Saturday, July 16, 2011


When my cousin, Melissa, was telling me some of the things we could do and see when we were in Rockford and she mentioned the Anderson Gardens, I told her we love that kind of thing...but it might cause Jerry some concern. Because when I go to places like that, I get inspired. I think, "Why can't we do this in our yard?" I have a long history of coming up with these grand ideas and expecting Jerry to make it all look like it does in my head.

Well, before we even got to Rockford that had already happened. When we went to the plant nurseries in the Millington area while we were in Sheridan, the first idea hit me. The mailbox! The nursery that had everything laid out so temptingly had their mailbox surrounded by plants. (That's it in the first picture) I really never thought of it before, but our mail box sits on a bare patch of ground and has for all the years we've been here. I've never thought to landscape around that. And why couldn't ours look like that? The rest of the trip I kept imagining how great our mailbox was going to look once I got home and got going on that project. When we were in Rockford, I kept taking mental notes of how they had big rocks everywhere (ROCKford) and plants snuggled in around them. I thought I knew where we had a couple of large rocks in the back yard that we could add to the area. I was very excited. Look out, Jerry!

So in the first week that we were home, Jerry got busy and took out the old mail box post and got a new one and reset it in concrete. While he was doing that, I went out and bought plants and scouted out the back woods for large rocks. So on the following Monday, June 13, our 41st anniversary....I was "good to go" on the mailbox project! The plan for the day was to get busy before it got too hot. Get the mailbox looking wonderful. Take a little break and then go out for a nice dinner. Isn't it funny how plans can change?

We started by me -- the project coordinator -- showing Jerry -- the muscle -- where I'd found some rocks I thought would work. The first thing that happened that wasn't in "the plan" was that in transferring them to the work area he dropped one on his foot. Being the trooper that he is, he continued with the work and it was only later...when he was limping...that I realized how badly he had hurt it.

The second thing that didn't exactly go as planned was the preparing of the garden bed. In my enthusiasm I had forgotten a couple of things. 1...Illinois has black dirt. We do not. 2...Illinois gets rain. We do not. While I was standing by with my carefully selected plants and waiting to put them into the soil, Jerry was chopping, picking and tilling at the dirt. After sitting on a slant in the sun since the age of dinosaurs, that particular patch of clay was like concrete. I was reminded yet again of why they use clay to make bricks. The neighbor commented on how nice it was looking and I told him the ground was a little hard. He said he had to get his drill out the other day to put something in his back yard.

So after several hours of trying to get down deep enough to plant something, we had to just give up and settle for as good as we could get. It wasn't what we'd have liked to plant in, but it was as deep as we were going to able to go. We put a bunch of soil amendments, additives, etc. in and worked them in as best we could and then put the plants in. Jerry wasn't convinced at all that anything would grow in that hard dirt, that shallow of a "grave" or in all that full sun. Ever the optimist, I assured him that all those plants call for "full sun". After we got cleaned up and were sitting on the porch (and he had taken some pain pills), I told him what we SHOULD have done was to make a raised bed and level it back to the slope behind it. He just leveled a look at me and didn't have an opinion on that. I said, "Maybe in the fall if this doesn't work". Again...just a look from him.

But here we are a month later and the few little plants we put in seem to be very happy there. So are the rocks. And Jerry isn't limping hardly at all any more. Don't compare it to the first picture of the lush plants all filled in around the mailbox. Compare it to the second picture of what was there before. See? Improvement! He has spent 41 years trying to make all my dreams come true...even the goofy ones. Happy anniversary, Honey, and thanks for all your help.


Anonymous said...

It looks lovely!! There is a place in heaven for Jerry for putting up with you all those years, I don't know how he does it!


Sew little time said...

Jo Beth, You are so funny. Poor Jerry, he is a saint. I love the mailbox planting though, I have had one at both places for years. I did have to raise the bed though as the dirt was too hard. Love it.