Garden Log, Week of 4/19

Willow Bed

The first batch of Willow arrived! Ten cuttings of #187. I stored the cuttings in the coldest part of the fridge as directed and during the week purchased the black plastic landscape fabric that was recommended. Friday I laid it down and pinned it, and got the cuttings into the ground and deep watered. I can’t tell you how excited I am that this project is actually happening!

The other four varieties (20 more cuttings) should be arriving soon as well.

Southeast Garden Bed

Last weekend I finally finished the wattle weave edging, and late this week I got another batch of 20 bags of organic peat for fill. Oh and about that – I have since learned that peat use is discouraged: while it is an organic solution, it’s not the most “earth friendly” option due to the environmental impact of harvesting.



Now that I know better, I will try to do better, and not beat myself up to badly about what’s already been done.

Next steps for the bed involve lining the inside wall with a breathable landscape fabric to help hold the soil in during watering and rain periods. Once in place, I’ll add more back fill to press the fabric against the weave and better level the fill that’s in the bed.

Upper North Yard

At long last, the new propane tank was installed on Saturday, which means another trench was dug across the space, but now that it’s in, we can start working to re-level the ground and throw down seed to get back to a green carpet. I’m thinking of a a white clover mix – softer on the feet, stays on the shorter side, and helps the bees.

This space is becoming a bit of a utility area; some ideas in mind are adding a dedicated composting station, creating some kind of blinder for the propane tank, and possibly set up a potter’s bench on the deck up against the shed. The deck becomes a full-shade area once the trees fill in with leaves, so a pop-up greenhouse wouldn’t be a good fit. I thought I liked the idea of some kind of seating in the area, but the more I think on it I’m leaning towards keeping it open… (I know that will make my husband happy!) On another note: I REALLY want to replace that chain-link gate and the random wood fence partition abutting the house….

Lower North Yard

Since the fire pit’s relocation, the Adirondack chairs have also migrated to join it.

Before things grow lush for the season, I continue to search for, find, and remove debris left behind by the previous homeowners (this weekend may be my last window of opportunity until fall when everything dies back). This week’s haul included large, thick chunks of glass, plastic bag scraps, aluminum cans, miscellaneous plastic pieces, some kind of big plastic lid, more concrete cinder blocks and pieces, and an old tire. While it’s disappointing to keep finding this shit, it IS really satisfying to get it dislodged and cleared out.

I’ve also had an eye for a path to surround the berry patch, so I started raking, weeding, and clearing the paths a bit at a time, using the random cement blocks my husband and I found while cleaning the basement as stepping pavers. At some point I’ll make it a little more polished and put measures in place to prevent or slow overgrowth, but for now I’m working on creating its direction and doing the clear out. It’s cool to see my vision start to take shape! I’m also contemplating putting in some kind of visual interest in the spot where the tire was pulled. Initially I thought another birdbath, but that may not be a sound idea given the area is already mosquito prone (plus it would be labor intensive to keep the water fresh and the basin clean – not likely to be kept up). Maybe some kind of bird feeder or birdhouse on stilt or something… Maybe a small statue? Will continue to ponder; no rush.

Various Things

Remember those tiny white flowers I spotted a few weeks ago and thought were pretty? Turned out to be a super invasive weed. As they grew more to where I could recognize what they really were, I knew I had to evict them from the pine tree bed before the seeds started popping off so I can keep the space clear for the eventual addition of more bluebells and snowdrops. I wound up filling a full wheelbarrow’s worth just from weeding that that one area!

I also took time to clean up, fertilize , and mulch around the two rose plants and the Clematis. I need to refresh my memory on when/how to take cuttings from the Clematis so I can get new shoots growing on the opposite side of the arch.

In the backyard, not having yet mowed gave me a chance to spy and identify some flowering plants developing in random spots (likely long-forgotten squirrel treasures). There was a very lovely pair of deep pink tulips coming to bloom that I snipped – one for inside, and one given to a friend. Rather than having the rest of the plants sacrificed to the mower (the grass there is getting a bit too tall and reaching a desperate need for a haircut), or risk being trampled by the dog, I decided to treat the situation like a “U-Pick” garden center and dug up a free assortment of daffodils and tulips, and relocated them to the northeast garden bed.

Some of them have taken well, others I don’t think will make it… While replanting them, I noticed I hadn’t quite dug deep enough for some and wound up cutting off some the bulbs. Well, shitskipitski. I planted them anyway, and at least now I have a good visual and an idea for what I’d like to see along the border. Some of the plants ARE doing well, though, and some yellow tulips look like they just might make it to bloom.

The effort does leave behind ankle-bending pock marks in the back yard that need to be filled. (The space is already quite an enemy to ankles anyway with it’s very uneven terrain, steep slopes and bulges of crab grass.)

To end on a happy note, the recently re-discovered Peony sprouts are going strong, and look SO MUCH MORE VIBRANT, complete with more prongs coming up from the ground this time around versus the first time they were planted a couple years ago in their original location. I’m excited to see how much growth takes place over the course of the season.

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