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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

  1. Gardening 2011: The Front Yard Update

    June 7, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    Aaaannnddd…we’re back! The rain finally stopped, the sun started shining, and Tim and I went and spent a ton of money at Lowe’s on garden supplies. (If someone knows of a decent, local nursery within 20 minutes of Louisville, please fill me in.) All the before shots of the front yard flower beds can be seen HERE.

    It took us this long to plant anything because I was so afraid a late frost would come in and kill everything. Of course, now I wonder if we waited too long. Eh, what are you gonna do?

    The other dilemma was what to plant. The front is landscaped for curb appeal. A nice lawn, a few trees, and mostly perennial shrubbery. There is a small amount of space to add some annuals and color. The dilemma was really two-sided. First, I wanted to plant as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Is it appropriate to plant vegetables in one’s front yard? Would they be successful there given the conditions? Second, this house of ours is a rental that is going on the market next spring. Since we don’t own it, I don’t want to put too much effort or expense into plants that won’t belong to us in another year. However, because it is going on the market, I also don’t want to completely neglect it.

    Ultimately, I decided to plant a combination of annuals with a couple low cost perennials that will (hopefully) flower this year. All the fruits and vegetables will be relegated to the back yard. (That post is coming later this week.)

    The first thing that needed to be done was a general spring cleaning. I trimmed away any dead looking matter, yanked out stuff that was just plain sad, and divided bulbs that were underproducing. In particular a clump of daffodils that only produced four blooms this spring actually consisted of 45 (!) bulbs. After I dug them all up, I divided them into groups of 5 and replanted them around the yard. I’ve never done that before, so hopefully they come back in the spring. Tim yanked out a nasty looking shrub that was in the front walk bed, breaking a shovel in the process. We also moved some large rocks to create a border around the lawn edge of the front bed near the garage. After that, we were ready to plant.

    Building the rock border

    At Lowe’s we wandered around looking at all the choices. Some plants were very familiar to me already. Geraniums, daisies, petunias. Others, were new to me. Fuschia, columbine, pincushion. We ended up with hydrangea, petunias, pincushion, alyssum, geraniums, marigolds, dianthus, a gerber daisy, a dahlia, and some random purple stuff.

    In addition to what we bought at Lowe’s, Olivia’s Nana Rosellen, who is a Master Gardener, sent me a box of cuttings and transplants from her garden in Illinois. She generously gave us some vinca, chives, creeping thyme, grape hyacinth bulbs, and wood hyacinth bulbs. The thyme went to the back yard, but the rest was planted throughout the beds in the front.

    The actual planting process was waaayyy more difficult than I expected. From landscape cloth to an extreme amount of rocks, it was hard work. But, on the other hand, nearly every time I put the spade in the dirt I pulled up one of these guys.

    People, worms are good for two things. Fishing and gardening. Worms are awesome and we’ve got plenty.

    So, here’s what the front beds look like now….

    The front window bed…

    Here we just did some pruning and planted the vinca that Nana Rosellen sent. The vinca will take a while to fill in, but it is already sending up new growth.

    The garage bed…

    This is where I put the gerber daisy, dahlia, alyssum, dianthus, geraniums, and some of the marigolds. The wood hyacinth bulbs are also here, but we won’t see those until next spring.

    This is also in the garage bed. Anyone know what it is?

    The front walk bed…

    From front to back, we have pincushion, a hydrangea (from Jenn!), euonymus, another hydrangea, and two Maltese Cross plants, one white and one red.

    In the hanging basket, we have petunias and the purple stuff. Purple stuff. I should be a botanist.

    There’s one other container on the front stoop, which is where we put the chives. This was a transplant in the box from Nana Rosellen and it is coming in very nicely. I hope it will still bloom this summer and I can’t wait to use the chives in some compound butter or on a baked potato. Oooh! I just read that the flowers are edible too!

    So, that’s the update on the garden in the front yard. I’ll post some pictures later this summer after everything has filled in and bloomed a bit. Hope your garden is treating you well!

  2. Gardening 2011: The Front Yard

    May 31, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    Back in my home state of Arizona, I had a garden. Hard to believe, right? Hot, arid desert with little to no rainfall. Why would anything without spines grow there?? But, to be a gardener in Arizona, you just have to adjust your thinking. Instead of growing vegetables throughout the spring and summer, you grow in every season but summer. I think it is accurate to say that Arizona, and Phoenix in particular, has two distinct growing seasons: cool and warm. The cool season starts in the fall and the warm season starts at the beginning of spring. If you water just right and amend your soil so it no longer resembles thick, heavy clay, you can have a pretty productive and lush garden.

    Here’s a picture of our garden at the beginning of the warm season (mid-March) in 2009. Along the wall are roma tomatoes in cages, then bell pepper plants, and in the empty space I planted zucchini seeds.

    And here it is again just a couple months later. The tomatoes and zucchini were so robust that they choked out the peppers. Also, there are very few garden pests in Arizona. Insects and birds are the biggest problem.

    In fact, the tomatoes were so abundant that I was able to can salsa for our wedding favors later that year.

    The zucchini was out of control as well and our freezer was packed with bags of tomatoes and zucchini. I still don’t eat much zucchini because I got so burnt out on it that summer.

    Fast forward through two years, a marriage, and a baby and we are now living in Colorado on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

    The weather here is completely different. It is still quite dry and arid, but the temperatures are obviously much lower. Here there is really just one growing season from the summer to the early fall. If you want to garden in Colorado, you’ve got from May to October. Period.

    Gardening in this climate presents its own set of challenges. Have we really had our last frost? Or is there a pesky April/May blizzard just waiting for you to put your tender transplants in the ground? What will grow here? What is more trouble than it’s worth? Oh, and I can’t forget to figure in the shade provided by the leaves that haven’t come out yet when planning our garden. Also, Colorado has squirrels, birds, insects, and who knows what else that will devour the bounty of your garden before you even noticed that it is ripe for the plucking.

    The best part of moving into a new house in the fall is that you often have no idea what is already planted in the beds. Spring can bring some pleasant surprises.

    So, here’s what I’m working with in the front yard. A flower bed under the front window. We already have a flowering cherry and some small bushes there.

    A bed along the garage with some more shrubbery.

    And a small plot at the end of our walkway.

    Now for planning…What should I grow? Do I put veggies in the front or keep the front decorative with flowers and shrubbery? I’ll update later this week with what I’ve done in the garden. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you are growing in your garden.

  3. Weekend Reading

    April 29, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    If you like film and if you like poster art, you might like this site.

    This is the mobile app I’m using to track my runs during my current 30 Day Challenge.

    A heartbreaking birth story with a happy ending.

    Wish I had woken up early this morning to make these in honor of the Royal Wedding.

    Help the victims of this weeks tornadoes HERE.

    A new (to me) blog from a fellow Coloradan. Her last three recipes involved beer, chocolate and Old Bay. What’s not to like, right?

    I’m hoping that this Sunday will bring our last snow of the season. I’m dying to get our garden going. Until then I’ll be reading up here on Colorado gardening.

  4. Weekend Reading-Earth Day Edition

    April 22, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    Take your reusable mug to Starbucks today and get a free coffee or tea! Find more freebies HERE.

    The National Parks are free through the weekend. Get out there and enjoy the Earth!

    I love these reusable shopping bags.

    Recipe for non-toxic homemade glass cleaner with stuff you probably already have in the house.

    Tim blew out an elbow in one of his work shirts last week. I think one of my nephews needs this. Repurpose, people!

    Find your local farmers’ market and get local, fresh produce while reducing the carbon footprint of the food you consume.

    Better yet, plant your own vegetable garden. It is Spring after all.

  5. Weekend Reading

    March 18, 2011 by frecklesandsunshine

    Eeeeek! Zombies!

    This idea might bring a higher quality teacher to the classroom.

    Do I really have to wait until Olivia is older to start building leprechaun traps?

    Between our 60+ degree temperatures and this book, I have a serious case of garden fever.

    A friend has started a new blog which chronicles her role in her husband’s journey to become an Ironman athlete. She’s hilarious in person, so I can’t wait to read her perspective on this adventure.

    My weekend project. Wish me luck.

    I’m a new convert to TED. This is one of my favorite videos.

    Times are tight for most of us, but if you think you can’t help Japan, think again.

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