or at least I hate getting them…or at least I hate getting them from someone whose bank account also has my name on it. Yes, that’s it.
I remember the first flowers that were ever delivered to my door. They were from a (boy) friend and a complete surprise. I was 16 and I can’t remember if they were for a birthday or after surgery but they were beautiful and sweet and perfect. The “vase” was actually a coffee mug. Yellow with the iconic smiley face. I kept that mug for years. I loved those flowers.
I also remember the first time I was given red roses. Also from a boy in high school and for my 18th birthday. They were special and beautiful as well. I loved those flowers.
Then I met my husband. He wasn’t much the “flower” type when we were dating. Not in a traditional sense anyway. He might pick me a bouquet of daisies on a road trip or paint me a picture of a field of bluebonnets (my favorite weed). He liked to think outside the box when it came to showing his affections. I liked that. So I married him.
Our first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife was a busy one. I was working at a hotel, he was working for the newspaper. During the afternoon, a delivery came to my office. It was a big bouquet of coral roses. It was…. terrible. The roses were droopy and looked like they had been slammed into the vase by someone who was very angry. They were not “arranged”. They were awful. I called my husband, thanked him profusely and then broke the news. He had ordered them from a reputable downtown florist who were obviously showing signs of stress with the busy holiday. He called and they agreed to come back and switch out the arrangement. They did and the new arrangement was better. I liked it. Until I saw the bank account. Ty (which means WE) had paid $100 for those flowers. $100 for a mediocre arrangement of roses that were in the trash in less than a week. I decided that maybe flowers weren’t for me. Thankfully my husband agreed and I haven’t received any since.
This can pose a particular dilemma on typical flower-giving holidays. Last week at Albertson’s, their floral department had a 6-foot table where employees were feverishly cutting flowers and throwing them into vases, corsages and other containers in preparation for Mother’s Day. How easy it would be on my husband to pick up some while grabbing toilet paper and milk. I’m thankful he resists the (I’m sure) urge to take the easy way out.
As we headed into this Mother’s Day weekend, we discussed little about what we were planning to do. I don’t enjoy going out to lunch when the masses are also flooding into every decent (and even the not-so-decent) restaurant in town. I don’t want meaningless tokens that are bought without thought just to have something to give me. These rules also apply for my birthday and Valentine’s day. Yep. I’m a joy to love. To add to the issue, the week that lead into Mother’s Day was a terrible one, which I may blog about later. My mood was low. I needed something special and my family knew this.
On Thursday evening, Ty stepped up to the plate and took a swing. “The boys and I have decided that for Mother’s Day, we want to build you a garden”. Homerun. My eyes lit up. This was perfect. I love the idea of having a garden. I love the idea of growing my own vegetables and herbs. I love the idea of having a beautiful yard. The reality is that I’ve never taken the time to try it the right way and it’s become unmanageable and frustrating. But now I had manpower. This was going to be great.
Appealing to my control-freak side, Ty told me to make the plan and buy what we needed. I enjoyed that process. I have been reading up on Square Foot Gardening and am anxious to give it a try. I decided that the thing I wanted most (and that could be completed in a weekend) was a pizza garden. Even though I wasn’t going to technically be growing in square feet, I followed the basic guidelines. I love the idea of not having to deal with weeds.
So I spent all day Friday buying organic soil components, plants and cedar planks. On Saturday morning, my boys started clearing out the area of weeds. I took pictures. This was already a brilliant Mother’s Day weekend.
I wanted a pizza garden that was in a 12-inch deep raised bed. The bed was going to be 4’x6’ and made out of untreated cedar. I used the soil mix recommended in Square Foot Gardening of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 vermiculite. This meant that I needed 8 cubic feet of each. Compost and peat moss were easily found at Lowe’s but vermiculite was a bit of an issue. Lowe’s had it in 8-quart bags at $5 each. Um… no thank you. I finally found it at the Keller Feed Store. Approximately $28 for a 4 cubic foot bag. Still the most expensive part of the soil but you only have to do it once. As the soil settles, you just continue to add compost.
Once the area was cleared it was time to build the box. I bought my wood at Home Depot and spent about $60 on everything required for the box:
4 – 2x6x6 planks
4 – 2x6x4 planks *I just purchased 4 – 2x6x10 planks and had them cut.
4 – 4x4x14” corner pieces (again cut at H.Depot out of one 4x4x6 piece)
One box of 4” deck screws (make sure to get those that won’t rust)
Construction was simple. No one in my family is an experienced woodworker or builder but it all went together with just a power screwdriver and took less than an hour.
We then moved the box into place, dug small holes to anchor the bottom 2” of the legs and filled in any spaces around the bottom with soil. It was time to add the dirt.
I didn’t find mixing the soil components to be an issue. We simply added about half of each ingredient to the box and then mixed it with a rake. We then added the rest and continued to stir until well blended. The soil is very lose and easy to work. This was the fun part.
Once the dirt was in it was time to plant. This I did on my own. I love the feeling of putting food into the ground. Because it’s already May, I started with established plants. The pizza garden plan looked liked this on paper:
And once the plants were added looked like this in real life:
Once the plants were in, my brilliantly artistic husband made the last part of my Mother’s Day gift – a whimsical piece of yard art. Acrylic painted on metal flashing. I love these and hope more are in my future. They look great in the back yard.
We were completely finished by mid-afternoon on Sunday. Camden, my youngest, wanted to know if we were having pizza for dinner. Collin, my oldest, said it best. “Some moms got flowers for Mother’s Day. You got a whole garden.” He’s right and I love it.
I’m now excited to start on the true Square Foot gardening adventure. I’ve planned my fall garden and will start construction on the boxes soon. I’m sure you’ll see more on that in the future.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of my friends and family. I hope you had your perfect idea of a weekend too!