Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Bench, part deux!


OK, so today, dammit, I was going to get stuff done in the garden for the tour tomorrow. During the week I moved wheelbarrows full of mulch, and Josh moved the rest, as well as weeding heroically in my absence. And today he returned and along with Matt helped me for hours weeding, trimming, planting and tidying. Specifically we:

- Planted Agaves and cacti.
- Removed all the bricks in the bench area, applied heavy plastic to deter weeds, then sand to level, then replaced the bricks and added more sand to hold them in place.
- Weeded the steps.
- Trimmed and deadheaded and primped various plants.
- Planted a Yucca in a pot by the fence to root it for later.
- Tidied up the cabinet and pot area significantly.

I also chatted with Jess and Sofia  and  Jess's brother, and also Maria. So that was about 11.30am-3pm-ish. We left the garden feeling very pleased. Thanks Josh!

And now onto out headlining story. As a fanatic reader of the P. Garden blog you will recall that we wanted a bench. OK, I wanted a bench - when it's hot out I just want to sit in the shade between violent bursts of hacking at the unwilling dirt. So I got Gary on board as I knew the job would actually get done that way ;) A little while ago we started the project.

Around 6pm we met Gary in the garden. He has been working away on the new bench, using the beautiful old cast iron ends he got from a friend at Golden Gate Park, and the ipe wood we bought, and today we installed it. Oh yes, the culmination of many hours of work on his part, and it looks just stunning!

Here's how we got it there: first, Gary used his forklift truck to carry it up the sidewalk to the Wrong Way sign. Then I accosted a nice guy innocently out on a walk with his dog: Robert and his chunky bulldog Clarence! Robert kindly agreed to help carry the (very heavy) bench into place with Gary, Matt and Sage.

I took photos - I am just a weak little woman and cannot be expect to carry heavy items of ironmongery about, especially after tweaking my back faffing about with bricks earlier.  Ahem. Anyway, the manly men carried the bench to the shady area I'd bricked under the ornamental cherry trees, and put it in place. Then they all had a sit on it. Very nice.

You can see from the photos that is has some lovely detail - two roses embossed in each cast iron end. The ipe wood seat, carefully constructed by Gary, is smooth and splinter-free, should be weatherproof and last a good long time. And unlike the average bench one finds in parks, this one is very comfortable to sit on, and accommodates four manly men without feeling squashed. Or probably about 6 or 7 children/other small animals. Or one recumbent bum. Yes, I know what you're thinking - what if homeless persons take up residence on the bench? Well I'm going to install a motion activated sprinkler so anyone who fancies a nap on the bench between about midnight and 5am will get a cold shower. That ought to work ;)

Gary also chained the bench to a tree for now - later on we'll fasten it securely to the ground. I've bought some rebar stakes and will add timber to the front and sides of the bricked area, as well as cutting a few bricks in half to straighten out the edge. But we have the bench in place for the tour - a major feat and one which many people contributed to: Matt, Sage, Barbara, Max, Robert, Joan, and last but certainly not least Gary, who masterminded the project and brought his technical expertise to play to make it happen.

I hope you all spend plenty of time sitting on that bench, enjoying the garden. I'm going to park myself on it tomorrow - it's going to be a fun day.

Thank you Team Pennsylvania Garden!

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