Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

Category Archives: gardening

Building a Zen Garden

Worked in the garden today. Not the home garden or the community garden – those are my daughter’s domains. But the garden I’m creating at work. My boss calls it the “Zen Garden”.

There’s an unused section of the gravel parking lot, about 25×25 that’s been left go for a couple years. I decided that was a waste, and have begin in earnest to reclaim it as a nice partly-shaded beautiful lunch/break spot. It’s on the north side of our 2-story building, but on a corner, so it still gets partial sun, plus a nice breeze off the west side of the building which faces an open park. It’s fenced in on 2 other sides, so opens to the existing parking lot.

I started thinking about this last year, and talked about it more than I really did that all much. I did mow it several times, dragged over some old railroad ties from the weeds, spent about $30 on yard-sale plants and bedded the hostas against one of the railroad ties with some rotted loam from against one of the fences. I also trimmed the tall weeds and brush from the fences, and trimmed the overhanging branches from the trees. I scrounged a couple of rainwater containers. We brought over a small load of dirt and old sandbags to spread around, and a load of grass to help start a bit compost pile. It was a rather lot, now that I think about it. I also thought about it a lot last year.

So this year, I began thinking about it long before the snow melted! I designed a grand entrance, with brick pillars, rail fence and arbor entrance in my head; I don’t know if that’ll get done this year. Now that the weather has broken, I see there’s so much more landscaping effort needed! So far I’ve raked a lot, bought $100 worth of shrubs at Lowes, outlined and partially filled the front two raised beds, planted 4 forsythia and some unknown plants from last year, and done some minor trimming.

The next steps include:
– Purchasing a dozen railroad ties
– Taking delivery on 6-8 yards of topsoil
– Purchasing and planting a bunch of annuals as fillers
– Continuing to shop for, buy and plant perennials
– Digging and constructing a small pond
– Orchestrating a water system (i have it all planned!)
– Bringing power outside the building
– Building a half-shed against the building for tools and etc
– Purchasing a push mower
– Purchasing a picnic table, chairs, benches or something

Work isn’t paying for any of this, which allows me a great deal of freedom to choose what I want to plant and how to do it all. It’s quite gratifying to see things take shape, since I live in a condo and can’t do any of this at home. Hopefully things will be sufficiently completed so we can take lunch breaks and “zen out” in this park during the summer. I’m looking forward to it!

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