Jane’s beautiful little espaliered apple tree is in: it looks like one of Tolkien’s elvish trees, three branches on a side, and centered on the back (barn red) fence. It has a Gravenstein graft, a Fuji, a Gala, Yellow Delicious, Yellow Transparent, and a Red Macintosh. And it’s going to be a gorgeous backdrop, beyond a freestanding arch with clematis, at the back of what will someday be a little rill of water leading down to a secondary miniature pond.

We got some fancy juniper for that major thoroughfare-side bed: we want something that survives the shadow and chemistry of hemlocks, and that we don’t have to tend if we just keep the water going. Jane thinks putting a couple of our extra firebushes in there will be nice, too, and I agree.

We’ve got a pink magnolia (it was on special) and Jane’s dogwood. I wanted a Dawn Redwood, but they are, well, they’re a redwood, and they’re tall, like 100 feet. They have the most interesting foliage, and trunk, kind of a red shag, and they’re a deciduous tree, shedding their needles in fall, and coming on with brilliant green new growth in spring. I like them for their antiquity…as I’d still like an araucaria (monkey puzzle tree) —but it grows so slowly, and is spendy for such a tiny stick. Dinos would be practically at home with those two. But alas, they’re big and they’re messy. We also had a more favorable look at a nicely priced Korean silver fir, but we were set back when Jane brushed a branch and got a thick cloud of pollen. That’s daunting. But they are gorgeous. Our weeping contorted birch is coming on nicely with leaves.

The next step, we think, will be digging 6’x18″ pit in the front lawn for a ‘dry’ pond, ie, there’s water in it, but there are rocks, a lot of rock, and the water stays invisible under the rocks until it comes out the fountain and falls back in again. That is beside the blue spruce and the weeping birch and the dogwood and magnolia. That will be the west of the lawn. The east—well, we are just planning on a dry streambed (really no water in this one) and mulch, my iris, and what else we’re not sure.

I’m sure we’ll have ideas for that side when we get there. I didn’t mention the retaining walls; but we’re going to have a pretty classic juniper with pale tips ‘fall’ down from lawn level over the retaining wall edge, and a couple of really frilly junipers as the ‘gateway’ up the front steps to the garden/woods, which will require very little water, and no more mowing.

And once done, it’s done, and we’ll be able to do all the OTHER things we want to do—the ship models we have yet to build, some of the internal fixup we want to do—maybe Jane will get back to her cross-stitch and I might warp the loom again. Leisure could be good. Especially hobbies that don’t involve mud. Right now my hands feel like old paper.