Ok, now you get to see what I've been spending all my time on, instead of blogging. Our yard!!! At least, that was what I've been doing the last couple of weeks. This weekend, our yard looked like this.
Regardless of today's weather, what I'd like to do is let all of you see the progress of my gardening work as the spring and summer progresses. Because some of you might be interested. And even if nobody cares, at least I'll have a record of my progress for posterity.
As I'm sure I've said here before, our yard this winter was in a state of unkempt laziness. All the beds were overgrown, the lawn was overgrown beyond any excuse, and things were generally horticulturally unhappy. These photos of the back patio bed and the raised garden bed (behind the swingset) should give you an idea of how bad it was.
I emailed the lovely people at Hole's Greenhouse in St. Albert to get some advice on where to start, and they actually got back to me. Which is pretty cool, because I know they must be crazy busy, especially at this time of year. And they gave me advice, which mostly consisted of a hell of a lot of elbow grease, and knee grease, and lower back grease. Which I wasn't especially thrilled to hear, but still, it was really nice of them to get back to me regardless.
Cleaning these out is a HELL of a lot of work, let me tell you. Here are instructions, in case you're interested. What, somebody might be interested?! First, clip down the weeds with shears, and clean that debris out of the bed. Then break up the weedy soil with the garden claw, and and pick out the worst of the crab grass (including roots), dandelions and chickweed out of the the resulting mess. Then break up the soil some more with the garden claw. Then, according to Julie from Hole's you let the soil sit some more, until the weeds start sprouting again, and then you start back at the beginning. And THEN you put in your plants. If you have any energy left.
There is also a raised garden bed in the backyard, which is in an equally bad state. But I'm chipping away at it slowly. I'm also working on a rock garden on the north side of our deck, but it's still in the beginning stages. Really beginning, as you can see.
The front bed was just as bad as the back one, but last week when the weather was nice, I was able to spend some time cleaning up the front yard. After removing nine (!!!!) bags of leaves, weeds, and various other debris, it's looking pretty good.
(The front deck, with 6 of 9 bags of debris)
(The bed in front of the house)
(The caragana bed)
The front bed has, or at least had, irises coming up. During the cleanup I discovered a forgotten roll of chicken wire which we had laid over the bed to keep out the neighbourhood cats which were using it as a litterbox. In retrospect this obviously wasn't such a good idea - I had to tear it out to work up the soil in the bed, and ended up taking up a good portion of the irises with it. Now, a lot of the flowers were dead, probably due at least in part to neglect, but I went though all the debris, pulled out the tubers that were showing signs of life and replanted them. I'm not sure if they'll still bloom this year, but the effort has been made. I'm also planning on transplanting the bleeding heart from the back bed to the front one.
I also have a bunch of pots and planters on the front and back decks.
I'm planning on growing tomatoes, herbs and peas in the clay planters. The plan for these pots with the beautiful willow baskets
is to buy a couple of clematis from our local greenhouse to plant in there, and then move them out by our garden shed.
I've started a lot of perennials indoors this year. They were only started in the middle of April, so they're pretty small yet, but I'm hoping they'll be hardy enough to put out mid-May, or at the latest on the May long-weekend.
These are (from top right) Coleus, Lavender, Catmint, Sweet Williams, Columbines (which are just now starting to germinate), Campions (also called Maltese Cross), and Delphiniums.
Pinks, Scabiosa Japonica (which look a bit like chives to me), Carpathian Bellflowers, Asters and Hollyhocks.
The big ones are Nastutiums, which have totally taken off, and I may need to transplant to larger pots soon. In the middle are Icelandic Poppies, and the Pansies are on the right.
These are my poor Fragrant Pinks and Snow-in-Summer, which I tried to transplant, as they looked over crowded. I think I may have killed them. If I did, I figure I'll just sow seeds directly into the beds mid-May.
Tomato Plants, and a Hen-and-Chicks, for the rock garden.
While the yard isn't anywhere near where I want it to be yet, it is at the point where we can enjoy it. As evidenced by the wiener roast we had with Seester and her family last weekend. You know, before it started snowing.
This is really the reason I want to get the yard cleaned up.
Because nothing says summer like having a bunch of people over to your yard for a bar-be-que, letting the kids run around in the sun all day, and then wrapping up with a fire as the sun sets. I can't wait, people!!!