We moved into our house a little over a year ago. It’s a beautiful neighbourhood with well manicured lawns. Our house sits on a corner, its red shutters announcing how beautiful it used to be to anyone who drives by.
The victim of a divorce, the house had been let go. Our first year was spent painting walls and scrubbing out dirty corners. Ripping up stained carpet, laying tile and putting up drywall. The result is a wonderful reflection of us – my first true “home” since leaving my parents.
The yard was in as bad of shape as the interior. The front lawn was irreversibly overcome by weed, the side yard cluttered with fallen and dead trees. As we worked to make the inside beautiful again, we now work on the outside.
An excavator ripped up our lawn last week and we raked top soil and seeded. The chainsaw hummed constantly for two weeks, but now our lawn is free of fallen debris. I’ve dug two new gardens and begun weeding the others. Peeled back the years of neglect in a labour of love.
Each time I crouch low, lands working the soil, or bend over the shovel, back straining as I lift, I think about the hidden gems. Two peonies that I’ve nourished back to health, bachelor buttons popping brightly out front, the compost bin that after years of being ignored has yielded the most beautiful, rich soil.
The strength of these plants amazes me – even through neglect they’ve returned year after year. The roots have spread themselves and conquered the rocky soil.
Late last spring, my father split one large hosta into three and planted them for me. Two took well, but we were unsure about the third. It was too close to the tree root, I didn’t think it would take hold.
Earlier this month, I edged the hostas with rocks, mixing fresh compost into the exhausted soil. And there, poking up was a small green bud. The little hosta that could.
It was more than the hosta growing from the ground, it was all that we had done to this house. All the effort and money we’ve put in, trying to make something that is truly ours.
The lawn will grow, and we’ll keep weeding, keep working the soil.
And for the first time, in all the houses we’ve owned and in all the towns we’ve lived and in all the years we’ve been together, now, finally, we’re home.