Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Back to Earth


I am finally back gardening! It was hard to set aside so many cherished activities the past couple of months as I waited for my neck to get better. The good news is that it is improving with physiotherapy. The bad news is that the reason it was vulnerable in the first place is that I have osteoarthritis in my neck. That was hard to accept (especially when I got the diagnosis a day before my birthday) but I suppose finding that out is a good thing as I am learning to be kinder to my neck and not to take it for granted. 

Back in April, I started a big project: revamping the shady garden at the side of our house. The pathway was already there. I created it myself six years ago (paver by paver and wheelbarrow-full of gravel at a time). I still love the pathway but I wasn't happy with the garden. It was especially hard not to like it as it's the view from our dining room window. This is what it looked like in early April.

Pathway and perennial garden in early spring

I completely removed the not-so-great grass that bordered the narrow flower beds. It was a big job but Meeko helped (sort of).

My wheaten terrier Meeko helping me in the garden

I loved this photo of Meeko so much and the way he was looking at me over his back that I painted him in late April. Cutie pie.

Watercolor painting of my wheaten Meeko. Artist: Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush

Once the sod was removed, I added good soil, divided the perennials that were already there (bleeding hearts, astilbe, lady's mantle, masterwort, turtlehead, sidalcea, hostas) and rearranged things. I also removed a huge shrub that was past its prime. When I was doing all of this work in April and early May, I was kind of feeling like Superwoman. Well, guess what? I'm not. I'm human after all. An aging human, my neck reminded me in a not very subtle way. The garden waited for me while I adjusted my pride and learned to treat my neck better through improved posture and daily exercises. 

In the past two weeks, I was finally able to finish my garden project. I weeded, added a few new perennials (coral bells and a shasta daisy) and planted an annual passionfruit vine in a pretty obelisk that my husband Jocelyn gave me for my birthday. Some of the new additions need to fill out a little but now I absolutely love looking at this part of the garden! It feels peaceful and serene.

Garden pathway and perennials by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush
Gravel pathway and perennial beds taken under the branches of a Japanese Maple tree. (Kathleen Maunder - Trowel and Paintbrush)
Tradescantia (spiderwort) and astilbe
Obelisk with passion flower vine and perennial bed
Shasta Daisy - Leucanthemum ‘Santé’

I am happy to announce that I have reopened my shop after having it closed for a month. Yay! I look forward to gardening and painting more in the weeks ahead and sharing my efforts here and on Instagram. Thanks so much for being here!


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