A Quick Fix for the Signpost

Some things take a long time. It’s true. The general rule of thumb, I’ve found, is that things take about twice as long as you think they will. But not always.

When my great niece was here, we started a project at the end of the driveway. I wanted to surround the signpost with some plantings, but the area is steep on one side. Something to hold the dirt in seemed like the ticket. See what I mean?

I know. It’s a mess. When it’s this messy, you don’t even feel motivated to mow! Good heavens, how did I let it get like that!?

entrance5 before (2).jpg

There was a time when it looked way nicer. Maybe even last year. All right, this photo is from 2015. But I’m sure it looked nice last year too, for a little while anyway. When there are flowers and it is all neat and tidy, it’s very welcoming. And it is the entrance, and I do have guests coming and going…

Golden Hill sign summer 2015

The way I see mess is this: When it’s a little messy, I take care of it and bring it back to standard. When it’s past a little messy and will require some time to remediate, I can somehow more easily overlook it. But then it gets to be a lot messy, and I can’t stand it anymore. That’s what happened with the signpost.

Busy with chicken coop, successfully ignore signpost, busy with garden, successfully continue to ignore signpost, busy with stream bed, no time for signpost. But then one day it happens, like the butterfly effect. All the pieces come together – it’s looking really terrible now, I have nothing else pressing that I can justify ignoring the signpost for, it’s not raining, there’s a ten-year-old here who says she likes to dig! – so out came the shovels (and the elephant ear bulb that would find a new home soon).

entrance2 before.jpg

Kaileena’s enthusiasm to dig put me over the edge, got us out there, and put the project in motion. She discovered quickly that Virginia soil is the next best thing to concrete, but she hung in there a while before suddenly her book, waiting patiently for her next to the couch in the house, called out loud and clear, which Kaileena heard from the end of the driveway, and she had to go see what was happening next in Immortal Reign (by Morgan Rhodes, who had a ten-year-old fan in Virginia that week).

This is as far as we got the first day. I played with making it three high, but I think you’d agree it’s too high.

three high.jpg

So I moved those top ones over and left it. There are other things to do when you have a ten-year-old in the house. But the wheels were turning, the gears were in motion.

phase 1.jpg

Mom said, “Looks good, but you need another block on the first level on the left. Looks like a hole there.” Thanks, Mom. She was right. Moms usually are.

This past Saturday was the day to keep going. The challenge was not only that the blocks are heavy – they are about as heavy as I can manage, any heavier and I couldn’t do it – and of course you need them to be reasonably level, which they were, despite how it looks in the photo, trust me. But also these are the kind of blocks with angled sides so that when laid edge to edge, you will get a circle. But how big is the circle? And did I start in the right place so that the post will be in the middle? And what happens if the last two don’t actually meet edge to edge? Then what? How can you cut one of these things?

Hoping for the best (I seem to do a lot of that), one block at a time went down next to the one before it. Lo and behold, two wonderful things happened that meant a lot less time would be needed to get this project done.

  1. The last two blocks had about a half inch gap between them, easily rectified by nudging the adjacent blocks a smidgeon over until they all had a slight gap but none too noticeable.
  2. The post was not quite in the middle when the circle was complete, but allowing for the sign that hangs from it, the post-plus-sign was plenty centered for my satisfaction.

Whew! Now for the plants and bulbs. I had bought a load of rudbeckia for the berm along the driveway by the chicken coop when they were on sale for $3 each. I bought 18, wild guess as to how many I’d need. I needed 18.

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But before I had planted them, Sandy was going to Lowe’s and asked me if I needed anything. “Maybe get three more of the rudbeckia, just in case.” I then didn’t need them, so I put them in the garden box that had had peas in it. The peas had passed their prime and I’d pulled them.

So three rudbeckia were just waiting for usefulness, and where better to show their stuff than at the entrance? So far the deer hadn’t bothered the ones by the coop, so I was confident these would not be mowed down the next day.


The little things you see strewn on the right are bulbs of various kinds including echinacea and a smaller variety of elephant ear. The huge one I was holding earlier is planted where a fourth rudbeckia would be. We’ll see what happens with that.

We were done before lunch, and notice that gap on the lower level is filled in.


Maybe grass will grow on the slope leading to the road. Do you think it will do that if I just hope?

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2 thoughts on “A Quick Fix for the Signpost

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