Saturday, May 30, 2009

Step on up! Or down - your choice.

Big project today! The steps at the back of the garden that Ron, Matt and I had created were sadly coming apart - the front bricks kept falling off at inopportune moments. I decreed they much be made more solid, due to fear of litigation.

This project took the time and resources of a number of volunteers, but it was well worth it.

On Friday night I went to Home Despot armed with a materials list written in minute detail by Gary. Using money donated by Dorothy I bought:

- 24 3/8" rebar stakes, 24" long.
- 2 landscaping timbers, 8' long.

This is in addition to:

- 60+ bricks (donated by Ron)
- 4 landscaping timbers I bought, previously doing duty as edgers for the Canna bed (now we really need some branches)

Then on Saturday morning, we took the materials to Gary. He brought out his Serious Power Tools and had those bits of wood sawn and drilled in no time flat. Then he showed us (left) how to do the first step using his fiendish calculations for riser height/step depth/average stride length of an average height European female gardener weighed down with garden tools, and all sorts of other details, as well as his level and hammer.

Today, I got into the garden at about 11am, and was dismayed to discover the people have been cutting off Opuntia pads (aka nopales in Mexican cuisine) from the front cactus. Gah! Then I talked with Alison about Mission Bay plantings, and Ron about his artistic vision for sculpture at P. Garden. I'm fussy about art in gardens - I think Ron makes beautiful stuff though so maybe I need to loosen up!

Matt came back from his softball game and we met fellow gardener Emily at the garden. She weeded like a dervish for about an hour and a half, totally cleaning up the left bed, which I was simply amazed by. Quick, somebody mulch it before the weeds come back! (Thanks Emily!) I gave her a bucket of horse poo for her garden. I think I know who got the better end of the deal (me!) ;)

Then two of our neighbors whose names, I am ashamed to admit, I can't remember at this second, dropped by with a great big lavender bush and a Penstemon x mexicali "Red Rocks" for the garden. Sweet! I immediately planted the lavender in the new lavender hedge up top (as well as two small lavenders I picked up at Home Despot) and the Penstemon in the red bed. All I can say is thank goodness for the Texas toothpick (aka digging bar) because the dirt ain't soft up there...

Also John came by with plants. Oooh, where does he get his plants? He's like a crack dealer. He always calls and says "I don't know if you're going to want this (insert plant I've never heard of)" and I always say "yes please!" and it always turns out be to something awesome. Today, it was:

- 4 Yucca flaccida "Garland's Gold" in one huge pot
- 1 Doryanthes palmeri (15 gallon pot, kids!)
- 1 Agave shawii (above left - yeah!)
- 1 Sempervivum arachnoideum (Cobweb Houseleek) (above right)

So, that was exciting. I had to plant the excellent, spiky Agave and succulent right away, along with a Portulacaria afra (Elephant Bush - variegated) to picked up at Home Despot. Just too beat to plant the others but I know where they're going.

While Emily weeded, and I watered/weeded, Matt built the steps with unparalleled fervor. Wow, they look good - 5 are finished, 5 need bricks added but the bulk of the heavy work is finished. See below!

So, a BIG thank you to Gary, Ron, Matt, Emily and Dorothy. I hope you will enjoy the steps for many years to come!

It's now almost 7pm and we have just come in the house in a state of exhaustion - almost 8 hours of nonstop gardening (we even had lunch in the garden!) Thank goodness Matt has just brought me a glass of sangria... :D


  1. Your steps look great, very regular and yet in a sweet curve. I know steps don't get that way by accident! Fantastic work by Gary and Matt and the donor of good materials! There's no pleasure like ascending the steps you have built yourself, I know by experience.

  2. They are indeed a work of art. Now we just need to shore up the section of path leading up to them on both sides with the same type of lumber and stakes...


Spammy comments will be deleted! Don't bother posting spam links - we won't approve them.

page counter
Free Hit Counter