Monday, May 31, 2010

"defensible" space

Beautiful late afternoon. I'm sitting on one of the Wave Hill chairs in front of the "woodland" border at the northwest ell of the house. I'm beneath a maple, and a breeze is blowing, rustling the leaves. Penelope is keeping me company, her black-and-whiteness contemplating the groundcover patchwork of lamium and sweet woodruff.

D has hit on a wonderful solution to our lawn mowing Troubles this summer. Much of our near-three-quarter acre has become overgrown because the mower broke. The grass is tall and waves in the breeze. Mowing the entire lawn had become too much, anyway. Too much for me physically; D's much too busy; we're loathe to hire anyone, etc. Plus we would like to get away from the very idea of having to mow, though planting the area out otherwise is too much to contemplate as well. So D's solution is à la (and inspired by) the treatment at the conservation area. He's mowed a green path ("just wide enough for two who love" as E.D. described the intimately scaled path between The Homestead and The Evergreens), along with discrete mowed areas near garden features such as where I am sitting now. I am just loving it. Where I sit feels like a peaceful oasis as opposed to an exposed, undefined corner of the yard. I feel pleasantly enclosed with a pretty meadow behind buffering me. If I (or a cat) wishes to take a stroll, one can take the narrow, inviting path that D's mowed alongside the bed of daylilies. In another area of the garden one can take a romantic stroll to the lovely and melancholy weeping willow. At the moment it's a work in progress - D has it in mind to connect up the entire property in a designed walk... very soon, it will be a delightful circuit.

The garden has become instantly more intimate. There's an idea of rooms and paths separated by undulating seas of meadow that bees and butterflies enjoy. The grasses are flowering ornamentally and there are wildflowers too. I am very happy for this civilized and "green" solution, which works for me on so many levels. This is a well-designed space now, and I feel calm and sheltered for it.

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