I love Sunset Magazine. I don't even know how long I've been reading it - longer than I've had a house of my own, certainly. When I recently did a clean out of my magazine subscriptions, Sunset was one of only 3 subscriptions I didn't cancel and the other two have since lapsed. I love when that new issue arrives in my mailbox and I can curl up with a mug of tea and flip through the pretty lifestyles that don't actually seem so unattainable, unlike a lot of magazines I used to read!
When I bought my house it had been a rental for a number of years, so as you might imagine the yard had largely gone to pot. Everything was overgrown or weedy. The gophers had the run of the place and I had the twisted ankles to prove it. A couple of times in the years that I've lived here I managed to rein in the weeds in one or another corner of the lot, but I've never really had the place looking good all at once. I've never even had all of the front or all of the back looking good at once. Let's just say the yard was best enjoyed with blinders on. Just focus on this clean bit and don't look over there!
I've added flower beds, let them grow over, installed a container garden and let it get unruly, trimmed back the lovely antique roses that came with the place and then let them get out of control again, built raised vegetable beds and then forgot to clear them out in the fall, and hoed the weeds down to the dirt just to have them spring back after the next rain. It has definitely been a one-step-forward-two-steps-back sort of situation. But slowly, slowly, at least the back yard was becoming habitable. But then my back went out last fall right when I should have been cleaning up the garden for the winter. So that didn't happen. By the time my back healed I was too pregnant to do much in the way of yard work. And then right when it started to get warm again I had a new baby.
One fine day in late March I tied the baby to my chest and went out to survey the damage in the back yard. I could see the bones, and they were lovely. But oh, the weeds. So I set in. After about 30 minutes, during which I woke the baby by leaning forward so far, drenched myself in sweat from wearing 18 yards of Moby in full sun, and only pulled about 4 linear feet of weeds, I admitted defeat and called my friend Kate for some help.
I think she spent 6 hours back there, and let me tell you, that woman is a whirlwind. She dealt with the weeds, cleared out the veggie beds, refilled them with fresh dirt and compost, brought me veggie seedlings, was ruthless with the containers (emptied some, cut others back), and even cleared out the trash (hoarded containers) that was lurking in one back corner. Do you need help in your garden? Hire this woman.
By Mother's Day, I had a garden worthy of a Sunset photo shoot. At least from one wide angle.
But that's a great start!