We brought in a final half yard of Alpine Green gravel to place in a few final spots and finish the graveling projects for the season. A serendipidous find at a local discount store gave us a charming addition to the yard. A few other details completed the picture for the season.
Our half yard of gravel turned out to be the wrong color. I had evidently been hauling in a different color all summer and this Alpine Green, though I love it, just doesn't match what was already being used. We spread it around trying to blend it into what we already had and we'll hope for the best. Over the years as we add gravel to the existing spots we'll bring in the Alpine since I like it better and eventually it will all look fine. In the meantime the goals were to finish off a bit of the path around the east side of the barn, create a small hint of a path at the edge of the deck and to level the new concrete bench installed recently on the stage in the Secret Garden. The rest of the gravel would be used to begin graveling the back side of the barn (actually a project for next spring) where it will act as the foundation and floor for the lean-to greenhouse that we'll install on the back of the barn.
While we were out on a shopping run and to pick up the gravel yesterday, we went into K-Mart's garden center looking for some end of season plants to replace one that had died in a planter on the front porch. They were cleaned out of plants but we stumbled across two nice looking fountains that were on a very good sale. We chose the classic Italian looking one that you would commonly find built into a stone wall. The thing weighs a ton. We couldn't begin to lift it into the truck, but after some help from a pallet lift and another guy my size, we eventually got it into the back of our truck. We didn't even consider how we'd get it out but we knew we'd have to since the gravel had to be loaded. After deciding to place it on the lower deck near the hot tub we next had to figure out how to get it out of the truck. Physics to the rescue. I found a 6 foot length of 2" X 6" and was able to lift the base of the fountain just high enough for Leslie to slip the lumber under the fountain. Another lift and another push under the fountain with the lumber and we were set. Leslie pushed the 2 X 6 towards the ground as I pulled the fountain further out on the edge of the tailgate. The fountain's center of gravity tilted just enough and the fountain came up in the air. Carefully maneuvering the fountain to keep it centered, we slide it slowly down the 2 X 6 until the base was on the ground. It was easy to tilt it upright and from there a dolly moved the fountain right where we wanted it. A few mums in some new pots surrounding the base and our new fountain looked gorgeous.
The spot where the new fountain was placed was the former home of an already exisiting fountain. I had planned to put a fountain in the Secret Garden but that was to be a project for next season. But the price for the new fountain was so good we just couldn't pass it up. So the old fountain went into the bed along the west wall of the barn right next to an exisiting electrical outlet. Perfect spot. It now happily bubbles away in its new home surrounded by flowers and plants as if it was always there. We are now a three fountain family. The gurgling of the water can be heard just about anywhere you sit in the garden now. This new location for the fountain also adds to the quiet, contemplative atmosphere of the Secret Garden while sitting on the new bench. We were able to balance the bench by adding more gravel under the legs and that has made sitting there a more secure and comfortable feeling.
With these last few touches, we were able to spend some time just sitting and enjoying all our hard work this summer. I am trying to look at the garden and enjoy how beautiful it looks now. My tendency is to look at it as a work in progress and only see what still needs doing or what my next project will be. But the truth is when I think back on what my little 1/3 of an acre of heaven looked like when we moved into our home 13 years ago, it really is quite remarkable what we have accomplished.