I haven’t done a post like this in years! Right now I am limited in mobility to areas closest to the house, and only when others are nearby to assist. But Grant is working hard to change this! Here is a small photo essay about what’s going on in the ornamental garden closest to the house. I apologize for not having the ability to place the images right-side up at this time!

The plan is to make this entire front area, from the parking to the water spigot by Wally’s enclosure accessible even when I am in a wheelchair. Having a slightly larger “landing pad” by the front door, and an extended (and level) patio by the pond will let me both garden independently, and entertain friends a little more easily. Grateful that I have people in my life with the strength and skill for this!

An added bonus is that already we are seeing more birds, insects, and other animals by the pond garden. Dragonflies are more numerous, as are the little things I call “hover bees” (I think they may actually be flies, but they are pollinators!). If Grant has time and energy, I think we will thin out the plants in the pond again, and perhaps reset the pond to orient a little differently so the goldfish are more easily seen from the paved area.

Next year we will start working on improving the “back 40” (about 1/2 acre) for accessibility and rehabilitation. We are losing a LOT of the trees to the warmer weather, I am afraid – they weren’t helped by the contractors digging too close to their root systems when we rebuilt. But it’s an opportunity to create a healthier, slightly more diverse and adaptable area. Rather than sticking to native plants only (my original plan 20+ years ago), we will be bringing in some trees that are better adapted to warmer, drier climates (manzanita, possibly umbrella pine, dawn redwood) as well as some understory plants that can provide more reliable forage and shelter for indigenous species.

I have three more weeks before the students are in the classroom, and every afternoon/evening and weekend between then and now I am spending outside as much as I can!