Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Writer's Block?

I know it's weird to hear from me again so soon, but I am sitting here in my Lazy Boy trying to think of something to say about our garden.  I've been at this for hours, believe it or not.  Why is this proving to be such a daunting task?  I am supposed to send in a short description of our garden for the two garden walks coming this year and I'm coming up with zilch. All I need is a paragraph.

 Everything I've written so far sounds far too silly and the delete key is in constant use.  It's a good thing I'm not putting pen to actual paper, I'd need to start a reforestation campaign of my own to replace the trees sacrificed in the effort.  I'm not sure how to sum up the insanity that this place contains in one neat paragraph.

I have a few examples of other people's garden descriptions from walks gone by but they aren't much help to me for some reason.  Some people are able to really pour it on thick, if you know what I mean.  For example:

"In our garden paradise you will find yourself transported to a place where all earthly cares cease to exist."  

Wow.  I want to garden in THAT yard.  How can I match that?  This whole process makes me grumpy.

The writers speak of 'garden rooms flowing into each other' and 'down each garden path you will find whimsy and stunning beauty revealed as new vistas unfold in an ever-changing seasonal display of botanical bounty.'

Well, sheesh......that sounds freakin' amazing, doesn't it?  You'd want to tour those gardens, wouldn't you?  I've got to come up with something, but what?  For the last few days I've been preoccupied with my paragraph but I keep finding stuff to occupy my time, like a snowstorm.  

We had a blizzard of sorts yesterday, looks to be around nine or ten inches of snow has piled up outside again.  I was out shoveling a few times, trying to at least keep a potty trail cleared for the Shih tzus with their impossibly short legs and another trail to the chicken coop.  Joel came over after work and put the 574 and the big snowblower to good use, so of course, I had to go out and shovel the snow off the back porch and away from the garage doors, too.  And then Carl and I noticed Joel's car was stuck in a snowbank at my mother's house, so we drove up there and helped him pull his car out.  Trailer hitches really do come in handy, just stick a chain on the hitch, attach it to the tractor and voila, unstuck in no time.

The wind is still really fierce though and the snow is drifting like crazy.  Visibility was down to a few feet in front of the car, and even though we were short on gasoline for the tractor, we decided it could wait until tomorrow.  Travel conditions were not good.  Luckily Joel was able to finish snow removal on the nearly empty tank.  The last thing we wanted was for the tractor to run out of gas in the middle of the road.  We finally were back in the house by 7PM.  And then it was time to eat supper and do the dishes and now it's really late and I should go to bed, but I still have to write my paragraph.  So help me, I have to get this done.

Maybe I could make it a really long paragraph chock full of the answers to the questions we've heard over the years:

"Our garden is a family project which has been in progress for 28 years.   A word of caution, there are rocks everywhere; watch your step.  As you walk up the driveway, notice the path to the left which leads to the Pachyberm, named after the mythical elephant we buried there in 2009.   As you proceed down the trail in front of the house and enter the back yard, you will notice the house needs work, but hey, this is a garden walk, so eyes back on the garden, ok?  The River Bed is planted with annuals every year.  Yes, annuals.  No, not perennials.  Why?  Because I like to change the color scheme.  I'm weird like that.  A little further on in the yard is the Quarry, which is a fake hole in the ground lined with big rocks.  No, this wasn't a real quarry, it's Faux.  Some of the rocks are tilting and need work because dig-happy woodchucks have made it their mission to excavate dwellings, much to our dismay.  Depending on the season the pond itself will be either a puddle or a too-full lake, and no, it's not lined and there's no way to control the water levels.  Yes, we could fill it with a hose, but no, we won't because we really, really like to have water to drink and don't want to drill a new well.  Proceeding to the Formal Garden, the dome was something we built in 2004, no, it is not the top off of an old silo, and yes, we are fighting an unending battle with Creeping Charlie in the lawn which, sadly, has never seen an attempt at lawn care other than mowing.  Notice the hills behind the Quarry and on the east side; they are a pain to weed and we're thinking about changing some of the rocks but we're getting older every year and the rocks keep getting heavier.  Yes, that is a field stone pyramid.  Why? Because we had spare rocks and thought it was a good idea.  No, this is not the base of the silo or a ruin, this is going to be a round house called Aaargh......on second thought, never mind; you're right, it is a Ruin.  Moving on through the Egress Gate, well, we would go through the Egress Gate, but I hit it with the lawnmower two years ago and we took it down so Carl could weld it and that may or may not have happened by the time of the tour, so anyway, yes, those are rocks with holes drilled in them. Why?  No reason, we just like Holey Rocks.  Moving on to the hosta beds, yep, there are a lot of them.  The walls surrounding the beds are made from tufa stone, which in a former life used to be a shrine at a convent.  Long story.  As you walk past Ernie the Urn on the other side is Willie the Willow, casting shade on your stroll. Yes, the willow tree is big and yes, he's not particularly sturdy-looking in places, so walk fast.  Thanks for coming."

Ok, so I'm in a bad mood and this will never do.  Should I get real sappy?

"Upon entering our paradise you will be transported to a mountainous range of rocks of many mineral types.  Limestone, granite, tufa, and sandstone find their home here, coexisting peacefully with the annual and perennial blooms bursting forth with exquisite colors.  Pause for a moment on your stroll and truly stop and smell the roses planted along the path for just this purpose.  See the butterflies dancing in the gentle breeze and glimpse the ruby-throated hummingbird as he dashes hither and yon amidst the verdant greenery.  Note the whimsy inherent in our use of found objects cleverly repurposed as fountains and garden statuary.  Stroll across the manicured lawns to gaze upon a seemingly abandoned stone quarry and pond studded with waterlily blossoms.  Watch the dragonflies dance in their merry, dizzying flights over the surface of the glistening water.  Notice the charming ruin which has endured many seasons of weathering, imagine yourself far away in a mystical land of castles and knights......."......ok, we bring this particular fantasy to a screeching halt.  To quote Monty Python, "NO SINGING!!"

All right, I have to get serious.

Our two acre garden started as a family project on a shoestring budget nearly thirty years ago.   Countless tons of stone have been used extensively throughout the garden and especially in the area we call the Quarry, which was five years in the making.  Annuals form the backbone of several garden areas, while hostas anchor the shaded beds, along with a growing collection of dwarf conifers.  There are several homemade structures made from recycled materials; a dome, fountain, and several arbors.  Throughout the entire garden stone is prevalent; we've never met a rock we didn't like.  

Hmmmmmmmmmm......maybe that's not too bad?  What do you think?  Oh, wow, it's really getting late now, so I'd best hit the hay. 

 I anxiously await your revisions, suggestions, critiques and hearty guffaws tomorrow.   




FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Oh my gosh Karen ~ Writer's block? I don't think so.

I really enjoyed your three writings. The first two had me laughing right out loud, (a good thing for me right now. Laughter.)

The serious one sounds right for what you need to write, down to the point. But the other ones are really terrific!!!! I have always enjoyed your sense of humor and love your writing style.

Love and hugs to you and Carl ~ FlowerLady

Pamela Gordon said...

Hi Karen, I really enjoyed this post and laughed out loud at your so called writer's block. You did a great job in all three descriptions of your gardens. I love your sense of humour. Don't stop!! Have a great day. Pamela

Alison said...

Well, personally I loved your first one and think you should submit that, but then I'm a trouble-maker. Actually, a combo of the first and last. Inject just a smidgen of your self-deprecating humor into the last attempt, and you've got it. I was also going to suggest mining some of your blog posts for good stuff, but a lot of it is very much like that first one. I've been on lots of garden tours, and I seldom find anything either interesting or truthful in the descriptions. No one will remember what it said once they set foot out of their cars anyway. But they will remember your wonderful garden.

Chad B said...

That last paragraph is worthy of inclusion in the program, Karen. Go with it. But I appreciated the other ones for your honest humor. Too bad you can't use though. That would definitely get my attention as a would-be garden walker.

sharon malueg said...

Hi Karen
I really like the sappy, but don't know why you call it that. That is truly how I feel when I get to walk through your gardens. You and Carl (Ann & Joel too) really do work so hard and I truly am honored to be lucky enough to see them. Glad you made it through the winter storm okay.
Hugs Sharon

Indie said...

Ha, I enjoyed all of these immensely, especially the first two! Can you publish them all, and let people pick the one they like best? ;) No, really, the last one sounded quite good and succinct, though I really love your phrasing in the middle paragraph about the 'seemingly abandoned stone quarry and pond studded with waterlily blossoms.' I think you should slip that in there somewhere.. :)

Karen said...

Lorraine and Pamela, I'm glad you got a kick out of these goofy paragraphs. I had a fun time writing them even if it did take me until 3AM.

Alison, I know, I've read garden descriptions before walking into a tour and then wondered if I was in the right place. As long as they see the 'rocks' listed, there shouldn't be any confusion here. lol

Thanks Chad, it would be fun to use the sarcastic one.

Sharon, welcome to the blog, thank you for your kind words.

Indie, I did rewrite the last one and added a little bit about the quarry itself. I really appreciate the support, who knew a paragraph could be so brutal?