We have been busy here at the soapHOUSE! I am finding that life with 2 little ones, homeschooling and expecting our 3rd is busy and super fun! We have been having a great time in the garden. The backyard-work-in-progress is coming along and we are able to see some things reaching their potential this year. Despite our HUGE infestation of box elder bugs around the veggie beds:
We are still managing to get some great progress with the veggies. Most notable this week are the fresh strawberries:
In celebration of good news over bad news recently, I headed to the nursery for some goodies:
Purple Palace Heucheras were planted among the sum and substance hostas:
I also picked up a couple of Scotch Moss plants:
And some elfin thyme to put in around the stepping stone path.
Hubby has been so sweet lately helping out the preggers in the garden. He helped me dig up and move some of the pitiful fruit trees in the back yesterday. They were infested with spider mites their first year and although they are still alive, we are going on year 4 with no action....so the plums went by the creek and the apricot went in a pot. The peach remains as it is the only one that has not suffered.
I was also given some great divisions from my mom's garden lately. Hellebores, Solomon's Seal, Turk's Cap Lilies, Asters, Day Lilies, Peacock fern and Fennel....to name a few. Hubby planted all of them for me!
And, to top it off, today he is restaining the deck:
Well, I suppose its about time that I post something! My new job is 100% on the computer, so when work is done...the last thing I want to do is get back on the computer. So, I haven't been doing a very good job of keeping up with my blog! Things continue pretty much as usual here in the garden. I am enjoying watching things fill in and am trying to resist all urges that I have to buy more plants. I planted so much the last couple of years that I do believe it is now time to sit back and watch it do its thing for a bit.
My girls are growing up and my oldest has started to enjoy taking pictures with mommy in the garden:
Look at this pose!
Work continues on the deck and next step is the long anticipated railing:
Then we are going to put in some pea gravel at the bottom of the steps and create a nice patio type area.
For my upcoming birthday, i got to make over the front porch.
here is a before picture:
I am so excited! I know we will get so much use out of it...we already used it alot,but now we will even more!
We pressured washed it before repainting and the funny thing is that I think we will be picking up blue paint chips for the rest of our lives - HAH!
The veggies are exploding and we are enjoying lots of eggplants and the tomatoes are really starting to do their thing. We have been blessed with a whole lot of rain this season and I am having a hard time keeping up with all the weeding and mowing. But, I really can not complain about rain, now can I?
This is the most consistent rain season we have had since we have lived in this house and it really is quite amazing! I know it does have something to do with the garden getting more mature, but things are just going CRAZY!
For the most part, that is wonderful...but, it makes the weeds grow crazy too...lots of rain with sunny, windy afternoons...well, you can imagine. So, I have been tackling a lot more weeding (and spraying) than I normally have to do. The vinca and the mint in the front bed is just going wild and has become quite the aggressive traveler...so, I have become one with the string trimmer and have been pulling a lot of it by hand to keep it in check.
I recently bought one of the Worx GT Weedeaters from the informercial. First time I have ever bought something off the TV...and I must say, I LOVE IT! It was my mother's day present and it is awesome!
It has helped me a lot in the garden, especially keeping up with all the spring growth from all the rain.
Here are some recent picts taken of the garden:
The hydrangea bed is really coming along. This is the first year that it has actually looked like something:
The black and blue salvia is such a nice accent in this bed:
I won't show you the view of the back of this bed...which is pretty much a nice collection of crab grass that i need to get out with my special weeding tool.
My purple beauty berry that was basically a stick in the mud when I planted it in the fall - is rally doing well!
< p>And, I do love the mountain oats grass! It has lots of little seedlings sprouting and i am counting on them to take up some of the area that the crab grass seems to like so much:
The veggies are coming along very nicely and we are starting to enjoy some srawberries, lots of basil and we are greatly anticipating the tomatoes that are soon to ripen!
Hubby has also made a ton of progress with the deck! He has gotten it most of the way done. All thats left is the railing and the skirting. We are also going to put a stepping stone patio at the bottom of the steps to create a nice landing where we can put a grill and nice little bistro set. He will begin work on the railing soon...
Here is a before and after:
And one more before and after shot of stairs:
And finally, a nice shot of the top of the deck with the Garapa Wood:
We are well into spring here at soapHOUSE and loving every minute of it! I took some picts yesterday of recent garden happenings:
Nic e shot of one of the beds in the back
That deodor cedar in the back will grow up big one day to hide that fence :)
I am loving the viburnum!
The Iris looks so pretty with the virburnum in the background:
Pe onie In Waiting:
This hosta suprised me...I thought I had gotten them all moved to the azalea bed, but this one remains in the hydrangea bed and is looking quite nice this year :)
Hellebore seed heads:
The autumn ferns have lots of new growth in the front porch bed:
Another view of the front porch bed:
>Tulips by the front walk:The vinca is really doing its thing this year!
Despite a major aphid infestation on my roses and Iris, they seem to still be doing ok...the Mdme Alfred is blooming on the arbor:
I think I may go around with a soap spray this weekend. I did some internet research on this and I was hesitant to spray with soap b/c I read that this affects the beneficial insects as well...but the aphids really are all over, so I do believe spraying is in order. I don't know why I have so many this year. I did read that they particularily like fresh spring growth and with all the rain we have had...we have a lot of that, so maybe that is why?
Work on the deck continues and hubby will start laying down the decking tomorrow - HOORAY!
More rain here at soapHOUSE! The news reported that we are now officially out of the drought! But, they still haven't lifted the watering restrictions, as a precaution. But, not that that matters with all the rain we are getting these days! I really do love the way all the plants look in the rain, but I am itching to get outside and do some work too. SOmetimes I will work in the rain, pulling weeds and such, but today it is forcasted for thunder storms, so I do believe we will be house bound.
THe deck is coming along and hubby is going to call the distributor today to order the decking boards. He is almost done with the framing. We were planning on using Ipe all along, but the other night when we were researching the best prices, we came accross another type of brazilian hard wood called garapa. It is exactly the same as ipe in all its properties except it is a light honey color instead of a deep walnut color. I think this coloring will look better with our house and the garapa is a fraction of the cost of ipe...so, we ARE excited!!! Interesting, we found out this wood has the same fire rating as concrete...pretty impressive! Can't wait to see it!
I am still inspecting the shade bed daily looking for more signs of hostas coming up and astillbes. I know it is early yet, but this is always the time of year when I start to wonder if things will actually come back or not...
We have had SO much rain this week and we are forecasted for more. Of course we pick the week of national flood warnings to build the new deck - LOL! But, I must say, hubby is quite the trooper. He has worked through most of the rain...unless it has been just pouring. He has gotten a lot done and it is looking SO good!
Probably one of the hardest parts was making multiple trips to the stone yard and shoveling gravel to cover the bottom for drainage:
Then he got a majority of the framing done:
He is still out there as I type working by a shop light in the dark - God bless him!
Now that we have gotten both of our little ones on the same nap schedule, I am able to get back out in the garden for good chunks of time during the afternoon. SO, I have been taking advantage of the wet soil and getting lots of weeds pulled.I am also pleased to say that I do believe we will get to see the azaleas in full bloom this year. Usually, they start to bud out and our late freeze zaps them. But, the last freeze we had was early enough that they are doing well now:
And, all 3 of my peonies are peeking out:
Also, the hostas just started to show their little green tips :)
Here is a nice shot of the front. See the dark spot in the front lawn? Thats where I filled a dip in the ground with some soil:
And, the backyard:
See the coral bark maple in the foreground? When I cleaned up the driveway the other day, I took some clumps of the blue grass and put them in this bed. I think that will be so fun come 4th of july to have the red and blue together. I think I have settled on the idea to make this little berm an ornamental grass bed, with some creeping phlox on the edge by the path.
I just love the way everything looks in this rain...like its glowing...and our creek has turned into more of a river, which is neat. we can hear the sounds of the water from the house.
I still have yet to get all the mulch moved, so If we get enough dryness this weekend, I will try to finish that. Happy gardening weekend everyone!
We have been enjoying spring here at soapHOUSE and we love watching the daily activities in the garden. Seems like there is something new to look at everyday! Our peach tree that is in its 3rd year has some beautiful blooms this season:
Perhap s we will get some yummy peaches this year?
On a stroll around the garden this afternoon I noticed many spring events: The purple asparagus is starting to grow, the dogwood is budding out, the azaleas are blooming, the peonies are coming up, the phlox are all blooming, the hydrangeas have their new growth, the hardy begonia is coming back, the autumn ferns are showing their new growth and the georgia blue bells are in full bloom...I just LOVE it!
I noticed recently that the beds that we had put along either side of the driveway had done their fair share of compacting and the edges had become a bit messy, so I set out the other evening with my broom to tidy things up a bit. Little did I know that there was about a foot of driveway on either side hiding under all that pinestraw that had gotten compacted! So, that turned into quite a project. After a lot of work with the shovel, rake, broom and bare hands...I uncovered about 2 1/2 feet of driveway and have a nice tidy edge now: In these picts you can still see the line of where I cleaned up. WOW! Glad I did that. I think it makes a difference and makes things look tidyer.
The other project that has gotten under way recently is rebuilding our back deck. We knew it would need to be done when we bought the house 6 years ago and now we are finally able to do it. My husband is a carpenter so he is doing all the work himself. He has decided to use ipe wood and I am so excited to see how beautiful it will be! He has taken his vacation week at work to do the bulk of the project this coming week :)
Here is the before shot (taken about 1 year ago):
Ugh! So ugly!
Here are a couple of shots as he was doing the demo:
He said that as he was taking it apart, some of the wood literally crumbled in his hand! Pretty bad! Hard to believe we had been walking on it all this time!
Here is what it looks like now with nothing there:
We deadbolted that sunroom door closed so that we wouldn't accidentally forget and let one of the dogs go running out the door - HAH!
So this week, we should see a lot of progress on this and I will keep you all updated!