When we bought the house thirty plus years ago, Gary and I toiled to make a zig-zaggy retaining wall to “retain” about eight inches of dirt. It was made of arsenic-treated pressurized lumber and we had been ASSURED it would last through the ages. Lies! The insects snarfed up that arsenic, the roots splayed it apart, and the sprinkler system eroded it like the Grand Canyon.
Since this year’s vacation fund is being plowed back into the house, refreshing the landscape was at the top of the list.
Those bushes were so tiny years ago, but they have grown. And now they are gone and I remember them just as the hateful spiky plant and the barren azalea.
Now we have a stone wall. (We are debating which lasts longer: a stone wall or a vacation.) I think a dwarf mugo pine would fit there and thirty years from now those stones will still be in place. I hope so, because that wall isn’t going anywhere. It is dug in and epoxied and that’s two tons you’re looking at there.
I have great faith in the wall because it was built by a contractor, José, who works for the local school district, and I know school kids could tear down a wall like that in seconds were it not well made. Gary was appalled to find that José is a Republican, Mexican or not, since he’s a small business owner. Happily, José was good natured enough to let us chant “build the wall” at him.
Even though I had faith in the contractor, and I’ve wanted the wall for years, and I fantasize how it will look when the creeping Jenny and flowering thyme grows in, the process was still remarkably stressful. I understand now why people let their houses fall into disrepair: having someone else do things to your house will keep you up at night. Each night I stayed awake and mentally dug the trench, lay the gravel, arranged the stones, tested the sprinklers, matured the bushes... it was exhausting.
Still, as soon as I get a bush in there and get the lawn re-seeded, I will be back to planning vacations, which are much less worrisome and last a lot longer.