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And now part 2 of the series, featuring the “triangle garden.” This was a sad little patch of grass that we finally just made into more garden. It made sense. Except it’s had about a million different versions! I actually found several more inbetweener versions after getting all these pics. I think I am happy with it now, but here’s all the changes just since last year…

may 2009

After first planting in May 2009

later in May

later in May 2009

Later still in May 2009

Later still in May 2009

End of 2009

before

This year before moving

It was OK, but the daylilies had gotten huge and were crowding stuff, and it didn’t look cohesive. I like the cottage garden look elsewhere, but I really need some “white space” in my garden, and I like to have like things grouped together.

So I moved ALL the dianthus to one spot (almost done blooming) I took out 2 daylilies and moved them to another garden. I moved all the broadleaf coreopsis together (they look droopy in the pic – it was hot!) and moved all the daylilies to a nicer configuration together. The threadleaf coreopsis (moonbeam, etc) now line the back of the bed, where they should spread to form a nice little line of clumps back there. I also moved a white peony that has never bloomed from the side garden to beside my other peony that blooms, but not a lot (anything I can do t help that?). I chopped all the blooms of the stuff I moved. It hurts, but helps them recover from the move better. And they should all rebloom anyway.

after

After the move. yay white space!

Where the did the daylilies go? To the spot those spirea from a few posts back were in (which will be in my aunt’s garden soon. My uncle just picked them up!). Looks much nicer, and now I’ll actually be able to see the stuff behind where the bushes were (I need to take a panorama shot of this area. Or the whole garden, actually.)

side garden

side garden May 2010

And just for kicks, here’s a pic of the old veggie garden (at the left end of the side garden) and the raised beds. (See the side veggie garden last year here.) I really need to move all the cars one day so I can get a head-on shot of the raised beds.

side veggie garden May 2010

side veggie garden May 2010


raised beds

Please ignore the weight bench pieces that were picked up by FIL later that afternoon.

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I am always moving plants. It took several moves over a couple years, but I think I am finally satisfied with the layout of the front garden.

There is a small (still growing!) yellow and gold euonymous in the center of each garden, with daylilies clumped on either side. Several gaillardia are in the front, and helenium and rudbeckia are scattered throughout the back. There’s carnation-type dianthus at either end. It’s certainly come a long way through the years. Annuals go on either side of the steps (pansies are still in and need to be replaced with marigolds). There is also a jessamine on a cone-shaped trellis (what are those called?) on the left corner, butting up into the triangle garden.

Those evergreens in the pots are what used to be planted on either side of the doorway. All the shrubs in the first photo are now in the “side garden,” along with 2 azaleas (now in pots in front of one of the raised beds) that were so small when we moved in that I thought they might be weeds!

May 2007

This is what it looked like in May 2007 when we moved in. Ick!


May 2008

In May 2008, things were starting to take shape. But I had no idea how big those daylilies would get!


May 2009

May 2009, just after everything was moved to its current configuration.


May 2010

Today, May 2010

What do you think? Improvement? (Apologies for the shadows in the last pic. Meant to go take another, then got distracted!) Later this week, see my indecisiveness with the triangle garden. It’s so bad it’s good.

So when I bought these when I moved in, I thought it was a “plant” and not a “bush.” Live, learn, etc.

I prune them pretty heavily throughout the year, and though they do bloom most of the year (pink blooms), I’m just not that crazy about them. And they’re getting huge despite trimming. And they are covering up the shrubs I DO like – the wiegela that was in front of the house (planted waaaay too close to the house) when we moved in, that I thought I DIDN’T like so I gave a bunch of it away. Again, live learn etc. Oh well.

So anyway, I need to move these suckers. I am thinking I’m going to dig them up and plant them to the left perpendicular of the old veggie garden, bordering the last bit of driveway with garden and hopefully stopping some weed encroachment in that area. I feel like they’re going to be a biotch to dig up, though. And they’ll need big holes for replanting. There are 3 of them.

What will I plant where they were? I have decided there are TOO MANY DAYLILIES in the triangle garden, and the coreopsis there are planted too close to the house. And I might want to add one euonymous there to carry around the theme from the front of the house. So I can plant some of the daylilies I will be moving where the spireas were. They’ll be very happy there, since there are other daylilies in that garden as well.

Things I want/need to blog about…I think this makes it official that I have to, right?

That’s a lot of posts. Hold me to it, people!!

I was going to post a bunch of pics of the new raised beds, then I realized it’s time for bloom day. What with all the work on the veggie beds, I haven’t been taking many pics of blooms. The candy-striped creeping phlox is blooming, the pansies are blooming again, the primrose pictured in last week’s Wordless Wednesday, and there is one crocus that has bloomed so far. I don’t even have a good pic of that, but one is below (it kinda got smushed with all the rain the past few days, too). Still waiting on daffodils and tulips.
crocus

And now…the raised beds! Hubby did most of the work while I was at work last week, and he even took pics. Here are the specs:
-2×10 boards of pressure treated lumber (we did our research – it’s safe.)
-Just to be extra safe, we lined each one with heavy plastic on the inside
-4 beds that are each 8ftx4ft
-paths in between will be 2ft wide with a bit of wiggle room – we’ll put stepping stones and some gravel in there

before

Before....


(See BEFORE from another view here.)

...2 sides built....

one built!

...moving along...

...wrapping with plastic...

While hubby was digging the rest of the holes (we had to re-level everything etc – we are feeling super old and sore right now), I decided to rake up the “side garden.” At first I was just going to toss the leaves into the woods (our composter was full), but then I thought hey, they’re already partially rotted. Why don’t I toss them into the bottom of the raised beds to add a little something before we get the dirt and compost? So I did. Brilliant!

tadaa!

Now all we have to do is schedule the topsoil and compost delivery (we thought we could pick it up, but the trailer we were going to borrow isn’t nearly big enough), buy rocks and stepping stones for the paths, and PLANT! Should be able to get all that done in the next week or two. One of these beds is probably about the same size as my old/other veggie garden (which I will maybe use for herbs now? Undecided…)- so I’m getting a LOT more space!

And later on, we took apart the composter and emptied it and I put that compost on top of the old veggie garden (didn’t take any pics). It was mostly potting soil, and I need to break things up smaller when putting them in from now on (I made a pile off to the side that I’ll use for larger stuff). But there is some other goodness in there – partially broken down eggshells, and I couldn’t see hardly any identifiable pieces of food, and lots when in over the summer so that means it all broke down. This year I vow to be better at composting!

#wordlesswednesday

It’s the first day of spring for gardeners according to my almanac (see end of post). What better time to post snow pics from the weekend? Seriously weathermen – if it’s going to snow 10 inches, tell us that. We’re totally not prepared when you say we’ll maaaaaybe get 3 or 4, if that. Thanks, guys.

Here are some pics from the snow on Saturday, 1/30/2010. (PS – Please say twenty-ten.)

First of all, yes I did make a snowman/pile. So let’s just get that awesomeness out of the way. (I had a scarf prepared, but he has no neck so that didn’t work.) Doesn’t the song go “two popcorn tree eyes, a fingerling sweet potato nose, and a leaf mouth”? No?

snowman

snowmanish

That’s what it looked like when we got up. As you can see, it was still snowing hard then. It wouldn’t stop until well into the night.

snow - 10AMish

Not having anticipated this much snow, I had to feed the birds (I added some on the deck as well, which was buried in a few minutes. I dug it out later that night again), get out the snow shovels, and finally screw on the temporary gutter downspout (since the rain barrel is out for the winter, and the temp one keeps falling off without a screw). I dropped a screw somewhere in all that snow. We’ll see if I ever find it.

mid-afternoon

The road is somewhere underneath there. It got better later on, but it was snowing so hard the plows just couldn’t stay ahead of it. And again, no one was prepared for this much.

By the night, the snow was deep enough to have totally met up with and covered that front stoop. This was in the afternoon – lord all these pics look dreary! But it wasn’t sunny because it was snowing so damn hard!

This is the next day after shoveling the driveway. Never thought those 2 snow shovels from my mom for xmas a few years ago would come in so much handy. Of course a snow machine would have been an even better gift…

Just for kicks, here’s a (high quality!) sketch of the veggie garden areas. The blue is all driveway/parking. We made the garden on the left when we moved in, and the area towards the front is what I have been using as my veggie garden. This year, we are also going to make a garden all along the back of the driveway (raised beds, tiered, probably). Most of this will be reserved for veggies, with the corner closest to the existing side garden perennials/shrubs. While we have almost an acre, our lot is traingle shaped. So most of our land is in the front yard up a hill, or to the right of the house (facing it). We want to put up a fence eventually – the part on the right looks like it belongs to the neighbors, but it doesn’t. That area would be PERFECT for growing veggies (great light conditions, nice open space), except that’s where all of the underground lines to us and the neighbors run. Though that is where, eventually, we will add an addition to the end of the house (since we’ll have to stay here longer than we’ll fit here with kids – stupid housing market). But anyway – I’ll be like quadrupling my space for edibles gardening, hence the big list o’ seeds and stuff in the previous few posts.

Me, looking *just stunning!* in my new, very warm winter coat (with a (detachable) hood! yay!). And I assure you that is not a booger, it is a falling snowflake. Also my hair is the same colors as whatever kind of faux fur that is supposed to be. Interesting.

Ever had snow cream? I hadn’t had it since I was a kid, and it’s still yummy. Mix together some milk (sweetened, condensed if you have it), sugar, and a little vanilla. Take a scoop of snow ans slowly stir in the mixture. Enjoy! You can jazz it up with nutmeg and stuff, but the above is good enough for me. Tastes like a perfect consistency vanilla sno-cone.

snow cream

snow cream

This has to go into the books as one of the snowiest winters in Southern Maryland in a loooooong time. And I’m scared – last year we got a big snow in March, so there’s still plenty of time for more snow! As long as I get a work snow day out of it, it’s cool. If I don’t though, then it’s extra annoying.

Herb AlmanacFEBRUARY 1: St. Brigid/Brigit’s Day. Also the first day of Spring in the gardener’s year. [BRING IT ON!]

FEBRUARY 2: [FYI since I doubt I’ll post tomorrow] Candlemas Day

Just a quick post with a bunch of random thoughts. Because I am currently stuck inside and there are at least 10 inches of snow outside. Driving home yesterday they said maybe, just as far south as me, we miiiight get 3 or 4 inches. Maybe.

It’s been snowing (hard!) since 6AM and is supposed to continue through the night. Good job weathermen!

So today I decided to go through all my seeds and start organizing things. I have few more coming (sharing with @betweenthelimes!), but mostly I have all I’ll get. I’ll buy a few standard hybrid tomatoes (Better Boy always does well) and peppers from the Amish to get some earlier fruit. Plus annual flowers. But on veggie seeds and herbs, I’m all set and just have to figure out layout.

2010 seeds

2010 seeds

(Click that to see it bigger.) So I made a spreadsheet. Looking at last year’s posts from March (use the archives link – lower left), I can see that I started right about at the right time last year. We’re usually frost-free before May 1, that’s a pretty darn safe date. And there are a couple local flower sales I hit up every year that are right around then, so I do my major planting (annuals, etc) after then anyway. If I remember, I want to put the date of first flower or fruit on the spreadsheet too, for future reference. Maybe keep it ongoing from year to year?

I’ll be starting a lot more stuff outside this year, knowing that some things just don’t really benefit from an early start and some do well started in the ground without having to be moved. So the aim is to get the raised beds that will go behind the driveway done by early April (to allow for sowing stuff outside), and also turn the current veggie garden into a small raised bed (possibly for herbs?). I’ll have to figure out the layout of the stuff IN the gardens at some point, too.

One good thing I happened to think of today while thinking of layout is that between bean trellises and tomatoes, the garden will have some height that will give the backyard some privacy from the road. We live on a back road, but it’s a rather busy one, and because our house is down a hill I often feel like I’m sort of on display when I’m in the yard (as evidenced by horn-honks who appreciate my shorts – ugh). So that’s a plus.

I’ve also decided that I want a stone garden Buddha. Not sure if I want fat Buddha or young Buddha though. There is a local stone guy that I’ll have to go to to check it out. I pass by there every day to and from work, and he’s out there with molds and pouring concrete into the drum. He supplies to other local places I think, but also sells a lot from his shop. So I think I need a Buddha from him.

Hubby and I bought a little greenhouse shelf thing (looks like this) from Lowe’s last night. It has four 3ft shelves in it. My plan is to get some fluorescent lights to hang from each level (hubby is in charge of that – having probs finding them in the right size-ish and for the right price-ish) and attach it to a timer in the shed. If I need to/can, I can also use it outside with the cover. I saved a lot of things to start seeds in from last year, plus I have a bunch of peat pots. I’ll probably go to the dollar store and get some metal plans or litter boxes or something to catch water (since there will be lights under each tier) and then put a bit of sand or rocks in those under the actual plants (I’ve heard this helps with them not soaking up too much water and keeping them moist still). I’ll probably also get a fan for outside to move them around a bit and keep them strong, and attach that to the timer as well.

I will most likely START the seeds inside on top of the fridge (where I grew them totally last year). It’ll be much warmer there both because it’s inside and on top of the fridge (tends to be warm up there), so it’ll be warm enough for germination and then I can move them outside once they get a bit bigger. I think there will be room to do that with the cycle of when things need to start, since some are 6-8, some are 4-6, and some are less.

I’ll add the Herbal Almanac stuff later (I’m in another room typing because we have a space heater in here so it’s warmer) and maybe a picture of our (again) snow-covered house and the greenhouse and stuff. Though it’s much more snow-covered now!

[…Later that night…]

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 29: Keep a pot of catnip in the windowsill for the house cat in the winter. The adage is “If you set it, the cats will get it/If you sow, the cats won’t know.” [My cats – ok, mostly just Alice – get too crazy for catnip all the time. I do grow it in the summer though and have some dried.]

JANUARY 30: To ward off nightmares from the long winter nights, try aniseed, licorice, and garlic. [um ew.]

seed list - 2010

So that’s the list of the stuff I want to order this year (click for a bigger view). A lot of varieties. Some stuff will go in pots, some in the old veggie garden, some in the yet-to-be-created one. And I’ll definitely have some seeds to share, plants to give away, and/or seeds to save.

I did get some stuff already. It snowed last night and this AM (about 2-3 inches or so), and I bought seeds on my way home from work from a local nursery chain that I knew sells Botanical Interests seeds. They didn’t have the rainbow cherry tomatoes or the lime basil, so I’ll have to order those online or look for them somewhere else. Here’s what I bought today:
– Spinach – Lavewa (supposedly slow to bolt) – Botanical Interests
– Basil – Mrs. Burns Lemon – Burpee’s Heirlooms
– Mesculun Salad Mix – Burpee
– Cinnamon Basil – Lake Valley Seed
– Broccoli – Di Cicco – Botanical Interests
– Shelling Pea – Wando (supposedly deals w/ some heat) – Botanical Interests
– Brussels Sprout – Long Island Improved – Botanical Interests

I went through “the stash,” and these are all the seeds I have left from last year. If you’re interested in trading for any of these, let me know! I’m giving the type and the brand of seed, in case you care where they’re from. Most were bought spur-of-the moment from Lowe’s, WalMart, or the local grocery chain.

– Black from Tula tomato (actually this year’s, from Seed Savers’ Exchange)
– Gaillardia Aristata – Blanketflower – Ferry-Morse
– Nasturtium – jewel mix – Ferry-Morse
Campbell’s Tomato
– Detroit Dark Red beets – Page Seed
– zinnia – giant cactus flower mix – Burpee
– Royal Burgundy beans – Livingston Seed
– sweet pea – galaxy mix – Burpee Signature
– radish – Early Scarlet Globe – Page Seed
– Basil – sweet – Ferry-Morse
– Parsley – flat leaf Italian – Ferry-Morse
– Cilantro – Ferry-Morse
– Basil – opal (purple) – Livingston Seed
– giant cosmos – orange – saved by me (Burpee?)
Peachy Mama peppers (sweet, small peppers) – saved from CSA peppers

OK, Herbal Almanac. (Please note, everyone that it says January 7 is the traditional first day to go back to work after Christmas. I feel jipped of some days off! Perhaps I should bring the almanac in to my boss to sway him?) January 8 is mentioned as a good day to make herb bread, and poppy seeds are specifically mentioned. I LOVE poppy seeds. Does anyone else have trouble finding poppy seed bagels outside of bakeries? They’re my favorite, and no one seems to carry them (only in the form of “everything bagels,” which I don’t like). Bring back the poppy seed bagels!

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 9: Winter Cockle-warmer is an old name for a winter soup. Make cockle-warmer more savory with dried calendula blossoms, winter savory, lovage, chives, and rosemary.

First things first, it’s my blogiversary! I did have one post before January 6, 2009, but it was just a “uh hi, I’ll post something later” deal, so I’m counting January 6 as the start of Jennah’s Garden. Happy Blogiversary to MEEEE! 🙂

And now onto other things. Like many of you I’m sure, the holidays are over so I’m now like “ok, time for spring!” But since that’s quite a ways away (it’s just started to consistently be hovering around freezing here in Maryland), I have to be content on garden planning. Here’s my 2009 planning. All of that actually panned out except for the hypertufa, which I still want to try. And the stupid poppies which just never even got close to blooming. Not too shabby!

This year, hubby has promised that we will finally do the mythical “garden extension.” We have a very large driveway/parking area, and currently we have gardens on two sides of it – the side by the house (“triangle garden” – wow, I just realized I should start tagging by what garden is what. *note to self*), and the side parallel to that (“side garden”). The veggie garden is at the end of the side garden nearest the road. We want to edge the back of the parking area with another long strip of garden, about 2/3 of which will be raised veggie gardens. I also want to make the current veggie area raised, to help with the problem of the GIANT pieces of concrete and asphalt that are buried under there and make putting in tomato cages etc very difficult.

So the moral of the story is: more room for veggies! Here’s the plan for this year, as of right now. Also I have to figure where the eff I’m going to start these, or where I am going to move all the plants currently in my seed-starting area, on the top of my fridge. hmm. I think I’ll have plenty to share with friends and with the local plant sale/exchange. I am Zone 7A, so any suggestions on varieties are welcome! I’ll probably start ordering what I want from online in the next few weeks. I am looking to order from Botanical Interests and Seed Savers Exchange mostly, but am welcome to other good suggestions. Also, if anyone would like to swap seeds, I’d LOVE to do that and would be willing to organize something via blogs or twitter. I know I’ll have way too many for this year. I can save stuff, but we can also share!

SEEDS:
– heirloom tomatoes (already have Black from Tula)
– Better Boy tomatoes
– some sort of yellow tomato
– jalapeno pepper
– pimento pepper
– cayenne pepper
– parsley
– basil – genoa and opal
-cilantro
– peas (Any suggestions?? Never grown them before.) – spring crop
– green beans (Ditto – suggestions welcome.)
– broccoli (Again…)
– brussels sprouts (And again…)
– lettuce mix – spring crop

SEEDS I SAVED:
– peachy mama peppers (from my CSA)
– cosmos
– gerber daisy (We’ll see if it works.)

STARTS (prob from Amish/Mennonite farm):
– Roma tomatoes
– cherry tomatoes
– lemongrass
– mint (in a pot!!)
– dill
– marigolds (if mine don’t sprout like crazy from seeds left in the garden last year)

And now on to the Herbal Almanac. I really need to get those Christmas decorations down, I guess. I wanted to do it this past weekend, but I might have been blown away it was so windy. And now it’s COLD! Maybe I’ll get my butt out there this weekend.

Herb AlmanacJANUARY 6: This is the traditional end of the Christmas festival, Epiphany. A cake was served in which a bean was hidden. Whoever found the bean was called the Bean Cake King and ruled over wassailing festivities. Today is the time to wassail the apple trees. If one neglects this ritual, there will be a poor crop of apples.

Today is the day to take down Christmas greens—always to gently burn or lay about the garden as mulch.

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