A Turn About the Room

At the end of each day that I work from home, I close my laptop (yes, it does happen at least once a day), blink a few times to adjust to the middle-distance of it all, and stride purposefully out of the house, usually for the first time all day.  I’ll often post a status update on Facebook or Twitter that it is Time To Take a Turn About the Room.

By this I mean, walk around in the yard for a bit.

And in the summertime, this ritual is pure bliss. I don’t really have a “garden,” per se, really just a yard, across which I have strewn, planted, or shoved in a variety of plant life that I am fond of.  I think to call it a garden would imply that I tend to it in any sort of useful way, which is false. I do not. I put things in the ground, occasionally water them, and visit them regularly to cheer them on and boost morale.

My Turns About the Room are my daily cheerleading session.

Because it is a ritual, and because I love ritual more than you could possibly guess, I always take the same route around my Very Small Yard.  (I live in a Very Small House, and my yard is only slightly larger than the house — it’s about a 1/4-acre lot, all told.)

I start at the back door, since everybody knows that Cape Codders never (well, hardly ever) use their front doors.

Just beyond the back door lies the shed, which is right now simply filthy with clematis.

clematis jackmanii

clematis jackmanii

Also in front of the shed is a cluster of red, yellow, and orange daylillies. They are just getting ready to burst into song…


Next I check on the lilacs, which I planted as mere sticks about 4 years ago, and which are now up to my shoulder and looking good! They haven’t bloomed yet, and I had hoped that this would be the year, but May came and went with no buds… but I believe that next year will be their year, and I whisper this to them as I walk by. There are five or six of them, all striving, straining to reach ever closer to the sun, and one day they will present a magnificent, delirious-smelling backdrop to the rest of the yard.

Next year, my precious ones. Next year will be your year!!

shoulder-high lilacs

Keep on walking around the perimeter of the yard, to where I first planted anything at all, shortly after we moved in here eight years ago.  This corner is completely given over to heaths and heathers.  Last year the heathers were doing fairly well, but this year it seems to be the turn of the heaths to thrive.

Happy little heaths:


Patchy old heather. There is still time for you heather — August is really your month. We will check in on you again in August.

silver knight heathers

Now we are down to the far end of the yard, at the road. Turn around and take in the full sweep of the wildflower patch, which this month is featuring quite a quantity of black-eyed susans, nodding in the wind:

black-eyed susans

That’s nice. By now my eyes are starting to recover from staring at a screen all day.

Also resident by the side of the road are my beach roses, also known as Rosa rugosa. They had a very good May, but they’ll continue to bloom off and on all summer now.  I can see these guys from my window all day as I work. It’s always good to say hello in person, though:

rosa rugosa bloom

They share their room with some more mixed-bag daylillies and some catmint, and some grass that I never cut. It is kind of a tumble-down yard, but I love it.

daylillies & catmint & rosa rugosa

The rest of the yard is less show-offy — fewer wildflowers, more hardy souls from the days when my grandfather and grandmother lived here. The yuccas, for instance, were theirs, and they are sending up their usual summertime stalks. Soon these will be covered in bell-shaped white blossoms:

yucca stalks

All that’s left now is to check in on the Shasta daisies by the front door:

shasta daisies

Say hello to the most recent addition to the yard, a few happy hostas donated by the lovely Melissa Averinos:


And then sit down quietly on the front steps and wait for the fireflies to make their entrance.

3 Thoughts.

  1. How nice, thank you for the tour! We had those same clematis at our last house, two really large plants. They are spectacular.

  2. We have black eyed susans over here. They get thicker and thicker every year. They are starting to pop up everywhere in the lawn. I wish they would just take over the whole acre of lawn over so I could forget about mowing. 😉

  3. what a great idea! i need to incorporate at least 2 turns about the room into my daily life, and not only because my figure appears to its best advantage while walking. beautiful garden — i wish i could garden, but my husband says i’m not just a black thumb, i’m agent orange. sigh.

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