Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Into the Wilds...and Back

This was a post intended for August, but Summer slipped swiftly away...

This is our second summer here in our little house on the subdivision. Our subdivision is an odd enough entity in itself. Our village is just off the interstate, halfway between the two major metropolitan areas in Wisconsin. It's claim to fame is an outlet mall. (Seriously, I tell people where I live and they say: "Oh, where the outlet mall is!") Exiting the interstate you'll drive past the typical small, rural, tightly packed houses, huddled together for protection from the wilds of the surrounding farms. Turn down a little street and you'll pass the small library--right in the same building with town hall, the playground at Veteran's Park (newly remodeled thanks to added tax dollars), a tiny laundromat, the baseball field, then one more turn and suddenly you're transported to the middle of suburbia. Brand new houses seem to spring from the newly grass-seeded ground--a striking contrast to all you've seen up to that point. Yes, we've cut down the trees (well, mostly just bulldozed farm fields) and named our streets after them.

It's a strange place to find our family. We don't quite belong in either of our village worlds. Our house stands out from the rest, because instead of a Chem*Green lawn or even a sadly struggling grass menagerie, you'll find 3-5 foot wide garden borders all the way around the house, and big island beds on both sides of the driveway. (This picture was actually taken in tame, tame June, the others in wild August.) Our landscaping preferences don't exactly make these manicured suburban dream gardens. They're all more than a little wild (as evidenced by our huge spiders, birds, and frogs, which honestly I wouldn't change for anything). I think most of our neighbors would be shocked if they could see behind the fence, to where things really get wild. We've even more gardens back there, and frankly they're all left a bit more to nature than normal folk might be comfortable with. There's the sunflower house reaching for the sky and carpeted with pumpkin vines, the "meditation garden" which has become more of a nursery and experimental bed, the strawberry patches that sprawl onto the paths, the giant compost bins, more flower beds, and now even a prairie. Last year it got even a bit wild for me. This year it seemed it might remain a bit more tamed, but I'd not counted August for all it was worth. With the heat and rains of August, the wild side of the gardens showed their faces, and one had to be brave to venture in. It was amazing to see the sunflowers shoot up feet at a time, the bergamot burst like a milkweed pod, the prarie grass burst fireworks from their stems, and the green to spread thicker and deeper. The new rain garden sunk it's roots deeper and the new prairie burst into bloom. It was a riot of life in our backyard. It wasn't suitable for the garden party I'd envisioned, but the thrill of it was more than worth it.

Now September has come, and the time has come for taming back the gardens in preparation for a new season. I love this time of splitting and moving and cutting back--dreaming of what wilds await us next year.

1 comment:

Beo said...

If we could only hold the party in June...

Thanks Mia!