Sleepless in Pea Gravel

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pampas grass

Amber waves of grass

A downside of moving to a new place is the lack of sleep before the move itself. Every few minutes my mind wakes me up with a reminder of One More Thing to Remember to Do – from packing to planning to boxing to repair to orchestrating the actual move.

Naturally, the garden cannot be ignored in all this, and my mind randomly strives to wake me up with ideas about plots and layouts and sun versus shade. This time, twenty minutes ago, it was about the long sunny stretch along the south side of the house, where my mind is insisting that rows of ornamental grasses can provide shade and privacy.

And then it hit me: Swamp cooler nearby. Will provide moisture. Could provide swampy conditions. Might create slushy mess. Might need drainage. Must put down a layer of pea gravel before planting ornamental grasses. And just like that, I’m awake and reaching for the graph paper. Gah!

Like many amateur gardeners, my masterpiece shall spring into place fully formed like Athena – or Minerva if you’re a Roman – or Extreme Home Makeover if you’re a Ty Pennington fan. Move That Bus, and before our marveling eyes appears acres of lush landscaping orchestrated by benevolent experts, not a broken nail in the bunch.

Which raises the question: Is it cheating to use planters out on real ground, away from patios? Or am I just begging for pro gardener scorn by taking the easy way out?

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