It is almost two months that we’ve lived in this new house of ours. People say to me, “Does it feel like home?” and I answer them honestly. No, it doesn’t, but it took a long while for me to feel at home at our former house. Now that the weather is warming up (rather quickly this year), I am reminded that what makes me feel at home has less to do with how the house looks indoors than how I use it outdoors.
I like to be outside, especially on nice days. I like to watch the birds, feel the breeze and see the new leaves forming on the shrubs. I like to shuffle around in my yard and inspect the plants. I like to look at the house and see if the trees are growing too close, if the water is draining well in the yard, if the bird feeders need cleaning and filling. Wondering how things will look is a favorite pastime of mine. Will the lilac be full this year? Will the Black Eyed Susans have those spots again? How high will the tomatoes grow in the summer sun?
Given all of this, it makes sense that having something to tend helps me to feel at home. And so this year I am putting in a few new gardens that will surely keep me busy. I’ll have a vegetable and herb garden, with plenty of space for each of the plants (a good lesson I’ve learned over the years). It will measure 26′ x 14′. I’ll be putting that garden in next week with the help of a lot of newsprint, trucked-in compost and topsoil, and my wheelbarrow and shovel. Today I met with a perennial garden consultant and we’re on the way to designing the flower beds I would like to see surrounding the house. I’ve spent too many years taking blind guesses about which perennials would look good together, and I’m ready to leave the planning to the expert. The implementation is all mine. I’ll be carving out the new flower garden beds with the same newsprint, compost, wheelbarrow and shovel mentioned above.
When I start to dig, plant and then putter, I’ll finally feel as though this house is a home. What a good feeling that will be.