Today was a cold, rainy, yucky day. Mom called me early in the morning asking

for help planting some boxwood and yew in the backyard. She hopes that in time they will

grow to conceal the large natural gas tank that is in the back. She worked for a long

time and designed a layout that would work and finally found some bushes on clearance at

Lowe’s and Wal-Mart. So my baby girl and I went to visit and help digging holes and

setting up her design even though it was crappy out. She would never have gotten it done

by herself (the guys don’t seem to want to help her either).

It was fun. The whole

design is about 25 feet long and 8 feet wide. On the east and west ends of the tank she

placed the spreading yews that have a mature height of 5 feet and a spread of 10 feet. In

front of those and near the south corners of the layout are 2 standard yews that have a

mature height and spread of 6 feet. On the south side and in between the standard yews are

3 dwarf boxwood bushes (buxus koreana) that have a mature height and spread of 4 feet spaced

as evenly as possible given there is also a small pathway where another bush would have

fit. The pathway is purposely off center to allow the maintenance person from the gas

company access to the lid and valves on the tank. It isn’t the most ideal placement, but

necessary given the location of the plantings. Mom wants to put pavers in the opening to

keep it clean and nice.Â

Underneath the whole area she placed a layer 8 pages thick

of newsprint. This will act as a weed barrier and naturally as a mulch as it decays.Â

What a way to recycle :-). To build up the area to allow enough depth for the plantings

and a visually attractive height we backfilled with topsoil and dirt from her garden. The

dirt from her garden was originally mounds and mounds of decaying corn remains that my

father had brought to the property back in the mid-80s. For years the stench in the summer

was almost unbearable. The compost though has proven to be a wonderful medium for planting

bumper crops of tomatoes, zucchini, beans, etc. The majority of the mixture though was

eventually worked into the ground in the back yard to level it out and fill in a number of


It was funny to watch my little girl outside with us trying to help. Mom

found my old plastic garden rake and gave it to her to play with. For a while she wanted

to be right in the mud with us, but she kept knocking over the plants and throwing the dirt

out of the landscaping. Then she found the sand pile. It’s a pile of sand that my dad

uses whenever he needs to mix a batch of cement. After we checked to make sure there was

no animal scat we let her play to her hearts content. She dug holes, pretended to make

food, made a “throne” for herself among other things. You can imagine she was covered from

head to toe with sand by the time she was done. Then when she came back to “help” us she

moved the bucket that was keeping the newspaper from flying away in the wind. Next thing

you know here we all are trying to keep all the newspapers from going into the neighbors

field. Finally, she discovered the “hill” that covers the leach field for the septic

tank. She’d run up it and then roll or pretend to slide down.  She was just happy to

be outside helping us garden!