Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Sunny day and the Dark Knight

Yesterday was a simply gorgeous day. Bright sun, no humidity and warm temperatures. I decided to make it a backyard day.

First was to spend a couple hours helping my fellow neighbors to clean up our streets and alleys. There is a 'clean up day' twice a year when we go out in small groups and attack various parts of our neighborhood. We had both young and old helping and it was nice to see them together. Granted, the young male teens all gravitated towards the slightly older but still young pretty young grad students that were there, but no matter, because it got the job done.

I came home and took in the view from my bathroom of our yard. Yes, the bathroom has a huge window, much larger than is normal for a bathroom. It overlooks the backyard. I looked out there and thought of how things have been the same for 6 years. So I closed my eyes and thought of how to rearrange the yard and more specifically the things in the yard. I came up with a plan and started in on it.

First thing was to go get some color. It was off to Home Depot, Walmart and a local nursery. I got some hanging baskets of pansies, some tiger lily's and some pretty purple plants I am not sure what they are called.

Then it was move everything out of the yard, hose all the cement down and put things back the way I wanted. There are still modifications to be made, but I think it will work rather well. My table won't be sinking in the dirt (it's on the cement area) and the dogs space will be easier to clean. An encouraging note was when I found the small japanese maple that I put in a pot last year actually survived and seems to be growing. When I say small, I mean small. It's height is about 8 inches and it has some very miniature leaves. It did persevere the winter and I gave it some fresh dirt and some plant food. I got that as a freebie last year from our community garden. They advertised free trees. I went expecting something a couple feet tall and got a small sprout. I wanted to plant this in honor of Jim. Well, I guess I did, and hopefully it will keep on going.

Speaking of planting in honor of Jim. While visiting my brother I was able to see what a great garden and landscape area he had. They went out to the nursery as a family afternoon event and I went along. I just wandered the back area of the nursery looking at plants and trees and bushes. While there I stumbled across a bush/shrub called the caryopteris Dark Knight. It is a small shrub that has a very pretty blue/purple bloom and is said to attract butterflies. I knew as soon as I saw it, I had to have one. I talked with my brother and he agreed that I could plant them in his yard. I bought two. One in remembrance of my father and one in remembrance of Jim.

Now, here is what you must understand. Jim is a Batman fan. I mean, he has the comics, the model Batmobile, he can quote lines from the movie, he has Adam Wests autograph on a dvd of the Batman movie from the 60's. Hanging in a closet is the Batman costume that he made himself and wore for halloween one year. That is special because I helped, after seeing him struggle with the mask part, I found in a Halloween shop a latex mask at half price. It was the perfect touch to the costume.

Batman is even a part of what brought us together. I went to his store to apply for a job and had the Batman button on my coat, he noticed and mentioned it when I got the job application from him. I pinned it to the application so he would remember me. He did.

Finding this bush was a sign. I mean, Batman is the Dark Knight. Jim is Batman. This was the perfect choice for something to plant for him. Which amusing me because I struggled last year to have a tree planted at the one year mark and didn't make it (well, except for the small japanese maple in the pot out back). I knew that nothing I had seen to plant was right. Yet.

I asked my brother to plant these in his yard because he has the space and he will be in that house for many more years. I left a rock with "I love you" on it at the base of the plant.

At the nursery yesterday I learned that these plants can be kept in a large pot for the deck and will last a few years before they may outgrow it. I am going to pick one up next week and have it in the yard. A Dark Knight to watch over me.


Sharon said...

Love this post, Betsy!!! And love that springtime, and sun, and planting, and neighbors being neighbors are all a part of your life. You inspire me to get back to my yard clean-up and planting (now that the snow and freezing temps are hopefully past) -- and commend you on your quick action once the "vision" was established. You go, girl!

Rach said...

It was a lovely weekend in Blacksburg as well. I wish I had been home to work in my backyard, but my visit "home" was lovely nonetheless. :o)

Doesn't it feel wonderful to get outside after a long winter closed in? I would LOVE to see photos of what you have done. :o)

Btw, I love the memories you posted below. I'm so scared mine are fading as well. :o(

Lynnbug said...

You are going to LOVE that plant! They are so gorgeous and the blooms do attract butterflies. So I think that makes it doubly good!