Garden Update 7.15.13–Progress

I have to admit I was a little disappointed. We came home after being gone for a week, and I had wide-eyed hopes and expectations. The weather was sunny and warm, the sprinklers were running, the fences were up, my garden would be lush, and green, and filled with bounty–not so much.

The lettuce is struggling, the beets are struggling, the carrots are struggling, the peas have plain old disappeared. While I’ve been forced to wait patiently for crops that in the past have brought automatic success, I have been pleasantly surprised to see the cucumbers, zucchini, melons, and pumpkins are taking off. While the garden hasn’t turned into masses of amazing vegetables overnight, I can actually see it from the deck these days.

Garden from Deck Closer

This is indeed progress. I even weeded inside the garden proving that this dirt can sustain life–something we have been questioning. Here’s a closer look.

Garden Collage

It seems that the seedlings I’ve transplanted to the garden are doing well and everything else is just stalled. With that in mind, I planted a few containers of beans on Thursday when we came home from vacation. I was quite pleased to see beans coming up last night.


I’m trying the same method with lettuce seeds. In the northwest, we have a really long growing season. While the days are getting shorter, it’s still light till after 9 pm and the first freeze is usually in mid-October. I’m hoping for a bean harvest before volleyball season kicks in this fall.

I’m thankful that while the garden has been a struggle, other things are just chugging along. The tiny planting strip next to the garage boasts beautiful blooms this time of year with absolutely no help from yours truly.

Planting Strip Blooms Collage

And on the other side of the house, we’ve been enjoying all the flowers that came back from last year plus a few new ones. The MR’s vision is that the little swath of lawn and flowerbeds that greet you as you take the last bend in the driveway will be a beautiful manicured bit of paradise. Then we’ll leave the rolling hills and meadows more natural. We are inching toward that every year.

The MR’s folks gave us some bee balm last summer, and he was able to divide it this spring, so we have pops of red flowers scattered on the hillside. Down near the tennis court, I saw California poppies draping over the retaining wall. I would love for both of these to spread and fill the slope.

Hillside Collage

Wouldn’t the hillside look lovely covered in masses of red and orange?

On our trip, me and the MR took time to walk the neighborhood on the way to and from the lake. One thing, I miss about this home is the chance to walk around the block and check out the neighbors’ landscaping. We were always getting new ideas and picking out plants and shrubs we liked. After admiring the Russian sage lining some of the hills in Wapato Point, we came home to a packet of seeds in the mail just waiting to be planted. The MR is a man of action; I’d probably still be thinking about it if it were up to me.

When I was looking up info, I found that you’re supposed to stick the seeds in the fridge for three weeks to improve germination. Of course, the experts encourage you to do this in late winter. Since it’s the middle of July, and I’d like these plants to have a chance to make it through the winter, I threw caution to the wind and decided to forge on now. We’ll just have to wait and see. I had horrible luck with lavender last year, but sage may be my friend. The seeds were tiny, so I used tweezers to place one in each of the cups, sprinkled on a little seed starter soil mix, stuck them under our grow-lights errh, I mean china buffet. We are quite fancy around here.

Russian Sage Collage

Now if these babies take off, we’ll have the beginnings of a stunning hillside next summer. Not only will it look lovely, it will smell heavenly, too.

One of the bonuses of all the sunny weather we’ve been enjoying is the wildlife. We watched eagles fighting in the trees behind the drive a few weeks back, and lately we’ve been following the hummingbirds as they flit from the crocosmia,


to the bee balm, and then over to the bougainvillea.

Bougainvillea with MR

It’s a hard life we lead watching the birds and sitting on the deck soaking in the majesty of Mount Rainier in the distance.

What would you plant a hillside in? Wildflowers? Terraced hedges? Grapes? Ground cover? I’d love to hear your vision.


4 thoughts on “Garden Update 7.15.13–Progress

  1. I love what you have going so far! I think a hillside screams wildflowers, but I am more of a original/natural/untouched look. I am the same way with old furniture.

  2. I am with Lori, I would love to see masses of wildflowers. However, when your Mister’s parents did that once, and the weeds (that you already have) choked out the wildflowers after just one year, so waste of money…………..but you could always try. I see that you have lots of tiny yellow wild flowers already all over the part that has not been mowed in a week, and they are lovely. Maybe do your planting around the edges of the tennis court, or more on the retaining wall.

  3. Pingback: A Look Back at July | bigwhitehouseonthehill

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