Four sleeps until mulch

I am counting down the days until the mulch truck arrives. Three days, and then I can scatter wildflower seeds on the slope out back: a moment I’ve waited for for weeks.

I can’t stop thinking about the garden. Our back yard is a steep hill that makes me pant when I mow it. When we moved in, the top corner was overgrown with forsythia, brambles, poison ivy, and I don’t know what all else. Whatever was back there, it wasn’t pretty. It was a tangled, impenetrable mess I thought we’d never be able to clean up.

Slowly, over the past two years, we dug out stumps, pulled out vines, and eventually got the patch down to bare dirt. My husband and son got it to that point a few weeks ago, on a warm day in winter.

When confronted with a bare expanse of earth on our property, I want to fill it with flowers.

Since that day several weeks ago, I have consulted garden books, garden magazines, butterfly books, seed catalogs. I’ve been to our local nursery, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Pike nursery in Charlotte, NC, while we were there for our son’s soccer tournament. I’ve started a gardening notebook, an online gardening log, and added a Garden category to my blog menu so I can easily access posts that tell me when I did what in the garden in years past (we were <a href=””>killing lawn</a> this time last year).

I’m ready. And now the time is almost here. Three days until the mulch arrives. Three days until I can sow seeds.

We have a back deck I never sit on because there’s nothing to look at but grass. Instead, when I want to sit outside, I take a folding camp chair to the front garden and pop it open under the dogwood tree so I can be among hummingbirds and butterflies. Now, we have a bird feeder out back. It has lured goldfinches and woodpeckers to our back yard, so sitting out back is more appealing now. But there are still no flowers. Soon, though. Soon we will have a wildflower patch for butterflies and hummingbirds.

Starting Thursday, our kids’ spring break begins and so does mine. I’m taking several days off from work to play in the dirt. In my research I’ve found several species I *must* have out back for the butterflies — parsley, dill, cleome, zinnia, globe amaranth. I bought seed packets for those. I also have seeds gifted from my friend <a href=””>Dorothy</a>’s garden — milkweed, blazing star (Liatris), and blanket flower (Gaillardia). And to fill in the rest of the area, I bought a 1.5 pound bag of Pennington wildflower seeds to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Surely from all of those sources, something will come up.

I’ve already got my first day off planned out. The day is forecast to be sunny, with a low of 41° F the night before, and a high of 71 during the day. I’ll have a lie-in, as my British friend calls it, to let the temperature come up a bit before heading outside. After my smoothie breakfast, I’ll pull a bowl from the cupboard and stir seeds from my store-bought packets and seeds from my friend into the wildflower mix from Pennington. I’ll huff up the hill with a hoe and a heavy rake to break up and smooth the soil, then I’ll sprinkle seeds over the entire area. I’ll rake again to cover them.

And when I hear the rumble of the mulch truck coming down the street, and the screech and clang of the metal dumper spilling 6 cubic yards of shredded hardwood bark onto our driveway, I’ll wheel my barrow down the hill and start shoveling.

The only thing I’m still trying to figure out is whether to distribute the seeds randomly, or to create a few patches within the plot — a milkweed clump, for example, or a dill clump. I still can’t decide.

I’ve got time. Three more days until the fun begins.

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