It's looking just the way I thought it would.

One thing about our marriage: when we have a shared vision of something, we make it happen.

Jeeps broke his back building the wall, I broke my back removing the sod. We used all the rocks out of the old wall, and then scavenged the yard for every single rock we could find. We even considered the many crumbling stone walls in the acres of woods around our house that used to be farmland. We lacked a mule to haul them. We toiled on, stacked and dug, dug and stacked.

Jeeps stacked in unseasonable heat. I dug in the rain. He lost the nail on his pinky because a dropped a rock on it. I swear did something bad to my right tricep. We couldn't move by 6PM every night. The kids ate cold cereal or pizza while we fell into bed like death, primed with 50 Advil each.

But we did it.

We wanted an arbor for the gap in the wall. Jeeps is very particular about keeping hardscape in line with the mission/prairie style of our house. Translation: no white, frou-frou pickets or curved arches. I stepped back and let him find something, I'm usually fine with whatever he picks out anyway. And he found this sort of Japanese-style one. I love it and I can totally picture a Sweet Autumn clematis clambering over it.

Then we looked high and low for a bench that would go with the plan as well. We fell in love with this one, with the rising sun motif.

The idea is to walk in through the arbor, then there will be that circular, gravel path with the bench at the top. Apart from a few standing perennials that survived the construction, I get to build the beds up from scratch. 

I'm starting with the circle bed in the center. I have about a $230 budget which is comprised of birthday money from my mother-in-law, plus whatever cash I squirrel away or find in the laundry. And where else do you go to squander the stash but to Claire's Garden Center?

(Cue Hallelujah chorus)

I love this place. This place is the bomb. I could spend $1,000 here in half an hour. Easily. But I only had $230 and after nights in bed with my garden books, pencil and paper, and the Claire's catalog, I had a plan sketched out. When I was tempted by other plants, I took pictures, took note of the price, and sternly told myself, "Another time. I said, ANOTHER TIME!"

So here's my vision for the circle:

Here's what I came home from Claire's with:

And here's where it all will go:

(Sigh).... It's not going to look complete this year, I accept that. Eye on the vision, people, eye on the vision. To garden, you have to have vision and patience.

(By the way, I fucking hate patience).