August 28, 2015
Still More Gardens
Last weekend I tackled getting more plants into the ground. I extended the shrub / perennial garden by the fence next to the properties that contain the trailer and apartments. I had covered that section with newspaper and landscape fabric to help keep weeds to a minimum after the neighbor "helpfully" removed all the leaves I had piled there. additionally he "helped" by pulling up and discarding some cotoneaster starts that I had gotten from a former neighbor. Never did find those, and yes, the neighbor got the full b*tch treatment - especially since the cops have been called several times to tell him to keep off my property. He's brain damaged, so can't do much but yell at him. Anyway, this was the before on Saturday afternoon:
It took about 3 hours to get the sod pulled up:
Then the planting started:
As you can tell, Saturday evening I still had a section that was bare (to the right of the redbud tree, which has a tree ring around it).
Sunday I went to a BBS looking for mulch, but I found plants on sale. Earlier in the year I had coveted Kalmias (mountain laurel - a native plant), but wouldn't pay the price they were asking. But, on sale, I decided to get a couple. I wasn't impressed with the mulch offerings, so I passed on that. However, I did stop at the local Agway on the way home, and they had great natural cedar mulch. And, of course I had to look at plants they had on sale and I scored some hollies and daylilies.
So, I filled in with more plants, laid landscape fabric on the perimeters and layered newspaper in between plants, and finished off with mulch:
Very left side - that redbud was there, as was the top, left male winterberry. I added (front l-r) Sneeze Weed, Round Midnight daylily, Bigger & Better Echinacea, and unknown daylilies that I got from someone a couple months ago. In the back, I added female winterberry (very hard to see it is so small), a clematis, then a male winterberry.
Front: Echinacea (seen in previous pic), daylily, foxglove (from former neighbor) then a newly planted redbud. Back: The clematis seen previously, a male winterberry and another clematis.
Front: Kalmia, Pardon Me daylily, kalmia, Japanese iris. Back: Two female winterberries and the last male winterberry.
And - the whole enchilada (the timbers are not "set", just laying there)
Oh, and what garden project would be complete without 1 big rock to dig up? Good thing this was in a sandy area because it was big enough, and situated in such a way that I had to "float" it up: dig around it, wedge it up, shove sand under - wash, lather, rinse, repeat about a dozen times.
The sad part is, when I finished on Saturday, I had 3 potted roses, 1 China Couple holly duo, a couple of day lilies and some Japanese iris left to plant. Once I got this garden completed, I ended up with 3 roses, 2 coneflowers, several lilies, 3 single hollies, 2 lavenders and 2 holly couples to plant.
August 23, 2015
Another Front Flower Garden
Last Sunday I decided I had to get more plants in the ground - it was the middle of August and winter is approaching fast. To the right of the front door stairs, I have been keeping several roses and other perennials that I potted up until I was ready to plant them. Made for pretty flowers by the steps, and kept them all together to make for easy watering.
Unfortunately I didn't take a before picture, but it wasn't pretty with a bunch of pots, one planted hosta, and a bunch of tall grass and weeds in between. I moved all the plants to under a tree and removed all the sod from the area, then planted, placed landscape timbers and landscape fabric, then hauled pea gravel. Pretty funny that I had to haul the gravel since it was only about 15 feet away, but I certainly wasn't slinging it at the plants.
Obviously that picture was before I moved gravel. Don't know why I don't have a picture with the gravel from this angle. Anyway, in the front (L-R) creeping phlox (2 different batches), hosta (planted when I did the planting by the lilies in front), Coneflower.
Behind (L-R) Easter Basket Rose, Gertrude Jekyll rose. Way back right (you'll see in next picture) is Gay Feather (aka Blazing Star - a native plant) that a former neighbor gave to me.
Once I was done, I still had lots of plants left - roses, Rudbekia, holly and a couple of male winterberries. And, that doesn't count what I still have in the raised bed I have been using as a holding garden (female winterberries, named day lilies, redbuds etc.).
The 2 yards of pea gravel was too big a pile to be covered completely by the 25' tarp (top and bottom), and I had to use another piece of plastic on the downhill side to keep it dry. I certainly don't have that problem now!
August 14, 2015
New Shrub Garden
I have collected a bunch of shrubs, lilies and other plants over the last couple of months and placed them in holding. Last weekend I decided it was time I get some of them planted. After all, it is almost fall (here anyway), so time is a wasting.
The area before I started (amazing I remembered to take before pictures, I know).
I stripped off all the sod, which was much easier than the no-mow zone on the other side of the yard because there is only one tree nearby. So, I only ran into a few,, very small roots which were not trouble. I did however, run into one largish rock - about 2 feet long.
By Saturday evening I had panted the following: 2 male and 2 female winterberries (back row - yes, the females are small but they will grow 6-10 feet tall), a Spirea from a former neighbor's yard (front left), a Little Devil Ninebark (center front), and a Copper King Hibiscus (right front). I had also gotten an Eastern Redbud planted over to the side of the shrub garden.
Sunday I spent almost 2 hours laying down newspaper barrier on the soil then covering it with mulch. This is a moist spot, but not damp, so bark mulch should be fine there. Plus, it gets a fair amount of sun, which will help keep it from growing mold.
Yes, the stump still awaits me in the no-mow zone, but I feel my priority is getting plants into the ground before winter, so it will wait even longer as I have more to plant.
August 02, 2015
Town Work on Road
The town has been working on my road replacing culverts. They finally got to mine. It looks much better as before it was heavily overgrown with poison ivy and wild, invasive roses.
The water going into the culvert is extremely rusty - weird, since it looks clear up further (top of pic). Maybe it is from the culvert they took out.
Wish they had taken this tree. Most of the green you see is poison ivy
Hopefully this means that they plan on repaving soon.
Brightening up a Dark Spot
Last Sunday I continued work on the no mow zone. I planted more hostas, lilies, a Little Henry Sweetspire and foxgloves. I covered some areas in landscape fabric then began the long process of shoveling pea gravel into the cart, moving the cart, then shoveling pea gravel back out (didn't want to damage plants by dumping the gravel). My last several trips I was able to dump the cart along what will be a pathway thru.
The pea gravel pile was definitely much smaller when I got done with that portion. The dead grass shows where the pile was previously. What isn't apparent is that the pile is not as tall either, so more is gone than what would appear.
Yesterday, I started tackling the stump; removing large roots. I have an idea to keep the stump as a "feature" (much as sometimes is done with large rocks that would be too much trouble to move), but I don't want the roots heaving. Nor do I want them in the way of future work in the area. I have gotten about 1/2 way thru removing the main roots. It would be much easier and faster to use large, mechanical machines, but I work with what I have. I did use the chainsay to separate the roots from the trunk, but everything else is done with hand tools. The first picture is where I started from (I had actually started getting the sod away from the stump last weekend). The rest are of the progress I made yesterday..
I was so glad it was only in the 70's - and with that, I still had sweat running into my eyes. I am hoping to continue work today, but it is supposed to get near 90, so I am unsure how much will actually get done. Plus, most of my calluses were worn off (I stopped earlier than planned because of that), so don't want to end up with all blisters. And no, I'm not the glove-wearing sort, wspecially on hot days.
July 25, 2015
Mulching With Stone
After receiving irises from Cop Car, I decided it was time to finish up the flower bed under the bay window in the front of the house. So on Sunday, I set to it. To remind you of what that portion has looked like to this point:
I left the lilies there, removed the planters with roses, cleaned out any weeds that had dared crop up since I had last worked the area, and covered the back portion with landscape fabric. The section between the foundation and the lilies is a good two feet wide, so I shouldn't have anything crowding the foundation.
I filled in the areas next to the landscape timbers with a sand/dirt mixture. I had moved some of the cleaner excavated sand/dirt to a pile at the side of the house, so used that to fill in. Once the dirt level was where I wished it to be, I started planting.
Along with irises, I have gathered several perennials and shrubs during my wonderings thru CL, from a former neighbor (stored in the extra raised bed until I was ready to use), H*me Dep*t and other places. Most I got for free, or for $2-5 as distressed plants (amazing what a bit of water will do to revive them). When I was done, hostas and delphinium were at either end of the lilies and a penstemon was next to the stairs. I placed most of Cop Cars irises and some creeping phlox sprigs in front of the lilies.
Once the plants were in, I started hauling pea gravel from the two yards I had delivered a couple of weeks ago.
The lower portion, to the left and next to garage isn't done yet. I was hoping to do that during the week after work, but spent all my time waiting for contractors to show up to give bids for remodeling the bathroom. Maybe I can get it done this weekend, but have more contractors and rain to deal with, so we'll see what happens.
July 19, 2015
Flowers from Kansas
Cop Car promised to send me irises from her gardens in Kansas. - and she delivered quickly. Friday a box of plants was waiting for me when I got home.
The group in the front, right are dwarf, root-beer colored irises. The rest are a mixed bag (we will all be surprised - which is great!).
They aren't flowers yet, but they will be in a year or two. Thanks Mom!
July 12, 2015
$75 of Fun
Got a work out yesterday; starting at 9 AM I mowed, then I spent quite a while playing with my latest acquisition from CL - a chainsaw. I got it from a woman who had only used it to take down about 20 saplings. Then she acquired a boyfriend that had 2 chainsaws, so it wasn't needed any more. The saw is in great shape (almost new looking) and easy to start. She only asked half of what it would have cost new, so I jumped on the deal.
I cut down one of the lilacs, trimmed up several more, then cut down a huge forsythia. None of these had been touched for years. The lilacs have all old, gnarly wood and the forsythia was trying to take over the world, and the oak tree it was against.
When I was done I had 4 loads of branches to take to the dump
This is the first load of branches. The back of the Jeep is packed so tightly that with a lot of tugging, I got it all out in one "piece". Note the leaves sticking out of the hatch. Although the hatch closed, it wasn't tight and the dash complained that it was open. I took it easy on the way to the dump so any potholes I hit wouldn't jar it enough to get the hatch to pop.
Who knew you could have so much fun?
Smells of the Season
Going riding today - first a HOG meeting in Concord, then wherever. Supposed to be the hottest day of the year, with a lot of mugginess, so work on the yard or house is not on my agenda. But, I do have some rose pictures to share from the last two weeks.
Queen Elizabeth (just starting to bloom - this is the only flower so far - lots of buds though)
All have a wonderful scent; Easter Basket is more fruity, Europeana is very perfumy and QE is classic rose scent. QE is also, at this point, developing powdery mildew, where the other two's foliage is just fine. Good to know before I get them panted in the ground. Want to keep it a little away from other roses, and have other plants block off some of the view of the leaves. Not a problem, I haven't come up with a plan on where they are supposed to go anyway :)
July 04, 2015
No Mow Zone Redux
Two weekends ago, I added on to the no-mow zone. I worked my way up the hill since the idea was to extend the existing flower garden all the way to the fence. The crab apple and Hydrangea trees, which reside in that garden, needed to be pruned hard, which I did once I got to the branches that were in my way..
Project from start to finish
A week ago Friday I got some plants installed
Still plenty of planting to do, but feel like I'm making progress. And yes, just this project has cut down on the time it takes to mow by 10-15 minutes. I know that seems to be a lot, but I don't have to deal with the tree roots or boggy ground, or getting along the rocks that delineated the edge of the original flower garden.
Oh, and I relocated some of the moss that I pulled up. It may or may not survive (it is in a drier place), but that is a place that not much else grows anyway so I really don't care one way or another. It is a spot just above the no-mow zone, so I wasn't carting it clear across the property to where I have been dumping the rest of the excess dirt/grass.