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HISTORY | DOGS | HOME | FOOD | GARDEN

Yard Walk

To me it has always been of first importance to be able to take a little walk around the yard. That's why we have built paths. A yard walk takes me through every part of the yard and allows me to inspect all the major beds and features of the yard.

A yard walk is entirely different from a walk in the neighborhood, which I also enjoy. In our neighborhood, a lot of people walk their dogs, run singly and in pairs, push strollers and ride bikes. I love this about our neighborhood. I love the fact that it starts an hour before it gets light in the morning and continues through dusk in all weather. It is an unusual day, and we always remark upon it, when there is no one out walking or running. There are people we have known for years just on the basis of our weekend morning chats in the street.

But a yard walk is different. It takes me away from the house without exposing me to any uninvited human presence, however friendly. This probably would not be important to most people. But I have a hermit's combination of reclusiveness together with a need to be outside. Add the fact that my profession keeps me close to a city, and you can see that I must have a place to walk where I am guaranteed both solitude and privacy. I could not live quite happily anywhere without this.

A garden that affords a proper yard walk need not be extremely large, although admittedly, the smaller the yard, the trickier it can be to arrange. It is also worth noting that size does not guarantee that a property offers the right kind of yard walk. Access, both visual and physical, must be limited, and it must be possible to feel as though you are going from one place to another. This is more a requirement of design than of size.

I visit each area of my yard in turn, always in a loop that goes south along the west boundary, east across the little bridge and the Avenue, north from Wily's corner up the garden path and into the East yard.

Bat-face CupheaHere, today, I inspected the plants I've most recently installed, including a Bat-faced Cuphea. Look at those cute little bat faces. I wonder if this plant really will be cold-hardy.

Returning to the main yard, I take the long diagonal across the wildflower field. There's a weed that's gotten out of hand. I am curious about it. I actually saw it used in a commercially installed and maintained natural Texas landscape once. When it is allowed to fill out and go to seed, it is not unattractive. It's a little scary, though, to see it putting down that amount of seed. Craig called my attention to a yellow bird with white wingbars that seemed to be eating the seeds. If so, that's good. I think the bird is a lesser goldfinch, but Craig thinks it's larger than that.

It is a bonus that on my yard walks I do encounter animals and birds, whose company I always welcome. I am less enthusiastic about insects.

Butterflies are nice. Spiders can be interesting, and I understand their value. But I am appalled at the size of the black and yellow spider in the box bush. He is a white-backed garden spider. Yikes. He was hard to photograph because he kept making his web bounce up and down. I think this was meant to scare me, and you know, it did.

Spider
Click to see the new bed in the East Yard.
Click to see the spider again.

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