Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bonding with Nature

There is not much more a truer statement than to say I’m not a bugs & dirt girl!  I don’t camp, I don’t hunt/fish and I’m not a gardener. 

That being said, while I do not enjoy the digging in the dirt part of gardening I do like the end result so it’s a means to an end for me.  Unfortunately (for fortunately, for my neighbors who get to enjoy the flowers) my house has way too many gardens that were planted by the prior owners.  From what I’m told Mr. Johnson who lived in my house for 60 years was quite an avid gardener which was made sense given all of the mature bushes & perennials that were in the gardens.  His gardens were considered at one time to be the prettiest in the neighborhood.  Well Mr. Johnson apparently had been ill for a couple of years so when I moved in the gardens were terribly neglected and overgrown.  Let me tell you this was nothing if not daunting for the girl who had never even mowed a lawn before I moved into this house I really had no idea what to do with them.   So year one was mostly clean out.

This garden is in front of my house - right
next to my driveway.  This pic was taken
about 2 weeks before I bought the house.

This is the back part of the front garden -
taken the same day as the prior pic

This is behind my house - it's where the Peonies reside
today but this was just after I moved in and the Pachysandra
was WILD

This is my vegetable garden (pre-vegetables).
 It is just behind my garage at the back of my property.
Year two, was a continuation of the clean out and I actually started to plant some flowers.  I had perused some gardening books but frankly found most of them far beyond my level.  I don’t know or really want to know about fertilizer mixes, soil types or what the Latin name of the pretty pink flower is.  I just want to put it in the ground and see it bloom!  So with no real strategy I just headed to the plant store and bought a bunch of what I considered pretty flowers and a few veggies.  I did know enough not to buy plants with full flowers on them but to lean toward the plants with buds not yet opened and I knew to buy periennials instead of annuals so I wouldnt have to replant each year.  I also got some very helpful tips from one of my Aunts about shake & grow fertilizer & keeping leaf eating pests away.  For the most part I was quite happy with how it all turned out - the only obvious mistake I made was planting everything a bit too close together.
This is my front garden last year.  This was taken mid-Summer. 
Everything got BIGGER by Oct...

This is the back part of the front garden last year.  I had a
bunch of Iris in another garden I am planning or elimiating
so relocated them all to this spot.  So much cleaner and less
work than the massively overgrown tangle that was there before.
So this weekend was the first couple of days where we haven’t had rain and I have actually been home to get going on the gardens.  I always underestimate the amount of work it’s going to take to clean out & prep (as I do with most projects oddly enough).  Well after 2 afternoons of pulling, bagging, and digging, etc.  I have a couple of the gardens in decent shape.  It was not without making new “friends” though – in my vegetable garden apparently a patch of poison ivy thought it was a great place to start sprouting and while I was dousing it with Round Up one of my “friends” from last summer appeared, a little upset at having Round Up squirted on him….after letting me know of his displeasure he skulled away.  I’m sure he’ll be back L
Unwanted vegitation in my vegetable garden!!! 
Hopefully the Round Up will kill it so I can remove it
without developing an itchy rash..
This is my unwanted "friend" last summer...he thought
cooling off in my garage was a good idea.  I convinced
him it wasn't but now he apparently thinks the garden
is an acceptable isnt!!!!
One of my less pesky new “friends” was a mother Robin who spent most of the afternoon following me from garden to garden.  She seemed so appreciative of the loosened dirt where apparently worms were prevalent.   I couldn’t believe how close she stayed to me…didn’t seem concerned at all by my presence (must have been the Chanel 5, she must have thought I was a flower ha).  Well, last summer I had planted a couple of peonies right next to a honeysuckle bush behind my house.  I had pulled a ton of pachysandra out of the garden to make room for the Peonis and towards the end of the afternoon today was eliminating the re-sprouts when Mrs. Robin flew about a foot above my head and landed in the honeysuckle bush – scared the crap out of me!  After my heart returned to normal I looked up and she was perched on the edge of a nest feeding her young…seriously it was maybe a foot from me.  So cool!!
Peonies..I wasn't sure they were going to make it after I
planted them last summer...they appear to be doing pretty
good though and the one on the left has a bunch of buds.
Can't wait for them to bloom so I can remember what color I bought

Mrs Robin's nest that is in the honeysuckle bush
next to my Peonies....there were baby Robins in house today.
I’m not even close to finished with my spring clean-up but did get a great start this weekend!
Front garden today (before I spread the cocoa shell mulch
which smells sooooo good)....if everything blooms it
should be quite colorful in another month or so....
....and I'll have fresh tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts,
squash (acorn & butternut), pickling cucumbers and

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