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Spring is here...more than officially!

Published by Alde under on 8:43 PM

Spring has officially sprung!

It's more than two weeks past the official date of Spring and I'm finally starting to believe that spring is here, possibly to stay. This week we've had wonderful weather, mostly in the 60's to the 80's. We've not seen much in the way of rain, and the ground has dried out from our long stint of downpours. I'm amazed at how much life has magically appeared overnight. From flowers to leafing trees, bunnies in the backyard to these cute baby robins in the tree in our front yard.

I've now officially mowed the grass twice this year. Grass is a somewhat relative term, as this year I feel like I'm mowing more dandelions than grass. I can't even begin how to comprehend how quickly dandelion flowers grow. I mow the yard and overnight the flowers grow a foot. I don't know what I'm going to do about the flowers. I'd much rather us something other than nasty chemicals to try and get rid of some of the weeds, but I'm not as versed on organic herbicides. I saw something the other day on some sort of corn feed pellets that are supposed to be good for crab-grass and other broad-leaf items, but I haven't found a local supplier in my area.

I finally have most of the rose bed that I started on over a month ago together. It turns out my best friend to get the trellis to stay put was concrete. I thought that our nasty clay soil would be strong enough to hold it up, but as it turns out clay turns extra soupy when wet, so every time it would rain, the wall would fall down a bit.

I'm really digging the new bed. Its lopsided right now because the bushes along the back aren't the same size. i figure if I give it about a year, they will balance out. The bed currently has the following plants:

Compact Burning Bush - Euonymus alatus 'Compacus'

Pixwell Gooseberry - Gooseberry 'Pixwell'
Gardenia Azalea - Rhododendron indicum

I also have two rose bushes planted in the open areas. I don't know what kind they are yet. I'll have to wait until later this summer to find out their color or type. it will be like having Christmas in July!

Meanwhile we have raspberry bushes setting in the kitchen that are sprouting, a trillion (ok, more like 50) strawberry plants that still need to be put in the ground, and a whole slew of new trees that came in from the Arbor Day foundation that need to get in the ground, along with the plum tree.

I need a vacation so I can get caught up!!!

New Layout

Published by Alde under on 8:35 PM
Woo! I really like this new layout. I think it brings out the real color in the pictures. Hope everyone else likes it as well.

Soggy Update

Published by Alde under on 4:16 PM
Its been a little soggy on the gardening front here. We've received rain almost every day for the last week or more, save yesterday and today. Though it wasn't raining, the ground was still quite soggy from everything that we already had.

My rose bed that I started on a few weeks ago is coming together a bit better now. I mixed some organic matter in with our nasty clay soil to help the drainage before I set out the new roses. I transplanted a bush from next to our house out in the bed, and added in the gooseberry bush. Unfortunately the screen that I had put in the back of the bed hasn't withstood the wind. I'm going to have to put in cement to get it to stay in place. I'll have to get that done later this summer.

I still need another larger bush for the bed, and another compact holly to even things out. From there Its just a matter of mulch and other ground cover. I'm hoping that I can have it all put together soon, and I'll get pictures posted. Until then, here are some other blooming goodies from the yard.

Published by Alde under on 7:08 PM

I started this bed in the yard on Saturday, and I'm still nowhere done with it. Our ground is a wonderful mix of clay and shale, making it very difficult to dig any depth at all. You can still see a lot of the piles of rocks around the edges of the bed where I would throw them in frustration.

The bed is almost done now, just a bit more tilling and mixing of dirt and organic material, and then it will be time to plant the flowers. I'm starting in this bed with the roses that were shipped from family via my mom. I don't really know what varieties or colors they may be just yet, but the surprise is part of the fun of it. I'm also going to put in the gooseberry bush that we bought, as the soil conditions are pretty similar.

Its going to rain (or its supposed to rain) here for the next few days. I doubt I'm going to get much yard work done, unless I want to just go out and stand in the downpour. (This actually sounds like fun, I just may have to do it!)

Ostara Weekend

Published by Alde under on 5:47 PM
I couldn't have asked for a better way to start spring.

I started the first project in the backyard this weekend, a small bed in which I'm going to plant roses that were sent from my family, move some bushes around that were mis-placed in the yard, and the gooseberry we ordered from Gurney's. It sounds sad to say that I worked two full days out in the yard this weekend and all I was able to manage was removing one honeysuckle bush, and tearing out one six by four foot area for a rose bed.

The honeysuckle bush by its self was enough to fill up our composting trash bin. I'm thinking I'm going to have to find a different way to get rid of all of the bushes in the back yard that I want to cut out. All of the bushes are very old so the trunks are very thick and they're full of the sucker limbs. It will probably take all summer to get that back treeline done, but I'm bound and determined to get it all done, and have it the way we want it to look.

Tomorrow I go back to the workweek grind. I'll probably finish planting the patch that I built tomorrow after work, and then I have to get started building the garden boxes that will be my next weekend project. I have three 3-foot square boxes that I will be adding to the back yard. One will be our strawberry patch, the other a raspberry patch, and the third one will be for regular veggies and plants. I'll probably be adding quite a few more of these boxes around the yard, but for now I figure 3 is a big enough project.

I'll try and post pictures tomorrow if I'm not completely wiped out.

The Yard

Published by Alde under on 7:03 PM

This is what i am working with. Many thanks to my wife for merging all of the pictures together so that I have a comprehensive view of what the backyard looks like before all of the changes really start. its pretty boring and barren. The most important things for me about the backyard:
  • Keep a lot of the treeline on the right hand side, but clear out a lot of the honeysuckle that grows around it.
  • Create a barrier along the back fencerow with some type of evergreen
  • Make raised beds for the garden along the neighbor's fencerow
  • Bring more color, interest and wildlife into the yard
Somehow, I've got to get all of this started by the weekend. I've got plants on top of plants on top of plants now, and nowhere to really put them. My last shipment of items came today from my original order in February. I also got the added surprise of roses to plant in the yard from family. I'm not sure what kind they are yet, but I'm so excited to get them out in the yard and hopefully see them bloom this summer.

All Hail Spring!

Published by Alde under on 6:09 PM

Its getting close to Spring; I can feel it in my bones! I can't wait to be back outside digging in the dirt and watching all of the plants and trees come into bloom. I've got quite a project ahead of me to transform our backyard from its current shabby state into more of a place that the wife and I can enjoy on a regular basis.

I've got plenty of ideas in my head for what I would like to be able to do. It's all just a matter of time, and proper planning. I want to use this blog to share my transformation (metamorphosis if you will), and let it serve as a history of the changes that I have made. I've already got some things ordered for the garden, and I've done a few things already, but overall, its going to be a long road of changes.

I am most excited about it being spring again. Winter is such a logn and dreary season. With a bland garden and backyard, there's really nothing much to watch. It's a land of sticks and brown grass right now. I want to incorporate evergreens, and things to feed wildlife in winter. That way the yard is always busy and welcoming.