Saturday, April 14, 2012

English Garden Update!

Last weekend while we were hard at work in the front yard, we were also hard at work in the backyard!  We are super multi-taskers like that.  Plus all that liriope I ripped out gently dug up had to go somewhere… in a wheel barrow… down the muddy side yard… and then get thrown over the fence into the English garden.  :) :)  Hardy stuff, that Liriope. :)
Anyway, we stuck it in a little border around the existing plantings.  We started this process last summer and then ran out of green stuff.  So, we  finally completed the first side and then put in the border on the second side with the remaining plants.  Oh and did I mention that we put in 17 stepping stones, too?  Yeah, we’re not just crazy, we’re Guthrie crazy! :)
My goal in this garden is to cover up as much of the earth in plants, paths and sculpture as possible to reduce the amount of mulch I have to spread.  That is why I decided we needed more pathways… that and they are cute… and functional. :)  I’m sure I will come to regret this decision when I have to spread mulch around said stones, plants and sculpture.  Ahem.
The stepping stones branch off of the main flagstone path and wind their way along the curving liriope border into the woods where they link up with our exterior garden gate.  This is the entry point for the wheelbarrow which comes down through the woods behind the fence.  I’m thinking we need a little wooden bridge over the leaf pile in front of the gate… would that be too much? ;)
The path is very inviting from the woods, too.  Except for that post sticking up on the right.  Where is my chainsaw??
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And on the far side of the garden, the second row of liriope follows along the hostas and behind the kissing bench.  <--That is the technical name that Papa gave his little bench.  Anyway I think the hostas are too close to the border, so I’m planning to move them back eventually. 
And the liriope continues along behind the bird bath and then meets back up with the other border along the flagstone path.
Eventually there will be a liriope border on the other side of the garden to match.  I have already selected which liriope I’m going to dig up next!  Apparently transplanting liriope is my new hobby… boo.
And finally, we have 19 more stepping stones to lay.  The stepping stone path will branch off and meander around the tree circle and meet back with the flagstone path.  And there will be a few on the other side, too.  Plus more plants… you can never have enough of those until all mulchable areas are covered!
And here is a before and after comparison for all you folks who like those as much as me…
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Please note that my snowball bush (viburnum) has finally bloomed after three years!  Oh Happy Day!  I’m hoping next year my little cherry tree catches on and blooms for the first time, too.  Fingers crossed.
Thanks for coming along for the English Garden tour.  If you missed the English Garden story, you can check it out the first installment here and some colorful updates here.  Hopefully I will be back soon to show you the completed stepping stone path.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Nature’s Springification

Today I bring you the springification of my yard, courtesy of mother nature (and my own green thumb/muscles).  All kinds of things are blooming and the grass is growing!  So we spruced things up a bit with some fresh pine needles and a few new plants.

Here is what I’m talking about:


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The grass we planted last fall even survived and it is all green in the side yard for once!  I never blog about the grass I have planted in case it does not survive… which it usually does not. :(  We have major reseeding plans for this fall so hopefully next year’s lawn will be even nicer. :)  I won’t even show you the backyard because it makes me want to cry.


I added a couple of dianthus/carnations (plant doesn’t know what it is?) around the mailbox.  Last year I planted annual dahlias and they of course went away, so this year I opted for perennials that I know will come back year after year.


The cutest flower bed ever is sporting dianthus now, too…


And the fairy cove steps are in full hosta mode, even though the leafy green stuff I had planted on the risers did not survive.  I think it was a weed anyway. :)  Maybe this year I’ll get some moss transplanted on the steps to fill in the dirt.  Some grass beside would also be nice. :)


Speaking of hostas, I decided I was over the liriope border on the front wooded flower bed.  Seen here:


It’s always a mess in the early Spring when I forget to cut off the dead foliage from the previous season.  And it’s too close to the lawn so grass keeps creeping into the plants and causing me angst!  So I figured the best thing to do was to move the liriope and put something else here instead.  My pick was hostas since Mama had a surplus of those this week. :)  I hate digging and moving plants, especially when there are over twenty of them, but at least the job was made easier by lovely cool Spring temps.  If you have to move plants I recommend doing it in April when it’s 70 degrees out. :)

We put the liriope in the English garden which I will show you soon.  And in it’s place went lovely patriot stripe hostas…


We put the hostas a bit back from the edge just a bit so there would be a nice border of mulch in front.  Eventually I hope to edge the bed with rocks like all the other front beds to keep the pine needles in and to make mowing more challenging.  :) 


I love this view… looks like we live in the woods :)


While we were sprucing up the planting beds, Papa pressure washed our deck and porch!  Spring is rough on our porch/front walk because of all the rain.  Rainwater washes dirt and junk down the hill which collects in front of the porch.  As there is no french drain or anything, the water and sediment has no place to go.  :(  So we get a giant puddle that morphs into a muddy walk which dries into caked-on dirt.  I have seen it where the water was a couple inches deep and the pine needles were sort of floating.  Nice.


What a mess, and not terribly inviting.  So this past weekend we decided to implement a first step in the drainage problem.  That was to dig a trench of sorts around the walk on the flower bed side so that the ground was lower there.  Our hope is that water will flow into the ditch we have created (and covered with pine needles).  If we get a torrential downpour I imagine the trench system will not contain all the water but it should help with the dirt collecting on our walk during light rains.  Anyway, we dug it out and then washed the front walk.  So much nicer… see?


I can’t tell you how wonderful it is not to have that pile of dirt in the front door. It hasn’t rained since our upgrades, so I’ll keep you posted on the success of this method.  We hope to someday install a proper drain in the concrete.  But for now, it’s looking pretty good!  I love how the pine needles stay in the beds now instead of falling out on the walkway.


For all you observant folks… yes I added wire trellises to the planters on the porch.  I originally intended to get trellises in the winter to spruce up the planters when nothing was growing in them.  Sort of sculptural and I didn’t have to water them. :)  Well, I didn’t get around to it until Spring, so here they are, sprucing up the flower pots despite the fact that none of these plants are climbers and they don’t require trellising.  (<—Apparently that is a word?) 



In other flower news, the ranunculuses (ranunculi?) that I planted on the porch are flourishing!  They have several new buds and apparently they like it here.  We’ll see how long they can keep that up before I have to transplant them to my full sun flower bed. :)

That brings me to the end of the front yard tour.  Stay tuned for the back yard and English garden updates! :)  Now I have to go outside and bring in all my tender annuals and cover the peonies since it is supposed to freeze tonight!  Brrr!  Spring please come back soon!