Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Garden

This post will probably get pretty photo heavy.
It's a huge area.

Here's one of those bedroom window shots, so you can see how it relates to the rest of the property.
It's basically an island in the middle.

The Garden is home to the greenhouse, shed, and what was previously used as a chicken coop.
It's all one building and it needs a lotta love.  
The siding isn't finished, the shed is missing its window, there are entry points for birds and critters that need to be sealed up, and the room where the chickens were is DISGUSTING.
But, all those things will be fairly easy fixes when time allows.

This is also where the pond patio is....I'll save that for another post....and the raised beds that were here when we moved in.
A few of them need some repairs, but for the most part, they're in pretty good shape.

The majority of the fruit trees are in here, as well.
There were two apples on the house side, but we lost one last spring.
On the greenhouse side, there's a giant pear, two cherries, an Italian plum, an apple, and two figs.
There's grape vines all along that side of the driveway, also.

 When we first moved in, every plant and garden related item I brought with me got plunked down in this area.
It was the basement of the garden world.

Like other areas of the yard, you could tell that there had been beds in here at some point, but they had long been taken over by grass and weeds.
My first project was the area around the pond.
You can see in the photo above, more of my cardboard for sheet mulching.
Below, plants stashed everywhere.
 Some veggies and marigolds in a couple of the raised beds were inherited from the previous owners.

On the opposite side, across from the pond, I discovered a paver pathway, that was completely hidden by more weedy lawn.
It was a TON of work to get it uncovered, but it was definitely the score of the week.
The large area to the left of the discovered path was, yet another, weed filled disaster.
Annnnd, landscape fabric.
Good times.
I worked on that at the same time.
These were all taken on October 1st, two months after moving in.

The next day, I started in on the area to the right of the path.
More weeds, a zillion blackberry roots, and more $#@!&*% landscape fabric.

All cleaned up, compost spread, ready for plants.

Annnnd, the plants are goin' in.
This area got shade lovers from the old house, as well as plants from my free score.

I also got the large area on the left side planted that day.
I had no plan for this area, but ended up putting in anything I had large quantities of.
Variegated boxwood, euphorbia, cistus, rosemary, grasses, some sort of mystery conifer...it was a random mix, but I liked the idea of the repetition. 
And the fact that everything was free.
By the end of the day on October 2nd, everyone was in the ground and getting a drink.

Fast forward to the end of October and I was working on the other end of the garden.
More pathway cleanup and creating a new bed outside of the greenhouse.

A  couple days later, it was time for phase one in the area back by the shed.
Oh my gosh, what a nightmare.
At some point, there had been pigs back in here, so the ground was a mess.
Giant clods of rock hard dirt, covered in weeds.

This is the doorway to the chicken room.
I'll spare you the photo details of the interior.
You're welcome.

The Dad took on the job of the gigantic pear tree.
We decided to limb it up, so you could actually walk over there without getting bushwhacked.

That's as far as that project went that first year.
Skipping ahead to spring, in March, I went after the area along the road's hedgerow while The Dad and kids worked on burning all the debris from the pruned pear.

Here's that spot the previous fall.
Again, this was another area that had been planted at some point.
It was full of strawberries, as well as six kagillion cane berry shoots of some sort.
Another nightmare that I wasn't looking forward to.

 Buuuut, I dug and they burned.

Then it was time to start edging.

Once that was done, it was time to head back over to the large area I had cleaned up and planted the previous fall.
This was pretty much the weed situation in every corner last year.
Lord help me.

Slave labor.

Pretty close to being weed free.

By April, pretty much everyone was up and at 'em.

And then, at 8:30 in the morning on April 18th, the wood chips came.

Raised bed area before.

 Raised bed area two hours later.

By 12:30, I had a good start on the area back under the pear tree.

Phase two.
The plan was just to level everything out and bury all the weeds as deep as I could.
There was way too many to pull and I was outta cardboard.
It's where most of the fruit trees are, so I wanted to at least get it to a point where you could walk around without rolling your ankle.

By 5:30, I had made it to the fence.

I probably had to stop to make dinner, 'cause those are the last pics I have from that day.
The next day photos show more spread, and my new raspberry patch in the ground.

A few days later, I had started spreading compost and planting in the bed along the hedgerow.
And the magnolia is blooming!

And more wood chips, now pulling from the second load.

Beginning of May, things are happening in the raised beds.

 Shade bed is filling in and transplanted Verbascum babies are taking off.

Middle of May.

End of May.

Beginning of June.

The 4th of July.

The middle of July.

Middle of August.
This is the bed back by the magnolia.
I filled it in with dahlias and zinnias because I had them.
The cane berries that are in there are gonna need napalm to keep them at bay.
Not sure what I'll do in there this year.
I am going to move all the dahlias to the raised beds, so it'll be a blank slate again.
We shall see.

More happy raised beds.

End of August.


And because I love a good before and after......

October 2017.

September 2018.

I've got big plans for that spot.
Big. Huge. 

March 2018.
Not technically "before", since so much had been done by that first spring, but you get the idea.

September 2018.

September 2017.

September 2018.

And here we are in January.
These babies still look pretty small to me, but looking back at when they were first planted makes me realize they've grown quite a bit!

I did end up adding a few more things in here with the initial planting.
Still repetitive, though.
Echinacea and Verbena bonariensis. 
A couple more grasses that I have no clue what they are.
Alyssum seeds got sprinkled around the perimeter as a temporary aid in keeping the dirt off the paths.
I need to figure out something as edging everywhere out there, whether it be ground cover or some sort of hard material.
Sweeping bark chips off the pathways a dozen times a week is not my idea of a good time.
So there you have it.
The Garden.
I'll share the pond patio area, which includes the blueberry patch and the structure we built for that, as well as the greenhouse in my next couple posts.
Until then......


  1. You are Wonder Woman! It's looking beautiful!

    1. Ha! Or just insane. lol Thank you so much!

  2. I love how Libby Lou shows up randomly throughout the photos, what a lucky dog! (And my god... so much work!)

  3. I have garden envy! It looks so beautiful and y'all have worked so hard. Nice to have helpers.

    What's the screened in structure in the garden? Did I miss that?

    Hopefully, this winter is allowing you some time to rest and gear up for spring.


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