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My backyard is finally starting to look the way I want. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been “working on the yard” (or “the garden” as my British friends would say) for a long time. And I don’t mean for days, or weeks, but… for years. Yep. This is summer #3 in my house in Wash Park, and it’s finally going to come together. This is the year. I swear. You see, the first summer was spent seeding our nothing-but-dirt back yard, yanking out the nasty old chain link fence — and the four-feet deep concrete bases — along with old posts from an ancient clothesline. Then we built the privacy fence. ( By “we” here, I mean hubby, of course.) Once we had a private, rusted-fence-free area with some patchy grass, we bought some cheap lawn furniture and pretty much called it good for the year. Last summer, it was time to plant flower beds and build a patio. That was a seriously sweaty project, but our neat little brick patio with contrasting edging turned out pretty darn well for a couple of totally un-handy workers like us. (In this case, hubby manhandled the earth compactor thingamajig, and I made pretty patterns with bricks.) I dug out the old dirt, brought in some new, better dirt, made edges, and voila — flowerbeds. Sadly, by the time we got around to planting in mid-summer, the poor flowers barely survived the heatwave of July and August. We had dusty roses, wilted lilies, and itty-bitty patches of “ground covers” in between large patches of un-covered ground. Still, it was progress. We bought a nice grill, a few tiki torches, some better chairs, and a hammock. This summer, I got the flowerbeds planted early. Well, not early, exactly, but before June anyway. And the perennials I put in last year are thriving. (By the way – get your plants at Paulino Gardens, and skip the not-so-quality fare at your local Home Depot store.) I have a gorgeous John F. Kennedy rose bush in front, spewing huge pale pink-and-cream blooms nearly daily. I have vinca vines and bishop’s weed spreading into thick ground covers, finally. And I have plenty of perky annuals adding color to the gardens. Hopefully my new climbing rose bush and honeysuckle vines will take this summer, too. Next up: I’ve got my eye on a great new patio bar and umbrella set.