Showing posts with label garden beds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden beds. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making more space in the back

I've been slowly increasing the beds in the backyard. I had this vision of moving my 'Little Honey' oakleaf hydrangea out to the front and buying two more so there would be a bright spot in the front of the bed.

I went to Garden Fever and they don't carry that hydrangea but I did find a Golden Angel Japanese shrub mint (Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Golden Angel'). I had read in Fine Gardening that if you suffer from one-of-each-itis you can mass plants of a similar color together and achieve the same effect as massing 3 or five of one plant. In my mind the shrub mint was the same color as the hydrangea.

Turns out it's not, really.

Right now I definitely prefer the hydrangea but I'm going to wait and see what the shrub mint does. I moved a lady fern behind the hydrangea where I'd eventually put a third small shrub. The shrub mint will get 2-3 feet high and wide, about the same as the hydrangea.

The hydrangea is still a little sulky from being moved

Here's a crappy photo of the beds before.

And now. Behind the chairs I'm smothering more grass so I can increase the beds there as well.

Proving that my brain has issues with color, I bought those chairs thinking they were chartreuse. I swear they were, under the fluorescent light of the Home Depot. I got them home and they are . . . pea green?

But I'm not really even looking over there because these guys are blooming on the other side of the yard. Yowsa.

Farewell to Spring Clarkia amoena 'Aurora'

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On nature

I awoke one Saturday morning and opened the curtains to greet the day. We settled back in bed with our coffee and watched the birds flying by and the squirrels frolicking on the lawn. One leaped onto the planter! So cute! He adorably reached into the planter with his little rat-hands and PLUCKED A STRAWBERRY OFF THE VINE.

Son of a bitch.

I ran out into the yard in my underwear and cursed that tiny animal out. He retreated to the fence where, I swear to god, he made a big show of eating my strawberry. Mmmm, so good! So juicy! Wouldn't you like one? Too bad it's in my belly and also covered in squirrel disease.

I know I got my yard certified by the Audubon Society and I love animals and all that, but lately I've had it with nature. Some critter recently ate every single blueberry on both bushes. The crows, in addition to being noisy as hell, like to divebomb me when I'm weeding. I keep finding neighborhood cats lurking in the back, which would be fine if they would eat the crows (circle of life and all that); instead, they just poop in my beds. My yard is not a goddamn gas station, guys. You can't just use the restroom and leave.

The boy found water pellet rifles online and offered to try his hand at controlling the crows. I won't let him . . . yet. Because last night I successfully harvested a bowl of strawberries and they tasted like victory.

Score one: Heather.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The view as of today

We still need to work at making this look less like a giant square of cedar chips but for right now we needed to suppress the hoards of weeds that were sure to colonize the area.

Next up: evergreen plants, rain garden, new tree, deck. Go!

Edited to add: here's a reminder of the before:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A compromise!


We'll see if I change my mind again this weekend. I want to make sure I move these stones as many times as humanly possible.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The irony is not lost on me

Saturday was a big day.  All this concrete . . .

. . . went in here . . .

. . . and was taken to the recycling center. The load was 1900 pounds.  Then I headed to Lowe's to pick up twice as much concrete, but in a different shape: retaining wall stones.  I had to do it in two loads but it was pretty nice because they used a forklift to put it in the truck.  For some stupid reason I thought I was going to have to load them manually.  This is why I don't work for NASA, even though I have strong ideas about memory foam and super quiet pans.

The stones weigh 25 pounds each, so I could only move five at a time in the wheelbarrow.  In my personal hell I do this all day but there's also some sort of electronic beeping going off.  I hate beeping.  I got the general shape laid out and then I lost steam and had to eat all the pizza.  I'd moved 7,150 pounds and, yes, I will be telling this statistic to anyone who will listen.  They might have a tiny violin to play for me.

On Sunday I set to building, which took way longer than I expected. You have to dig out the lawn under the stones so they are level and stable.  You also have to smash your finger in between two of them, bruising the top of your ring finger.  It makes handling things with your hands extra painful!  This why I don't work with sharp things for a living.  The fact that I still have all my fingers and toes, as well as two (mostly) functioning eyeballs, almost makes me believe in miracles.

I got three rows high, 12 inches off the ground, and thought about stopping.  But the idea that I hauled an extra 1250 pounds for no reason made me crazy.  So I added the fourth layer.

It's such a BIG bed (seriously, what was I thinking?) that I think having it this high (16 inches) makes it look out of scale with the yard.  Or like I have a giant rock moat.

But I have a lot of tall friends who would be more comfortable sitting at 16 inches!

But I also have friends with kids who would likely prefer climbing on a shorter wall!

I've completely lost perspective.  Please tell me what to do:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Garden fever!

I officially have garden fever.

I've checked out pretty much every book on gardening in the library where I work.  At night I pile into my bed with my books and my sketches and plot.  This is exactly what I needed to jolt me out of my homeowner ennui.

Last weekend I planted four more peonies and put a columbine in the shade garden.

I planted an Ocean Spray in the back right corner.  Ocean Spray is a native plant which means it's low-maintenance.  No mulching, no pruning, no soil amendments, just plant them somewhere they can go nuts.  Ocean Spray can get to be 15 feet tall and wide, so it should screen out the neighbors behind me as well. 

God, is my yard a mess or what?  In addition to screening out the neighbors (a new fence should help, too), I want to put in raised vegetable beds.  I have a completely annoying brick heap in my yard, presumably left over from a bricked barbecue.

I started grabbing bricks and laying out where I want to put the bed.  But I kept wanting to change the shape and that got really tiring, moving bricks over and over, so I finally got smart and pulled out the hose.

Once I had a shape I liked I moved the bricks.  I ended up with a modified bone shape.  My sister said it looks more like a shark or a boot.

I was encouraged by my friend T to do sheet mulching.  Some people call it "lasagna mulching."  You lay down newspaper or cardboard to choke out the grass, then pile on mulch and organic material.  You kill off the grass but maintain all the bugs and bacteria and established naturey goodness in the soil.  And you keep piling and piling until you have nice soil to plant your veggies in.  I asked one of coworkers to save the newspapers the next time she cleared out the library periodicals room.  That very same day I had two huge boxes of newspapers!

I did this on a rainy day, which worked to my advantage (wet newspaper doesn't fly away).  You just spread out a thick layer of newspaper (between 5-20 pages said one website) and grab some bricks so they don't fly away . . .

Then I grabbed some of the soil from the various pots I had all over the patio and spread it on top.

The next time I mow the lawn I'll use the bag (I usually don't) and spread the collected clippings on top.  I'll start collecting compostable materials like kitchen scraps and throw those on too.  Then hopefully I'll figure out what material I want to use to raise the beds and I can start getting my veggies going before we get too long into spring.

I also planted ranunculus bulbs and sowed sweet alyssum beneath the rose bushes out front.  The maples in the front are leafing out and the color is gorgeous.

I'm planning on planting creeping thyme beneath them.  It should provide a nice ground cover that has the bonus of releasing a wonderful smell when it's stepped on.  So as my roommate gets in and out of her car she should be greeted with a lovely scent.

This is the carrot I had on the stick last summer when I was working so hard on my house.  "Get all this interior stuff done and you can play all next summer in the yard," I kept telling myself.  Hopefully my house will behave and I really can spend my summer toiling in the backyard.  Fingers crossed!