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We had a great day for working in the garden. It was in the low 70s so not too hot or cold and the sun was shining which was nice. I was able to get a lot of weeding done and clean up one of the last beds that I had left to do. I also was able to prune some of my roses. Most seem to have made it through the winter. I was concerned because they still had blooms into Nov. and leaves in Dec. which is unusual for around here. However some of the canes had to come off but there is a lot of new growth coming from where the canes start. I was quite relieved to see it. I have an old fashioned rose bush that is from one my Great Grandmother planted that I have decided to try to propagate by air layering. It is a beautiful bush that has a great fragrance. It only blooms once a year but the blooms are a nice shade of pink. Below I am posting a couple of photos of it. They were taken last year in June of 2011.
I have been reading about how to do air layering and am anxious to try and the best of it is I will then get another beautiful rose bush.
The veggie beds still haven't been planted. They need to be tilled again and weeded a little, and we have some manure to spread. It's been pretty rainy, and the days I have time to work out there with Chris have been kinda yucky. I need that soil to dry out a little. I haven't fertilized anything yet, but I plan on making some tea with our organic all purpose fertilize. That always does the trick. Hopefully this coming week we will have those beds completely ready and the seeds planted!
The biggest pest we have in the garden so far this year is the CHICKENS! Those darn chickens are digging up my nice clean, freshly mulched flower beds! Our local bunnies also ate some of my chives and munched my sage down to almost nothing. Thankfully the sage is sprouting new growth, and the chives were only nibbled a little. They are looking to become supper, themselves.
We have some improvements this year that I'm proud of. We have started replacing the rocks around the flower beds with gray scalloped border stones. They aren't super glamorous, but it does tidy things up. We bought an edger/trimmer today. I feel like a little kid using it. It's pretty awesome. Last year I trimmed around the beds with dull scissors! We also bought a fire pit a couple weeks ago. It makes it feel cozy out there. We're working on building a permanent place for it on the lawn with some paving stones. We also have plans for building a wooden compost bin. Last year the compost heap never happened, but so far we have some really yummy things out in that pile.
We're hoping to start building a hoop house in one of our 5' x 16' raised beds using pvc pipes and plastic. It's an experiment for us, but we will try really hard to get it right. I also have plans to make 4 bamboo or wooden tripod trellises for cukes and beans. We have a lot of building projects this year to keep us busy. I'm really excited to start building and planting!
Today I picked up some old windows from a salvage store that I'm going to turn into trellises. Very cool. I just need to take the remaining glass out of them and find the perfect spot for them. Ideas are forming, and soon they will be sprouting into reality. How fabulous is that?
Yesterday while I was spreading Pine Straw in the back, my little girl decorated her snowman....
He sort of sums up the season, don't you think? Its still chilly, but there are signs of spring scattered about all on a bed of fresh pine straw ;)
It has been a while since I have been out in the garden...it has been SO cold, but it is beginning to warm up and I am excited!
Never underestimate the joy of a power tool! Especially, a cordless lithium ion variety! Every February I struggle with the task of cutting back all of my ornamental grasses. I have close to 20 in my garden and they are wonderfully low maintenance, except for in February when they all need their crew-cuts. I have tried various methods over the years: Weed-eater with gator attachment, Scissors, Chainsaws, Saws-Alls and finally…A hedge Trimmer! I have found that to be the best method, but I didn’t have one, so each year I was on a quest to borrow one or use a combination of the above mentioned list to accomplish the task. Well, this year I bought my own hedge trimmer and I could not be happier!
This handy little guy helped me get so much done in one day! I cut back the grasses, trimmed the abelias and cut back the camellia…
all with a great deal of speed and ease – woo hooooo! I even had some time to put down some fresh straw:
While working in the yard and taking advantage of some beautiful weather – I took notice of some early signs of spring:
The Petasites is popping up:
Looking forward to those daffs:
The promise of a peonie:
The "fall" garden I planted last year is now growing! HAH! Guess it will be an early spring garden...
We get a glimpse of spring every February, but can always
count on it getting cold again…so while I had a bit of spring fever, I headed
over to the nursery to take a look-see and of course, I can never leave empty
handed, so I came home with a beautiful “New Dawn” rose. I will put it at the
back fence to peek through the loropetalums that I put in last year. I also hope to put down pine straw in the back this weekend....
Spring has officially sprung here at soapHOUSE! We have had several days of near 90 degree weather and the plants seem to be growing inches a day!
This photo was taken on Sunday and looks like winter compared to how it looks now - just a few days later!
That is the view of my backyard when standing on the new back deck. Hubby is working on installing a french door on one side of the deck - that will really bring the outdoors in! I am so excited!
Despite my unusual lack of gardening efforts and maintenance through this past fall and winter season - everything is just bursting. Here are some shots:
Northern Mountain Oaks Grass:
I was warned against this - said to be invasive. But, invasive to some means hard - working to me. If a plant takes over and multiplies readily, that just means there is no room for the weeds! I planted this guy in the back right bed of the backyard - hoping he would take over a bit and fill in all the bare spots. He is doing his job quite nicely I must say.
Ah - to the naked eye, looks just like any peonie, doesn't it? Well, I understand this is a bit different. Will get much bigger, more like a tree and the bare-root alone was over $30 - for 1. This is the first year it has had any buds on it - at a mere 12 inches high - HAH! We shall see if he delivers. I have faith he will - mostly because at the end of last summer, I thought for sure he was dead.
In its 3rd year, planted as a mere baby. Looking so pretty! Maybe we will get some peaches. This little lady even survived a terrible case of spider mites last season.
In its third year and have been harvesting a couple of spears daily. Maybe as the weather gets warmer, there will be more and I can actually make a side dish for dinner. Right now we are just picking them off the plant and eating them - so yummy! My 4 year old, who won't eat anything, ate a whole one today!
er one that I thought for sure was dead last season!
This is the first year in 5 that the flowers on this tree have made it all the way through their bloom cycle without getting zapped by a late season frost. Looks like snow in spring, doesn't it?
I can only hope the same for my azaleas that will be in full bloom shortly:
And of course, who can resist a fresh autumn fern frond in all its glory?
Despite my lack of daily chores - things just keep on ticking! I am grateful for the hard work I put in getting this garden started, it is now starting to take more care of itself! But, most of all I am grateful for ALL of God's faithfulness - even in the smallest of flower buds!
Next week will be time to plant all the veggies - wooooo hooooo!
Soon it will be time to take that special walk, you know the walk I mean. The walk where we look for that first spring bulb to peak through the still half frozen ground. Walking around the garden seeing very few signs of life, then seeing a few crocus starting to bloom, that is such a thrill after the dreary winter.
Then a couple of weeks later we discover the daffodils glowing in the sun. Wow, now that says “springtime” to me. The winter doldrums are gone and we are full of optimism again. It’s still quite chilly outside, but now we can feel that late winter sun on our skin. It’s just a little warmer, just a little brighter. I love it! All of this will be happening several weeks from now where I live.
Yes, walking the garden in the spring is such a delight. We know what we planted, but we still seem so surprised when in starts to emerge from the good earth. After the daffodils are up we start looking for the tulips. Those bright jewels of the garden shining under the blue sky. I can’t wait, and I know you can’t either.
So let’s get our boots ready, it will be wet and muddy out there. Set them next to the back door where they will be waiting. I’m ready to take that first spring walk, and my boots are ready too.
Best Wishes to All, Rick
So I took some pictures of the garden and uploaded them to a new album named April...some of the plants are really filling in, and others don't show up so well. I do have a few bare spots to fill in, but most of the flower sales start next weekend, so I don't think it will be a problem.
Rhubarb anyone? It has only taken a week for it to go crazy.
My hubby built this arbor last year and we have kiwi growing up it...the female grew like crazy and the male was slow...
Here are my mason bee houses...they are hatching and putting in new ones like crazy.
my test slug trap, I am going to put something decorative on top of the plate, but they seem to work perfectly. So I will be making more and spreading them throught the garden. I have several very slug damaged plants. I am going garage saling tomorrow to see if I can find some stuff to put on the top for decoration.
It turned out to be a beautiful day, and we are supposed to have several more in a row. It is so great for the soul!
Hope everyone had a wonderful day and happy gardening!
Oh the sunny wonderful day...and the lawn mower. Now that the ground has has a chance to dry out for a couple of days, the neighborhood is alive with the sounds of lawn mowers and weed eaters. Everyone is out taking advantage of the wonderful weather.
This will be the second time our lawn has been mowed this year, and really should be the third or fouth...but we missed a couple of days last month.
I have always felt that there is nothing like a freshly mowed lawn to make the garden look better. A nice neat lawn lets the eye wander to the garden undistracted, allowing the eye to enjoy the pleasure of the flowers.
The mowing of the lawn is why I ended up with my gardens. Our backyard has a big hill and it was difficult to mow and weed eat, so my husband suggested we turn it into a garden. After that was done, he decided that the front yard was too much work, so that flower bed got bigger. He is actually trying to convince me to get rid of the front lawn all together, turn it into big garden with a patio to sit on...although I am not sure if I am up to that much work.
We shall see, but for now the lawn is mowed and the flower beds look great. Happiness on a warm spring day.
I am so excited that we are going to have one more nice day. I along with my plants are rejoicing in the sun and warmth. It is pure amazement how quickly plants grow with a little of sun.
I guess a little cooler weather and moisture is welcome...only because this weekend I was able to plant some seeds...peas, kolorabi, and squash. They join the parsnips, lettuce, broccoli, garlic, and shallots planted last November. I still need to get in carrots, potatoes and cauliflower. Then when it gets warmer, hot peppers and tomatoes.
After growing up with a garden as a child, it is nice to be able to plant a garden and have my own fresh veggies. I also got the herb garden cleaned out, the rosemary didn't like all the snow that sat on them this winter and they needed some pruning, but I think they should be fine.
Oh the joy of spring...it makes all other worries seem more manageable.
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:
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!
I cannot wait to start my spring seeds! I am so excited. I was told today was the first day of spring! Yipee it is on it's way!! I will start my seeds soon and of course post the pictures up on here as soon as I do.
I have been thinking about lots of cheap seed starters/containers. I thought of two ideas today:
1.) I plan to re-use the small plastic cups that the Jello brand "fruit and jello" come in. Also the regular the fruit cups that are now available. They would be perfect seed cells/containers. I will take some pictures when I start some seeds in them and be sure to post them then. The only thing that I may want to try doing would be to drill a few holes into the bottom of the containers. But these cups could be used year after year since they are pretty strong/heavy plastic.
2.) Using toilet paper or paper towel roll sections as seed cells. I am still working out the kinks in this one, but I think that if you cut 2-3" pieces (like rings). Placing them on a tray and then fill them with potting/seed starting soil and planting seeds into them. They are roughly the same size around as the seed starting biscuits that you just add water to and they expand. Everyone has them, and either they are thrown out or recycled, but I think that they could make a really great seed starter. The only concern I have at this point is that they may not hold up enough after a period of watering. I will have to test this out and see if it works. I am thrilled with this idea, so fingers crossed it works!
I have saved a peach seed that I am going to try and start (force it by refrigerating for a few months) but I have no idea how that will work. We'll just have to see. Also I have a grapefruit seed that I saved from one of my grapefruits. I had a grapefruit houseplant but I accidentally killed it (it dried out). I was so sad that it died and have wanted to try and start a new one to be as successful as I was with the original one. I just saved some apple seeds and I will try to get those to work too, but I have to do some research on how to do this first.
So, I think that tomorrow (depending on how my daughter feels since she is fighting off a cold right now) I will try to start some seeds in the various containers I have collected. I will be sure to update as I progress!
My seedlings made it through the night, and so did I!
The greenhouse stayed at 51, and the guests stayed until 2 am. The plants were much perkier than I was this morning.
My son Dan, who lives in Hawaii, surprised me and showed up on my doorstep for the party. I was so happy I cried and cried. So three out of my four children were here. Kyle, my third son, toasted me and also made me cry. A couple of weeks ago I told my daughter Makenzi that we should make the party a St. Patty's Day them, but forgot to tell her I'd nixed that idea. She showed up in a ridiculous big green bow tie, green pigtails, and green suspenders. It was quite funny when she walke in and realized she was the only one "dressed" for the occasion. There were over 50 people here, and I feel so blessed to have such an amazing group of friends. All in all a great evening.
I took a lot of pictures of the plants and the party. I'll be posting them as soon as I find the cord for my camera.
The temperature got up to 52 outside today! Spring really is going to come.
What a drastic change in the weather (again)!. Yesterday's high was only 35 degrees and today's high only 40. Too cold for me outside - I just worked with my seedlings indoors. I did go out and fill my bird feeders today in between rain showers. They were pretty empty; the birds were happy that I did that. It's supposed to stop raining and start warming up again after today - I have a few things to plant, so I hope so. The rain and wind have really done a number on my daffy's and hyacinths. They were standing up so tall and pretty, now they are just too heavy to stand up straight. Hopefully when they dry out, they'll perk back up.
She is a shrewd one, she is. The sun is shining and the sky has never been more blue. I want to throw on my flip-flops, a tank top, and a pair of comfy shorts and head out to the garden. But the weatherbug icon in the lower right corner of my computer's task bar tells another story. It's only FIFTEEN DEGREES out there!!! It's MARCH 11. Almost spring. HELLO!
A similar trick is played on me when I look in my mirror lately. I don't look or feel nearly as old as I should- but, sure enough, Mother Nature has seen fit to bless me with my fiftieth birthday on Monday. How can this be? I was just a young mother - my children tiny, my whole life ahead. The irony is, I've never been happier. Yes, Mother Nature is a tricky one!
Well I suppose I'll just keep my wrinkled fifty-year-old self inside today. I'll stare continually at the propagation trays on my kitchen table where nothing will sprout for at least a week. I'll talk to them and check on them and wonder if they need water.
I really am getting old!!!
I've been a member at this site for years but never really used it much. I'm pretty sure I've never posted to the forums but I have lurked. I'm such a lurker!!! :) Imagine my surprise when I recently came to visit the site. It's totally different than the last time I was here. It's really great so I decided to update my profile and start a blog!!
I've been thinking about keeping a gardening blog and I think this is the perfect place to do so!!! Let's see a little about myself...I've always loved to garden. I got it from my mother. I'm married no kids but I'm owned by a mini dachshund named Shaq. We've lived in our home for about 8 years and I've been working on the yard since the day we moved in. It's nothing extravagant or lavish but it's mine. :-) I have a tendency to go overboard with planting though. :) I bet I'm the only one that has that problem. ;-) I have a habit of planting things but not marking anything sometimes I don't remember where things are until they come up. :lol: So I was thinking a blog with pictures would be a great idea!!
This weekend has been great!!! This year my motto will be "work smarter not harder". Last year I really didn't do much at all to the yard. It was a really difficult time with DH's illness and our financial situation so between being really stressed and not having ANY money I just kinda gave up. :( Things are looking a little better this year financially so I'm going to try and whip my yard back into shape. I know I'm going to have a problem with the weeds but I'm going to try and catch them early and keep up with the weeding.
I've decided my first step will be to add edging to my flower beds. I think that will really help with the weeds and then the grass and flower bed won't blend in together. I tried using the little metal fencing but that doesn't seem to work so great. I bought some of the pound in edging and installed that on the flower bed on the side of the house. I think it looks pretty good!! I still have some to do something about the wire hanging and the crawl space's door. Too bad I didn't take a before pic...you could definitely see the difference!!!
My plan is to blog at least once a week and take pics of my yard as things start blooming. I'm determined to actually let the plants come up before I start buying new plants. I told you I have a tendency of going overboard. :-)
Edited to add: Please ignore the date on my camera...I have a habit of not setting it. LOL