Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day and Backyard Update

Okay. A quick update on the backyard situation. TM and I have done quite a bit of work out there, he working on the base for his new shed (a.k.a. the "Leg Lamp", think of the father in the movie A Christmas Story), and I working on moving the plants around the yard. Note to self: "Moving a few plants really means moving a lot of plants because you have to make them work together." Dang!!! Wish I had thought of that earlier. Needless to say my project has stalled a few times trying to come up with a configuration that will work, (now here's the hard part) without purchasing new plants. Well, I have managed to do just that.

In conclusion, I moved three plants from the front yard to the backyard. I move three plants from the backyard, where they weren't doing well, to the front yard. I moved 3 plants from the backyard to the side yard, which entailed repositioning a few of the plants in the side yard to accommodate the plants from the backyard. I moved plants from the top of the hill to the bottom of the hill. Moved a few plants from the back corner bed to the new bed, and lastly moved a few plants from another bed to the new bed as well. Oh, almost forgot. I had two bare root Hostas that I had plopped in a couple of pots last year and never got around to replanting. Don't you love Hostas, it's almost impossible to kill them.

Remember? This is where we started.
In front of my beloved rock pile.
The back corner bed, in the beginning.
After the edging was moved, but not the plants.
Now some plants have been moved.
Just a wider angle of the same plants. I didn't like it.
Much better!! Moved more plants.
It helps that the plants have grown a little.
Looking down the hill. Don't mind the "stuff", clean up time is near and then comes the mulch.
So there you have it. A pretty good idea of how work is coming along in the back yard. It's not rocket science, but it sure is amazing when the plants start to take off for the season. All of the plants are perennials, so they just keep coming back. This is the first year that I have lost a plant, a Cimicifugas ramosa 'Pink Spike', it's a bugbane. 

Bugbane: Pink Spike lost one during the winter.

Goodbye, old friend. Okay, it was really kind of a new friend, it's only been  with me for 2 years, this being its second spring. It was transplanted last year, and never looked very well at all. However, one (pictured above) came up and the other didn't. Now there is a bare spot that needs a plant. Oh.....I hate shopping for new plants. Just kidding, I could spend an entire day in a nursery. The smell inside of greenhouses is so enticing this time of year. 

One last note on plants. I have fallen in love, yet again. There is plant out there that is calling my name, just begging to come live in my yard. One I have never seen before, until today. Yes, as I sat here researching some of my plants, to make sure they are being properly cared for, I came across a link for Hostas to buy or dream about.....and there it was, like a beautiful, gorgeous, new friend to welcome into the garden. Cue the bright lights and the chorus singing, "aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh". It's a White Feather Hosta, very unique. When they grow in the spring, get this, they grow white. I KNOW!!!!!! White leaves, then they get green streaks and slowly turn green during the growing season. How cool is that for a shade garden?!!!! Already talked to TM about ordering this one, as I am trying very hard to be frugal and use any plants that we already have and just dividing them. Again, I just can't turn this one down, it's a beauty, and would bring such good color to the garden. LOVE IT!!!!! 

Go play in the dirt!!! And again, HAPPY EARTH DAY!!!! Take care of the earth.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dirt & Taxes

Death & Taxes? Ohhh. I prefer Dirt & Taxes. Finishing our taxes should be my first priority today, but I really want to go outside and play in the dirt, a.k.a. garden(ing). The sun is shining, the wind isn't trying to blow the birds out of trees as it has the past few days, and I really, really want to get outside and tend to the newly moved plants. They need me....okay so not truly need me, but water would be nice. Honestly, I like my plants to be self sufficient, for the most part. They have to be hardy enough to not need much care, because...on occasion, I can be a non-involved grounds keeper in the yard. In the summer, sometimes we just aren't around. Luckily our backyard is shady and the plants fare well with the cooler temps and lack of direct sunlight. This is a blessing and a curse. Good for the shade plants, bad for the vegetable garden.

Start  of the Vegetable Garden 2011

There is one little part of the yard that gets morning and mostly afternoon sun, that's where the vegetable garden is situated. We keep trying every year, and one of these times we will find veggies that love that particular growing environment. If you have any suggestions, that would be marvelous!!!!! Always open to new ideas. 

Vegetable garden 2011. Early in the season. Dappled morning sun.

Bush beans in the vegetable garden 2011. 

For now, we're going with bush beans, had luck with these 2 years in a row. A cherry tomato plant, for its small size and hopefully plentiful fruit. We have always grown tomato plants, but they get huge, one year at least 6 ft. Great!! Large tomato plants, what's wrong with that? We got fruit late in the season, and most of it never got a chance to even get a hint of red. Late, unripened tomatoes, so much for the salsa I wanted to make. But hey!! We gave it a good try, and have continued to do so, until this year. Going to try a potato bin in a back corner of the garden, and other than that, we don't know. I usually grow herbs in pots, and always like the way it looks on the deck, soooooooo.....maybe I'll just keep them in pots.
Oregano, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. 2011

White pots in the forefront, filled with herbs, 2011.

Basil, 2011. Ummmm. I can already smell it. Can you? Heady.

Okay, so here it is, cherry tomato plant (1 or 2), bush beans, and a smallish potato bin. It sounds a little sparse. (Note to self: Your garden sounds lame this year. Come up with a new plan.) Hey, but on the bright side, since most of the herbs are perennials they have already started growing in their pots. That's not a bad thing. Of course I'll need to either buy basil plants while they are small, or start them from seed (I have never had any luck starting basil from seed).  What do ya think? Hmmmm, tough decision.

Unfortunately, I have not taken any pictures of the herb pots this year, but soon. The need to finish my taxes and send them in has won out over my desire to go outside and play in the dirt. Therefore, the herb pots and newly moved plants will have to wait for me until this evening, or later this afternoon.....or tomorrow. We'll see. Procrastinating is never a good idea. The taxes have been "done" for weeks, I just want to go back through them another 15 times to make sure that I've looked at everything again for the 1000th time. Now I feel a little pressured to get them through cyberspace to the IRS, considering the date, I should feel a lot pressured. This is where us big girls put aside our wants and do what needs to be done first......after the laundry is finished.

Go play in the dirt!!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Happy Easter?

Easter eggs anyone?

Of course Easter is a happy time!!!!! What kind of a fluffy, bunny, hatin' mother do you think I am? Bunnies are cute as can be, as long as their aren't in my back yard eating my plants. Enough said. Actually it's not a question as to the happiness of the day, as opposed to the question that Easter is here (and has now passed). Wow! Where did the time go? This year is racing along, I feel like I should start preparing for the upcoming winter months and start Christmas shopping, just so it can be a very organized Holiday Season. Wait, didn't we just get finished with that whole juggling act? Oh right, let's slow down and enjoy the upcoming nice weather, starting with the beautiful weather we had on Easter. It was a beautiful spring day, slightly breezy with lots of sunshine.

We had family in town on Easter, what a joy it was to see everyone. My parents, a few aunts from out of town, my cousin, my sister, nephews, my children and I had a great time, cooking and feeding the masses. It really was a great time. I can't wait to do it again sometime in the near future. Yes, most of the day was spent cooking, very leisurely, as most of the prep work was done the day before, so it was just a matter of putting things in the over at the correct time and the actually cooking. This little trick of organizing my time really helped keep the day running smooth and hassle free.

What have I been up to? 

You know? I really have been busy since the beginning of the year. I have finished a few projects, started some projects, and then there is the whole family thing. I love my family. No, I  am not being facetious. Although when a mother says that statement, it can be taken that way sometimes. You can usually tell by the droll tone, the rolling of the eyes, or the shear sound of exasperation in her voice. In this particular case (or should I say at this particular moment) I mean it purely, endearingly. 

TM (that's my stands for the The in a super in "That's right. Who's The Man? Yep, I'm The Man!") Let's move on, shall we? He really is a wonderful man. I'm a lucky girl!! Alas, yes, let's move on. Okay, so TM and I have been doing a lot of yard work. We had that wonderful stretch of above average temperatures, so we got started early. TM is finally getting a new shed that he has been thinking about for a couple of years, so we had to make space for it. This involved moving some of the perennials around in the back yard. At the same time, there is an area where the grass won't grow. My thought is the soil is too acidic due to pine needles, as it is at the bottom of a hill, under an evergreen and it doesn't get enough sunlight. Just a bad spot for growing grass. I think the shade plants will love it. We moved the edging in this area and extended the planting bed, losing a little yard area.

Back corner of the yard. Before work commenced.

Under the evergreen tree looking down the hill.

Edging pulled out of the ground. Work has begun.

Looking at the rock pile. Note the lack of grass.

We have completed more work and it's almost done, for now, until the plants really start to grow. Inevitably I won't like the way a few plants are positioned, and they will be moved. It happens every time I move the plants. Oh well, that's part of the fun of gardening. You get to keep playing in the dirt!!!!! There you have it.....go play in the dirt.