gardens beneath the sea
let sleeping gardens wake
where sleeping gardens wait

sleeping gardens wait

concrete rivers hide
hungering, slumbering clay
sleeping gardens wait

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown April 3, 2009