The plot of dry dirt under my bay windows was a wasteland of weeds, tired old tiger lilies and trash when I bought my house. It's not very wide, as you can see above in a picture I took yesterday. Passing, and pissing, dogs cannot resist it. Children find it riveting, perhaps because it is on their scale. Some neighbors look at it with annoyance. I haven't begun to understand that reaction.
This is my third Spring here. Because this plot is small, it was my first garden project. I had so many other things to do when I moved in. I pulled weeds, many large rocks and assorted archeological finds from the soil during those countless hours of waiting for contractors or escaping their havoc. The tiger lilies had naturalized into a hardy nuisance. I pulled them. In my enthusiasm, I disrupted too many established bulbs. Every time this happened, I cursed wildly. Working this plot may have established my reputation as an eccentric in the 'hood.
This plot taught Peter and me many things about compromise, respective tastes and patience. We began living together in this house after living separately for nine years. I had gardened before. Peter had done potted plants on a 9th floor concrete balcony. Peter detests certain plants. I have a more diverse approach to flower beds. Peter likes annuals. I prefer perennials. Peter like shrubs. I like vines. And so on.
Taking on a small challenge, like a rocky plot of city dirt, has brought me big rewards. It isn't about finishing anything. Most gardeners will understand that gardens are never really finished. It isn't just about making something beautiful. It is about the weeding, the digging and the learning from other living things in the earth. It is about a commitment to an ongoing daily process. It is about education and application.