Monday, July 01, 2013

Garden Expansion and the Unpaving of the American Way


Most gardens are expanded by digging up more of the lawn. My friend Perry in Durham, NC took this approach to another level by digging up an unused portion of his driveway. There's a nice patch of sun above, and having a garden in front means that he can pull a stray weed and catch a taste of arugala on his way into the house. Last year's experimental wooden frame has been replaced by stone, and actually digging out the underlying asphalt.

The intimidating pavement turned out to be only one and a half inches thick, easily broken up with a pickax.

(Just as an aside, another friend once made an attractive walkway out of broken up asphalt.)

First in was the basil, which was immediately put to the test by torrential rains. A less paved American way means less flooding downstream.

Elsewhere in the neighborhood, a deturfed front yard featuring plantings, mulch and some memorable sculpture leaning against one of the town's many willow oak trees. In the photo are woodchips, but in this piedmont forest layered over a residential neighborhood, the narrow willow oak leaves and the big needles of loblolly and shortleaf pine make a fine self-generated mulch for yards, as attractive to my eyes as high-maintenance grass.

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