Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The fruits of my labor from last year's gardening...

And work yet to be done!

Last year for the month of April and May I mostly worked in my garden for weight loss efforts. And those months were great months for losses on the scale. While I did plant several annuals for instant color, I planted a lot of perennials too.

My yard is big and it was a blank slate. The previous owner was in her late 70s and while she didn't really neglect it, she didn't really take care of the yard either. She hired someone to mow and trim the bushes and to throw mulch on the flowerbeds, but that's about it.

The first year we lived here we concentrated on fixing up the inside of the house - remodeling the bathrooms, kitchen and other small areas that needed attention. Last year I started in on the yard and while I made some great progress, I still have so far to go.

This spring has been an odd one. We had a warm winter, but the spring has been hit or miss. It was too early to plant, but was warm and tempting to be outside. Now it's finally getting warm enough to plant and I have a shoulder injury and the weather has been colder, windier and rainy. Just now taking photos, my shoulder started to ache. Seems I need to rest it a bit more, so I can start dreaming about what I want to do yet out there in the yard, but I think it will have to be step and running/walking for exercise right now.

But first let's start with the pretties in the yard - the fruits of my labor from last year.  First, this is what greets me when I step outside my front door. The smell is heavenly. A dwarf lilac in full bloom:

In front of it are two varieties of stone crop. My main objective with planting in the front yard last year was to disguise the ugly sewer pipe in the front yard. It's SMACK in the middle of the yard. The previous owner had an upside down flower pot on it, and that's it. So, I created this flower bed. It still needs to grow in more and needs more to fill it out, but it's on a good start. The smell - oh how I love lilacs!

In that same flower bed I planted three peonies. Here is one cluster of buds ready to burst open:
Looks like as soon as the lilacs die out, the peonies will be ready.  Behind all this, right in front of the house are the tulips I planted in December. They are beginning to bend all over with the three days of rain, but still so pretty. The azaleas behind them still haven't bloomed. Maybe the peonies and the azaleas will bloom at the same time:

Also in the front yard I planted a perennial hibiscus. It's just beginning to pop up. Well, I also planted last summer an annual hibiscus that was so beautiful, but the deer came and chomped down on the annual - ignoring the perennial. I'll stick to just the perennial this year. Live and learn:
My yard is big. I have this huge side flower bed that was just mulch all about for most of it and a few azaleas and a big rhododendron in the back. I started filling it with perennials last year. Here are a few of the perennials:

 A cute little pinflower with a bloom azalea bush in the background.

 A teeny tiny hydrangea just beginning to grow in.

 Two bleeding hearts and some hostas. Now, I would have taken a close up of the bleeding hearts, but they look better from a distance. We had a late frost and the hearts are all brownish and misshapen. No one wants to see a broken heart.

 One of the many hostas I planted around trees in the yard.

And my regular lilac bush. No blossoms this year - not a single one, but it's growing, so I'm going to hope that next year I'll see and smell the blossoms.

There is more! In the back yard there are three boulders. They are interesting, but there was nothing around them - nothing at all. My son likes to climb on them and sit on them, but they looked lonely out there. So, I planted all around them. Two peonies, a couple lavender bushes, some shasta daisies, some stonecrop, a little bush and an interesting dwarf tree.

 Here's the lavender - just beginning to filling. I can't wait to use some of it for ice cream and for making little pouches for the dresser.

 Two varieties of stonecrop. These two I bought for our old house, but they never made it into the ground. I had them growing in their nursery pots for two summers just sitting neglected in the back yard. They transplanted fine and love their new stoney home. Especially the one in the back. Of course, I lost the card for them, so I don't know their names, but they are pretty and cute and easy to care for.

 I had to get this one. A plant called Little Henry? Planted the sweetspire around the rocks my little Henry loves to play on? No blossoms yet, but it's growing just fine.
And the contorted filbert tree/bush is behind them - all interesting and funny looking. Again, another nice accent to the rocks.

So, that was the work from last year, but there is so much more to do! In the front yard I have a Bradford pear tree. I planted hostas around it and used some brick bedding that was around the yard, but the bradford pear grows these spindly volunteers every, single year. Believe it or not, this is just regrowth from this spring. I need to go out there with shears and cut all the volunteer trees back. What a pain. I'm hoping eventually the hostas will fill in and choke out the volunteer trees.

 Doesn't look very tidy does it?

The next two are the side yard. I put down some leaves to kill the grass back there this past fall., but I still have to dig some out. All those dark balls you see on the ground are sweet gum balls fallen from my neighbor's tree this spring. I hate that thing because you twist your ankles walking in the yard along there. Plan is to plant a tree, some ferns a few other things along there so that we don't have to mow and to make that neglected side and back of the house look less neglected.

 And then lastly there is directly behind the house, right behind this side yard. Last year I planted three fig trees in the containers running along the side. They love the spot as they quadrupled in size. I plan to keep them in containers as the root systems of figs can damage foundations. We'll see as they get bigger what I do with them, but look at all the figs developing this spring: But not a very pretty back yard view. Other big containers were tomato plants and the small ones were herbs. So, that all needs to be tidied up too.

The really big project though is that side flowerbed. What I discovered last year when I was planting the perennials was that the previous owner just kept having the workers adding layers of weed barrier fabric and mulch. I discovered at least three layers of fabric with decomposing mulch inbetween. Nothing can grow and spread through that, so I need to pull it all out. This flower bed is about 40 feet long and ranges from 12 feet to 20 feet wide. As I said, it's huge! On top of that, last year in one of the downpours, the timbers holding up the flowerbed tipped over on it's side. Now I have to deal with that too - do I remove them? Keep it on it's side and fill in? or what? As you can see - this will be the big project for this spring:

 See the cloth? That is just one layer of at least three - it's sloped so much that any rain just washes the top layer of mulch away.

And here is the tipped over timbers. Ugh... my shoulder is aching just thinking about this project.

If and when I get to this, I will be working hours and hours and hours out there. That is a natural way of strength training. Good thing I have all the pretties in the yard to help me realize that the effort does have a nice payoff - eventually.

Stats for 4/24/12:

Highest weight: 275  Now: 173

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! You have quite a variety that will mature this year, I can't wait to see some pictures when everything has filled in more. Bummer on the slope, though, at least it will be a good workout!

    Our yard is still being hardscaped, so no planting this year. I am looking forward to hving a vegetable garden in some raised bed, though, and when the sidewalk, sand box, and new deck are completed this year, it will be way more functional if not pretty, yet ;)