Retaining Wall Dream Come True

Four years ago my sisters and I went to my Mom's house for Mother's Day and planted a "Tea Garden" in one of her overgrown garden boxes. Here is a video we made that day as we got started.

Mothers' Day Garden from everyAugust on Vimeo.
It was a pretty big project that the Little Sister suggested and on the way home the Middle Sister suggested we go out once a month to help my Mom garden. She lives about an hour from us. That ritual started and we all called it DSA. Daughter Supported Agriculture. We would usually arrive about 7am and stay until 10 or 11. There were a few times when the Little Sister made us all breakfast while we worked (she was over gardening) or the time the Middle Sister and I stayed all day and talked my Mom into buying adirondack chairs and considering a fire pit in the yard.

My Mom had a number of "plans" for her yard and each time we went out she would have a new thing for us to do. Sometimes she surprised us by having the whole backyard cleared out, Or the time she tried to cut down the lemon and pomegranate trees. But at the end of the day there were always weeds and more to do.

I finally got to the point where I felt like we were going in circles. If she didn't move forward with some of her bigger garden plans we were just spinning our wheels. But we were spending time with my Mom, so I tried to just go with it. When people are ready, then they do things.

The Middle Sister and I headed out for DSA a few weeks ago and knew something was up as soon as we got there. The front yard had been cleared and something was going on. Below is a compilation of the videos we sent to the Little Sister throughout the day.

Daughter Supported Agriculture (DSA) September 2015 from everyAugust on Vimeo.

A RETAINING WALL! Can you believe it? Probably not as big a deal as it was to me, but I have been talking about this for years. My Mom had a specific idea of what she wanted and she got it.

A few explanations from the video:
  • My Mom loves "butterfly bush" and really wanted it and sage on the hill. That is what is planted there.
  • You can see the pomegranate tree in the background of a few of the shots. When we were kids we sold pomegranates to the neighbors and have recently started making pomegranate jelly with my Mom every year for Christmas. Some time in the last seven years she had the pomegranate tree cut down. To the ground, to be removed, but it came back and had branches everywhere. She is now working with an arborist to bring it back but the drought we have been having in California is not helping. The pomegranates from that tree were the best I have ever tasted. Cross your fingers it makes a full recovery.
  • There is also a grapefruit tree in the video and that tree can just go. As kids we had fresh squeezed grapefruit juice most mornings from this tree. The grapefruits were yellow and bitter. To this day I hate grapefruit juice.
  • The garden boxes (with the sweet potatoes) are newer garden boxes. My Mom had the old ones removed and we helped her make these ones gopher safe.
  • The "black widow" farm is a reference to us gardening one day and coming across a lot of black widows. We joked that my Mom was creating a Black Widow sanctuary.

We did actually garden this day and the ending shot shows some of the iris and other plants we transplanted in front of the first wall. The project isn't finished yet but it was a pleasant surprise and it makes it (hopefully) much easier to garden now because we are no longer fighting a losing battle with all the weeds.

Now I wonder if a fire pit really will be back there....

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