For the longest time, I've envied people with a backyard deck or patio. The concept of having a nice place of one's own, outdoors, with a little table and chairs, some flowers, various herbs, a grill and a nice umbrella has always appealed to me.
My parents worked for years on their backyard oasis, taking each summer to check a mini-goal off their list. Their backyard nicely runs into the edge of the woods, with a little valley. First, they added gravel and bricks to make a path. Then came a retaining wall, filled with flowers, strawberries and tomatoes. Then patio furniture. Then, finally a hot tub. When I'm home, I can see how much they enjoy their backyard space and how proud they are to have done it themselves.
I'd love to do that sort of thing nowadays; however, I'm still in apartment-land (a great place to be, of course)! Every time I look at our wrought iron balcony, I think, We need to . . . and then promptly discard it as a later task.
But today! We ventured to the farmer's market and returned with cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, and a strawberry-rhubarb pie (which sums up my eating approach in life: 2 parts healthy and 1 part whatever you want).
And then decided TODAY WAS THE DAY. Garden time.
We went to Lowe's. And felt very grown-up perusing the aisles. Entering the garden section, I approached a store employee with my best Help Me smile. "Hi, I have a question!" "Is it easy?" He responded with a wink at J's shirt. "Oh wait, you're a Cardinals fan? Then no." We laughed. "Basically we want to make a little patio garden and need some help." Off we went, collecting potting soil, rocks, a wooden box and hanging tools. Success! Then, because Lowe's is like Target in that you end up purchasing much more than planned, we grabbed items for the grill that had been lurking in storage.
I had seen a million little potted plants and herbs around town, but surprisingly, they weren't at Lowe's. I think their center was much more "real" garden-focused. After two more stops, we ended up with 5 plants: bright orange zinnias, magenta celosia, rosemary, basil and cilantro.
Now, here is one very important fact about me: I do not have a green thumb. Like, at all. I'll purchase fresh cut flowers because I really just have to check the water level now and again, and then they die because they are supposed to, not because I killed them. The plant in my office is continually yellow because I ignore it completely (and the receptionist is continually annoyed because she ends up watering it). I just don't really do plants. However, I'd like to! I want to have a massive garden in my backyard someday just like my grandparents. Plus I think I read that gardening is a stress-reducing activity, and I mean, the more of those the better.
So the fact that I put together this box, poured the rocks, set the plants and flowers, surrounded them with dirt and watered them with minimal help is EXCELLENT. Except that I forgot to pack the dirt so soil was everywhere. And I hadn't used a watering can in 15 years so I splashed it all over. And then I realized I wasn't quite sure when to cut or water or do anything for these plants (Thanks, Google).
Also, J put together the grill table and cleaned the grill and figured out all the tools. He also recognized that I had a set vision for our patio getaway space and let me dictate all the things. He's very helpful.
*Disclaimer: I realize that this is not technically a patio garden, because there is no patio. It's one small box of plants on a balcony. I'll take my small victories nonetheless.