(In Cranbrook, BC)
Last time I was home I told you about my parents house, decorating and building their home. I didn’t ever mention the landscaping projects they undertook. The entire yard had a plan, and all the gardens were trimmed with logs standing upright. The average diameter of each log – depending on the area in the yard – was about 12″ and each was securely placed in position with at least 12″ underground. Cedar and Juniper shrubs dotted the front yard and the gardens featured my mom’s favorite geraniums and marigolds.
Shrubs are attractive when they are small, contained and the roots haven’t yet gained the strength to break through concrete and sewer pipes. Once they – sorry for the pun – lay down their roots, watch out. That sucker is not coming out without a fight, and even when you manage to win the shrub battle, the roots remain to make gardening projects harder. When I move into a new house – I tear out the shrubs and plant flowering bushes. (ask anyone about having their house foundation/pipes damaged by invasive roots and you’ll maybe understand why I do).
Cranbrook gets a fair amount of precipitation and cold winters. Pavement and outdoor landscaping features face harsh conditions. Logs – even treated ones – are going to start to wear, crumble and eventually need replacing after 40 years. But thanks to the asphalt flush against and the shrub roots, our logs grip the earth.
In addition to the other things she’s passed on to me, my mom has passed on an allergy to sulpha drugs and juniper shrubs. While the yard is low on sulpha, it is ripe with juniper shrubs. Wearing my brother’s gardening gloves, flip flops and no wedding rings, I pounded and shreded those half fossilized decorative logs with a crowbar.
As I sweated, broke out into a rash from Juniper, and worried about removing a toe with a misplaced swing, I considered the effort my parents must have put into planting these logs. And I cursed them.
July 15th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: While placing the logs, did my parents consider that 40 years later their children may be ripping out all of their work?