Saturday, May 25, 2013
Everyone has gardening bugaboos, and mine is weeds. I guess that weeds are the bete noir of many gardeners. I purchased four yards of loam this spring, and once it warmed up a bit I find that my soil is host to a large number of germinating weeds. Lambs quarters, purslane, and smart weed seem to be the most plentiful. Lambs quarters and purslane are edible, smart weed apparently has some medicinal uses. I am still going to pull them out, although it turns out that lambs quarters are delicious and the gleanings will surely find their way into salads. The peas and beans are up. I may have left the planting a bit late for the peas, but since the weather continues cool I am hoping for the best. My bif plans for tomorrow will consist mostly of a trip to the dump and several hours of crawling around pulling up weeds while they are tiny and submissive and before they get big enough to give my more desireable plants a run for their money. My main enemy this season will be squirrels. Due to a heavier than usual acorn crop last fall I seem to have four squirrels living in my yard - two adults and two juveniles. They are all fat as stoats and bold as brass.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
|Shady Bed, early spring|
|Shady Bed mid spring, north end|
|Shady Bed, south end|
|Classic Cape Cod combination of hydrangeas and hostas|
My shrub border is fully planted but does not look like it. I do not have quite the varieties or sizes I would have chosen with a more generous budget, but I have some nice things. I have a forsythia, two high bush blueberries, a butterfly bush, rose of sharon, fairy rose, andromeda, viburnum and dogwood. There are lots of hydrangeas in various puny sizes. I spaced the shrubs with their mature size in mind even though right now they are mostly little sticks. Next year I can start underplanting with smaller plants, like the hostas which will need to be divided, and the miniature hostas which will be crowded out and covered up where they are.
Just a reminder: for a close up inspection of any of my photos just click on them to embiggen.
And for your entertainment, a wonderful example of stop motion filming:
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Thursday, May 02, 2013
This year I added a few holly seedlings (thanks Wanda!) to the front bed. They will not provide privacy for several years, but when they are grown they will be a fuss free privacy hedge winter and summer. I want a shrub border on one side of my yard. Last year I was given two small blueberry bushes and two small hydrangeas to start me out (Thanks, Alison!) and this year I moved a rose of sharon that was being overwhelmed by my humongous forsythia, and took a sprout from that giant as well. I was able to get a couple of dogwood seedlings and additional hydrangea sprouts from my late mother-in-law's garden and a couple of offshoots of something of whose species I am not altogether sure - peegee hydrangea? doublefile viburnum? After moving a pieris japonica across the yard to a more suitable location I have the start of a lovely border - in about ten years, when everything is grown. Gardening is a long game, especially when you must violate the first rule of gardening: Have Lots of Money!.
I did not bother to dig out a bed for the new shrubs; I will just get them mulched over the summer one at a time. As small as they are there is not great hurry, except to identify them to avoid running over them with the mower. I have access to as much free mulch as I want from the dump, the only provision being I have to take my own containers and fill them myself.
This year's big project is a combination veggie garden and sunny flower garden. For my birthday I got 36 big cinder blocks and four yards of loam to build my garden. The blocks will form a raised bed and short wall to keep erosion under control on the sloped area which is my most reliably sunny spot, all the more sunny because several trees have been removed on the east side of my property. To get this project started I also cadged a few used cinder blocks from a friend (thanks Wanda!) and some newspapers from the in-laws to mulch over the grass inside the raised bed. After I moved all the cinder blocks into place I made a mulch path around the veggie bed for access. Then I dug out several inches of the sandy soil surrounding the raised bed for my flowers and replaced it with loam. I schlepped the sandy and rocky soil to the driveway to build up low spots that become little pools in rainy weather. I also burned the rest of my brush pile and moved a shrub to a happier location before I started digging around in this area.
This weekend we will start planting in the raised bed - lettuces and kale first, plus some of the more hardy flowers and herbs that will live in the surrounding cinder blocks. Later we will put in bush beans, pole beans, tomatoes and cucumbers. That seems ambitious enough for me. The veggie portion is meant to be Shana's project for the summer, with the flowers being my domain. Given the amount of weeding the veggies will need I suspect she will be happy to share. I have a few flowers "parked" around the yard waiting for a sunny bed to get my part started, and a friend who had perennials to divide and share will expand my selection so that need only pick up a few to fill it out this season. It look bit puny now, but considering that this area was completely bare when we bough the house I have high hopes. I am thankful that my job at A Major Retailer has provided me with the strength and endurance for this project! I have been doing all the heavy lifting myself without major discomfort. I have tired feet, tired hands, tired back, tired knees, tired shoulders and elbows, but nothing is injured. It has been strenuous. I am taking today off from digging and lifting. Tomorrow I will get the rest of the loam that I need for this project moved and move a shrub from my front bed to a happier location beside the shed with a nice big loamy hole where it will get better sun and therefore reach its full potential. The birdbath in this area has a leak, so I also need some better duct tape! Roxy has been happy to supervise but so far has not done any of the work.