Saturday, March 27, 2010

Starting Over in a New Garden: Post #1

A lot of people have expressed interest in watching me take over my new space while moving my entire garden from my previous yard.  So I will be doing a series of posts on 'Starting Over in a New Garden'.  I by no means claim to be a gardening expert...I have no training in landscape design...some people might even call aspects of my garden 'ugly'...I just do what I like.  So, if you are interested, you can follow along and watch as I blog about my adventures making the new yard my own.  Feel free to offer suggestions and advice if you desire...I am always open to new ideas.

Funny that I noticed how this flower bed looks like a heart from this angle.  I have been calling it the pac man bed.  It is one of the existing flower beds in my new yard.  It came with 2 rose bushes, if you can call them bushes.  I know next to NOTHING about roses, so I'm going to have to do some research.  Since the two roses were the only thing in the bed, I replanted my gladiator alliums here...I have two kinds of alliums, the really huge purple ones, and mid-size but still huge azure blue ones. 

I also added some regular garlic bulbs around the roses.  The roses benefit from the garlic because it will repel aphids.  Garlic also gathers sulfur in the soil, which acts as a natural fungicide and helps with disease prevention. 

This is my ponytail grass.  I don't remember if this one will come back, I think it may be an annual in my zone, but it still looks cool as heck in the garden.  I surrounded it with my recycled christmas wreath from this year.  I thought it was an interesting arrangement. 

I posted some pictures on twitter before of my newly designed sun-bed.  However, Iowa One Call people showed up and drew an offensive orange line (the phone company) right through the side of my flower bed.  I had to adjust my bricks to accommodate the line, but it worked out, because now I have a sun bed, and a separate bed for my herb garden.

This is going to be the herb garden.  I formed the shape of the bed I wanted with an extension cord (a hose works too).  When I get the shape right, I put the bricks down to more concretely mark the bed.  Sometimes, I will dig in the bricks at an angle, or stack them.  For now, they are just laying horizontally. 

I also do not remove all the sod when I make a flower bed.  I just place the plants where I want them, and then lay down a heavy layer of wet newspaper and mulch.  This keeps almost all the weeds from coming up, but still retains the benefits of keeping the sod in place.

This lovely circle is where I decided to plant my cilantro and parsley.  I am still not exactly sure what the plant is in the center, but I am just going to work around it for now.  I also have to keep the squeanies out of it.

This doesn't look like much right now, but at some point in the future it will be lots of tulips, crocus, and daffodils.  I dug the mulch back and put all the bulbs underneath...I'm not sure if I will get any blooms this year, but next year I will for sure. 

This bed was created for lots of viney and trellisy things.  I plan on having 3 kinds of cucumbers, green beans, and probably my nasturtiums here.  In front, there will be perennials and annuals. 

My son got out the chalks.  This is about how I felt after all that digging.  This weekend is bound to have more digging in fact, I see digging in my future for the next several weeks.  That's okay, though, when you are starting over in a new garden, digging is the name of the game.  Have you ever had to start completely over in your garden? 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Short Visit to the Iowa Flower, Lawn, and Garden Show

Today is the first day in spring, and outside, you'd hardly know it.  The temps dropped back down to the 30s and the sky dropped about 3 inches of snow outside.  I know it will be gone by tomorrow when the temp is back into the upper 40s, but the cold is still a little depressing.  Luckily, I made a quick visit to the Iowa Flower, Lawn, & Garden Show.  I would have stayed longer, but my son gave me the stomach flu this week, so even though I'm not technically sick, I still wear out easy.  I just thought this blast of spring color was gorgeous. 

I thought this was a clever container.  This is actually one foxtail fern plant.  The lady working the stand said it was 2 years old.  I couldn't afford the cool kitty planter, but couldn't resist the dr. suess-like fuzzy tails. 

Living with a cop, I am always on the lookout for cool cop stuff.  This was also put on my wishlist.  You wouldn't believe how much a decorated rock costs.  I do believe I'm going to get one with our name on it, to put in the front. 

And you thought you had large lawn ornaments.  I love my little yardbird spider, but I think he would run and hide from this thing. Check the guy standing behind it for size reference. 

Of course, there are always lots of lanscaping displays.  I think they are pretty, and they are nice to see after all the winter months, but most of them do look the same.  I do covet the pretty brown mulch though.

Here are some of my purchases for the day.  Adding to my herb collection:  peppermint (I had chocolate mint, but wanted straight peppermint for 'herbaltinis'), a curry plant (smells great!), a stevia plant (an experiment, would like to get myself off artificial sweeteners), chervil (which I have never done, but sounds cool), and bronze fennel (which I don't eat but love to touch as I walk by). 

I had to get some of the little rocks today.  I turned the one with my son's name over, but he will be thrilled to see it out in the garden.

I just threw this pic on the end, because I was photographing the rhubarb out in the yard the other day.  I have never seen it come up, it is such a weird alien plant.  I have SOOO much of it back behind the garage.

So, I didn't spend as long as I might usually have spent in the show, but I still managed to spend plenty of money.  So maybe it's a good thing I left early.  More money for plants later, too. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

My New Yard!

This may be true for now, but not for long!  This garden is waking up!  The last two days we have had up to 50 degree temps and some good hard rains, and almost all the snow is finally gone.  Remember, I have never seen the yard of this house without a foot of snow.  I had NO IDEA what was out there.  It was really exciting to see what I have to work with.

The first surprise was a huge raised strawberry bed!  It is probably about 8 by 3 feet.  I am already smacking my lips thinking of strawberry jam and pie this summer.

This is the current garden space.  It is behind the detached garage, and looks ready to go without much work, so I will be out there soon sowing some early spring crops.  I'm not sure what she had in the sunken pots yet, I'll have to see if anything comes up in them. 

This is the garden plot from the other side.  There is an enclosed area that she had tomato plants in, I think. I will probably do some little lettuces and greens in there. Built in bunny protection. 

The back of the yard has a big fence running along it.  There is a huge flower bed running the whole length of the property.  The fence belongs to the neighbors, so I probably won't be able to hang things on it, but maybe they will let me lean some trellises against it.  That would be a good trade considering their dog barks all day and all night.

This is one of the few trees we have in our yard.  I am bad at identifying trees.  Is it blue spruce?  That is my favorite Christmas tree, and it looks like that.  If not, please correct me.

This is the view of the house from the far back of the yard.  My yard is skinny, but very long.  I have an excellent view of the backyard from my bedroom window.

This neighbor's back porch literally pops right out into my backyard.  There will be a fence going up there as soon as I can afford it for privacy, but this year there will be a 'living fence' of sunflowers and giant zinnias.  The garden space will be almost tripled from what it is currently, as long as there are no underground cables in the way, it will gl clear over to where the small tree is on the right. I might even take that tree out, because in years to come it may end up shading my garden.

This is the side of my detached garage.  There will either be trellising beans or some kind of flowers here eventually.

Another nice surprise.  A large 'wheel' in the sideyard.  It has some delicate little plant growing in it, with a larger version in the center.  I was thinking if it gets enough sun, this might be a great centerpiece for my formal herb garden.

This is my sideyard.  A lovely privacy fence blocks the patio area behind the house.  There are some perennials here already, I can't wait to see what they are.

This is the beforementioned patio area.  Right now it is filled with miscellaneous garden stuff, waiting to be dispersed throughout the yard.  I was so happy to see what was out there today.  I think there is even more potential than I thought there would be.  Now, while I am unpacking, I am dreaming of gardening and seeds outside.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

How Many Perennials Can You Fit in a Laundry Room?

Okay, there are a lot of pictures today, because pictures were highly requested.  This is 100 perennials in a moving truck with a bunch of other garage stuff.  I was so worried about the plants.  My fiance was getting really irritated with me, with all the fussing I was doing. We had to do a whole truckload of outdoor plants and other gardening things before we could even get started on the rest of the stuff. 

The poor little things. I was so worried about them being cold.  Ordinarily, I wouldn't worry about my plants outside in the Iowa winter, they are very hardy for the most part.  For those of you that don't know, I found out I was moving in early November.  I knew I would probably be moving in late winter, when I had no chance of getting anything out of the ground.  Since we were renting, I wasn't going to leave ANY of my plants there.  I wanted to bring all of them to my new house (that we bought). So quick as I could, I dug them all up and threw them in pots and bags when I ran out of pots. Most of them lived out the winter in my garage.  Since my garage was about 45 degrees, they thought it was spring and starting putting out their new growth.  I was so scared to let them go through a hard freeze and kill off all that new growth. 

After some arguing and negotiation, my fiance and I agreed to put the perennials in the laundry room.  I know that sounds totally crazy, but we don't have room in the new garage, and it is almost the same as the outside air temperature there. So they all got carried down into the large laundry room, to wait until the ground thaws and the snow melts.


The seed rack got carefully moved into the laundry room as well.  This weekend, my seed starting operation will be expanded. 


Not only did the perennials go in the laundry room, so did the houseplants!  After more arguing and deliberation, my fiance and I agreed that the houseplants would go in there for now.  Until I get the rest of house unpacked and settled, it keeps them out of the way and safe.  


The warm, inside temperatures have fooled many of my plants.  Here, a sedum and some iris are getting started for the year. When they can be moved outside, they will have a little headstart on their growth. 

No corner of the room is left unfilled. 

While I was taking pictures, I found this little friend that hitched a ride from the old house. He is perfectly welcome to live here and invite all his friends!

My beautiful dining room is still filled with boxes and mess.  I hope to get some of that cleared out this weekend, and definitely done during spring break the week after next. 

The lead glass windows and 1920s charm sold us on this house.  We love old houses. Hopefully, I will be able to post some pictures of what it looks like without all the boxes soon.  Hopefully, I can get it done soon so I can spend all my free time outside digging in my new yard.  

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