I think that this is probably my favorite time of the year. It's time to start going outside for pretty much everything. Reading, eating, entertaining. The spirit of summer swiftly landed on me today, with sunlight and temperatures pushing the mid-80s. This is probably why I have a Cinco de Mayo party every year. I just can't wait until Memorial Day to kick off outdoor living. That, and I just can't pass up a night centered around Mexican beer and hot sauce.
The greening of the yard became official last week when a landscaping truck pulled up in front of my house, loaded with trees. I had six Canadian Hemlocks planted, and as many Leatherleaf Viburnums. While I would have loved to personally dig the holes and plant the trees myself, I just cannot break through the rocky soil, so I had Bill LaFlesh come plant them for me. I am so happy with them, and they have made being in the backyard that much nicer.
I continued readying the yard for summer entertaining by mulching my garden beds, or at least getting started. I am not sure how many yards are in the bags of mulch that I buy, but I got 10 bags today and will need about 20 more to get the whole yard done. I like the spruce/pine mulch because it smells nice naturally, and has a dark color without any artificial dyes. At my local garden center, they have coupons for 10% off purchases of $100 or more, so I took advantage of that by getting as much mulch that could fit in my trunk, a bunch of coleus in different styles and colors, and some English ivy. I checked out the Boston ferns, which were $24 and weren't very big. I decided to shop around for them.
Good thing I did.
Wal-mart had a slew of Boston's lining their garden center. The poor things were out baking in the sun browning (ferns love shade and water), and just looked like they were dying of thirst. But they were big, and I knew that a good soaking of water and some time left to cool in the shade would bring them back to life. I usually don't buy my plants from Wal-mart but these seemed like they were worth a shot and, God, did they need rescuing. It wasn't until I paid and checked the receipt that I saw that the ferns were only $10.88 each. I brought them home, put them in coconut-lined hanging baskets -- I always keep them in the plastic and then put the plastic basket (you can't see it) into the pretty coconut-lined one, as the plastic helps retain the plant's moisture -- and gave them a nice soak with the garden hose. Sure enough, they perked up beautifully.
Tonight, as I lay in bed writing this, the breeze is blowing in the aroma of spruce/pine mulch and every part of my body is sore. My hamstrings, my heels, even my fingertips. It's a good feeling though, because I know that it's the product of a lot of hard, physical work. Outdoors.