* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The wishing well

Wishing well 01Once upon a time, I fixed up the yard space outside the kitchen into a really nice patio.  We inherited a huge but very badly pruned olive tree smack in the middle, the front edge dropped off dangerously high to the lower level, and everything was just dirt. 

We got the tree trimmed into a reasonable shape, had a great wall built to hold in the edge, and put down patio blocks to eliminate the mud.  Installed our nice table and barbeque grill, and we began to enjoy the peaceful space.

Then we ended up ruining everything.  So depressing.  But  now it's time to make the best of what we're left with.

Several years ago, we built our own wall on the hill above this area to hold in the large level above it.  In the process, we had a ton of dirt and rocks we had to put somewhere.  We ended up making several piles in our pretty patio area.  Before we could finish the construction of the area around the wall and finally get rid of this excess dirt, the wall fell.  We ignored the area for a number of months and used other areas of the property to dine outside.  Finally, last summer several friends came over and helped us to get started on cleaning up the mess, as I related in a series of posts.

Wishing well 02
View coming down the steps
Wishing well 03
View facing kitchen
However, unlike the simple dirt pile we had made, the guys took a lot of the wall rubble and built a little igloo around the existing dirt pile I had finally managed to reduce by quite a bit before they added even more dirt to the pile so that we could have access to our steps.  Not the direction I was wanting to go, but at least things were a bit more contained.  I still saw just this massive mess where I had created a nice open space and tried to resign myself to reality.

Wishing well 04
New view coming down the steps
Then, after working on cleaning out and trying to civilize our front hillside all last fall, I took another look at the igloo.  Hmmm, unlike the open dirt mound I'd had before, I realized I could actually do something with this thanks to the rubble wall.  So I rearranged some of the rubble blocks to make a more uniform top edge, and I created the Wishing Well rather than just a simple igloo.

Wishing well 05
New view facing kitchen

I wish I had my nice patio again.  I wish I had my beautiful refined wall with the Babes all lined up.  I wish the stupid wall hadn't fallen and destroyed the Babes.  I wish I didn't take ten steps backwards for every one step forward. 

I wish something I tried around here would just work as planned, just once.  I wish I didn't have to always pick up the pieces in order to move on.  I can keep a wishing well pretty occupied!

Wishing well 06
View facing now cleaned steps
After leveling the top edge, I flattened out the dirt pile, loosened it all up, and added a bunch of homemade compost to the top surface.  I took a bunch of African daisies I'd snitched from a friend and stuck them all around the edges to root.  I took a clump of Lilies of the Nile I'd dug up and hadn't replanted and put them in the middle.  Then I planted a bunch of tulip and daffodil bulbs in all the empty space and covered it all with a bunch of leaf mulch.

Wishing well 07
View from kitchen
Wishing well 08
View coming down the steps
Then I waited for spring.

And when spring arrived, this is what I was treated to.

While it might not be just exactly what I could have wished for in my patio, this is certainly better than the simple dirt pile I'd had for a few years prior.

Wishing well 09
Latest view coming down the steps

Then the pretty flowers went away.  But the African daisies started to bloom.  (These photos are taken from the same two viewpoints as the igloo pictures above.) 

Wishing well 10
Latest view facing kitchen
As the bulbs go away, I've started sticking in various cuttings that will hopefully root by the end of summer.  At least I'm trying to get a bit of mileage out of this dirt pile rather than fight the weeds like I've done in the past.

For perspective, this is the view from my kitchen window of the three stages.  Don't you think this visual is a lot more pleasant than the than the dirt and rubble pile?

Wishing well 11
Wishing well 13
Wishing well 12

Wishing well 14
Promise and hope
While I'd rather have the nice open space I worked so hard to create, and while I still try to ignore the super weedy mess where the beautiful refined Babes wall and planter had been, at least now we can climb up the steps to the upper level again (not that I do, because another disaster of ignored weeds from several years of neglect awaits me), and we've already started using our dining area and barbeque again after two years of if we close our eyes the mess won't be there attitudes.

Life does indeed move on, even if not exactly how we envision it.


  1. Back to the outside now that the major sewing project is finished. Good on you.

  2. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! That garden is lovely! The tulips are fabulous! Can't grow a tulip from bulbs here, just too warm. Goodness knows I've tried. I think that's just amazing! Enjoy that area!


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