This is the perfect time of year to spend outside in the yard. We’ve got the garden started, the MR has a pile of dirt to move around, we’ve stopped at garden sales and the hardware store to pick up new plants. Flowers are blooming, veges are coming up, plants are growing, things are looking good–mostly.
In the past, I’ve been pretty haphazard in my choice of topics. Whatever is on my mind is what I’ve written about, but order can be fun. So I’ve decided to try something new. The MR spends most of the weekend working hard outdoors, so I thought Mondays might be a great time to recap what’s going on around here in the yard, the garden, the orchard, and the flower beds. It’s a bit of a mouthful and a lot of work, but let’s see how it turns out.
If you were to drive up to our house, this is the view you’d be greeted with.
It looks a little rough at the moment, but just you wait and see. The MR has been hauling dirt around for the last month filling the garden boxes and adding it where it was needed. This weekend, he expanded the garden bed next to our room and then leveled out the patch of grass adjacent to it. He topped it off with some grass seed, and in a few weeks, it’ll be looking good. You’ll be amazed.
I remember looking at this flower bed recently and being disappointed with the meager array of plants and abundance of weeds, but all I have to do is take a look back at pictures from when we moved in to realize we’ve made huge strides. The MR expanded the bed,covered up some ugly cement blocks, and gave it a meandering edge. It makes it a little less formal and softens the edges. It’s fun to see that so many of the plants I picked up at the FFA plant sale last year have come back in full force. I love those little dianthus/mini carnation/pinks–call them what you will they’re cute.
I bought chives and sage last spring and put some in containers and planted the others out in the flower bed. The MR recently moved the container plants out to the yard as well, and look at the difference in size. I wasn’t sure the ones we set out in the ground were going to make it, but they’re more than double the ones from the pots we had on the deck.
The 4×4 post is a hose guard to help protect those herbs. I have a beautiful curved metal one with a glow in the dark orb that gets taken out by the hose every time I water. This looks much more substantial, but I do believe it needs some beautifying.
The MR asked Baby Girl and I at dinner last week if we’d noticed the palm tree that was blooming. Huh? Palm trees bloom? BG had hopes of a coconut palm or some other amazing tropical find. I don’t believe we’re that lucky, but it certainly is blooming.
I didn’t say it was pretty; it’s just kind of weird. But the hostas and decorative grasses we planted last year are looking good, and the planting strip off the portico is starting to fill in.
Let’s move on down to the orchard and take a look at what’s going on off the meadow. I’m sorry to say it’s a bit of a mixed bag. We have apples–little, teeny, baby apples, but apples nonetheless. The pears have some nasty bug that lays its eggs on the leaves, and then burrows inside–rather unfortunate. The MR used some bug spray on the pears and the rest of the trees for good measure. I don’t know if it was the poison, the deer nibbling it, or the shock of transplant, but the nectarine tree has seen better days. And while the currants are going to have a banner year, the blueberries are looking a little underwhelming. I need to prune off all the dead branches and maybe douse them with some worm castings and/or some organic fertilizer.
And that brings us to the garden proper. The carrots have failed to make an appearance. Maybe the seeds were too old (they are from 2009), maybe the seed tape was a silly idea, maybe it’s time to try again. Gardening is not an exact science. While the carrots are a no show, the lettuce leaves have begun to poke up their sweet little heads. The peas are a bit of a problem. Earlier this week, I was quite excited to see the beginnings of a row. Imagine my surprise when I found all those tender young plants pulled up. The MR blamed slugs, but slugs just mow down their victims at ground level and leave a trail of devastation. Something has been pulling up the peas. Bunnies, deer, birds? Maybe all of the above. We’ve put in a little fence for the moment until something more permanent can be put together. The potatoes in the grow bags are holding their own. Maybe the critters are frightened of the bright color…
That’s one of the fun things about gardening, each year it’s a new experience. I thought I’d just go out and smile at my luxuriously growing peas and start on a little trellis to attach to the chain link fence, instead I’m trying to figure out how to save the few that are left. Along with the trials, come wonderful surprises like the field of foxgloves we found last year. They’ve just started blooming again.
Last summer, we grew our tomatoes on the deck, and that’s where they’ll be again this year. I had really good luck with giant plants and tons of tomatoes using walls of water, but that’s a little tacky for the deck. Up here, they are safe from predators, get lots of reflected heat, and are quite convenient for snacking when we sit and watch the sun set. For now, they’re in a protected spot next to the side wall, but eventually they’ll be out next to the rail like last year.
I’ve been continuing my war against the barberry. Someday the planting bed next to the driveway will be beautiful–just not today. But we have plenty else to be going on with.
How’s the great outdoors been treating you? Moving any dirt? Finding any magic?
A few months back, I made a jewelry organizer and was oh so pleased with it.
Apparently I have more jewelry than I imagined, so some pins and necklaces didn’t have a home. No worries; I had some glass and silver boxes to put things in. It would all work out. And then I added a few more things and wound up with this girly box.
We had a whole set of these once upon a time for the girls’ play room. But now that they are 16 and 18, it doesn’t go with their style and it certainly is way too cutesy for me. Thankfully the cure was quite simple.
I have plenty of scraps left from when I covered the back of the china hutch with handmade paper. Couldn’t I just cover this box and make it cool versus cute?
I grabbed my spray adhesive and went to town.
It was just a matter of spraying all the sides, and then wrapping them with paper. I used white glue to smooth down the edges and called it good. I didn’t get really fussed about making it perfect–sometimes perfect is overrated. Now it feels like it belongs.
Little details can make a big difference. Here we are all up close and personal.
This five minute fix makes me happy.
What little projects have you been doing around the house?
Well it happened; I got the call I’ve been dreading.
On Monday after the thunder and lightning and strong winds, Baby Girl phoned to say the driveway was blocked. She’d moved one small tree, but this one was too much. With all those tall trees lining our drive, moving spindly saplings has become the norm.
But this was a first, at least for me. We lost a few trees in the stands below the tennis court this winter, and the MR had mentioned that the chainsaw is out of commission. (Let’s be honest, I am accident-prone and will never use a chainsaw.) So I hopped in the car and drove to the rescue only to be greeted with the sight of a big tree and a lot of leaves blocking the way.
I took a good look and figured maybe we could handle it. You see my housekeeper was just finishing up and would be leaving in a half hour. She’s a really nice lady, but I didn’t want to trap her at my house forever. So BG and I came back to the garage to gather our supplies: pole pruners, loppers, and a hand saw. I couldn’t find the axe, and BG told me she didn’t want me using an axe. Thanks for the vote of confidence.
Back we drove with tools in hand. The tree had split at one time, so my game plan was to limb up the tree and saw off the top. Between the two of us, we should be able to move the short section blocking the driveway.
We got busy with lots of moral support from Bogart and Cocoa and took turns sawing. This was definitely harder than cutting down a Christmas tree. The MR says he needs a new saw, and I’m on board with that.
Before too long, we’d achieved our goal.
We threw the limbs into the woods, and carried the tree to the side.
We probably could have moved the tree without removing all the branches, but I didn’t want them scraping up vehicles as they drove by or whacking me in the face when we were moving it. I’d called the MR when we were searching for tools, and he arrived shortly after the job was completed.
I have to admit, it’s satisfying to accomplish some manual labor that the MR would usually take care of. Me and Baby Girl moved a ton of bricks a few weeks ago and took down a tree this week. We make a fine team. I am woman; hear me roar.
And now when storms blow in, my fears of being trapped have blown away–mostly.
How have you challenged yourself lately?
Hope you all had a happy Mother’s Day spending time with family and friends. Sweet Miss has been telling me for weeks that she was just too busy with some big project to come home and see me–cue very sad music. So I was quite excited when she drove up Friday with a bouquet of flowers. Two nights at home was way more than I expected.
Baby Girl was off to FFA state and didn’t get home until late on Saturday, but we had all day Sunday together as a family. The girls helped me teach Sunday school, and everyone pitched in to make a tasty dinner featuring some of my favorites: barbecued salmon, sweet potato fries, strawberry and spinach salad, and homemade snicker bars for dessert. Sweet Miss brought me sunflowers and Baby Girl made me this beautiful pot in ceramics.
With all that excitement, I don’t have a bunch of projects to share with you. But here’s a little something I want to encourage you to do. Take a look around your house, I mean really look. Sometimes we are so familiar with the odd or strange, that we don’t even notice it any more. For example, when you used to drive up to our house, this pot full of flowers greeted you.
I thought it would be lovely to have some flowers softening the edge of the portico and adding a little color to the column area, so I set them there about a year ago. I don’t think this photo captures the true sinking ship feel this placement gives you. The poor flowers were growing at a tilt, and the whole scene gave you a sense of unease–something was just off. Pots don’t come with slanting bottoms. What was I to do? And so I just left it there looking crazy.
Dragging the pot from one side of the covered area to the other took all of five seconds and makes so much more sense.
It’s these little changes that help a room come together. Of course now as I look at this picture, I’m thinking I need to power wash the entry (or ask the MR to do it) and get a decorative hose pot to tidy up this area.
Sometimes it takes very little to go from plain to pleasing. I’m not saying that everything has to be perfect, but I shouldn’t leave a tilting pot sitting next to my driveway simply because I don’t know where else to put it. Don’t be afraid of changing things up.
What areas in your home or garden need a little attention?
When one of my favorite blogs announced their Spring Pinterest Challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. We’ve been spending a lot of time outside the last few weeks working on the garden boxes, weeding, dealing with worms, and moving dirt. I decided to do something fun, easy, and dare I say cute.
I had pinned Chickettes easy stone garden markers a while back. I liked the idea of adding a little color to the vegetable garden, while I’m waiting for all those seeds to take off. It also helps when I send one of the girls out to pick something, and they have no idea what I’m talking about. It’ll all be labelled–no excuses to keep watching shows rather than harvesting some veges.
I read through her easy directions and was happy to discover I had everything on hand. Last week when we were moving stones for the garden boxes, I’d loaded a bunch of large rocks into the wheelbarrow when we cleaned up for the night. The MR wondered what I was up to piling rocks in the garage. Just relax; the mystery is revealed.
I washed up the rocks, laid them out on a drop cloth, and sprayed them with some primer. Once they were all shiny white, it was time to decide on some colors.
We have stacks of paint samples around the house, unfortunately most of them are gray or beige–not the most festive colors for the garden. We did have some paint left over from painting the girls’ rooms and other projects, so I got busy painting rocks. Then it was simply a matter of using a paint pen to label each and then cover them with a protective layer of clear coat.
Not only am I putting these in the garden, most of my rocks are headed for the orchard. At the old house, all of our fruit trees were scattered about the back yard. We added them bit by bit, and I knew exactly what was what. Here, they’re all in a straight line, and I can’t remember a thing.
Now with labels, I can go back to looking like I know what I’m doing. I even went so far as to color code them. Pears are one color, blueberries are another, and now we can pretend I’m organized.
The MR wasn’t sure painted rocks were upscale enough for our fancy, new garden boxes. He figured we’d recognize the plants once they came up. He’s right, but I like my little rocks.
How do you label your garden?
To check out all the fun Pinterest projects people are up to this spring, you can hop on over to Young House Love.