Friday, August 8, 2014

The other reason I've been too busy to blog.

I have moved into a neighborhood where landscaping matters. All around me people pour time and energy and not a little money into their yards. The former owner of the house, however, was not one of those people and the yard is mostly plain. I'm changing that. I started by ordering a pallet - nearly two tons - of flat field stone. And I set about building a little wall to outline a bed.  It curves from the driveway all the way down to the edge of the other side of the front yard. My neighbors stop by now and again to survey my work and comment that I'm already way ahead of the previous owner. Did I mention that in this neighborhood, it matters?
Next up, I had a truckload of compost (6 scoops) dumped in my yard and started covering the grass with cardboard. You'd be surprised how much interest this project has elicited. Neighbors I've not met yet pause in their walks to ask about what I'm doing. This is my earth-friendly approach, which I learned at a permaculture workshop. I cover the grass with cardboard and newspaper and then compost and then more cardboard/paper and then mulch. Over time the paper all decomposes and the grass is starved of sunlight and dies. I hope.
I had a second truckload of compost brought in when it was clear the first one wasn't going to be enough and accidentally buried the water meter cover. Oops. After a lot of digging, I found it again and put rocks around it to form a a little barrier.
And then the mulch step. This is all hard work and my across-the-street neighbor commented that I still had a lot to do and suggested I use his landscaping guys. But no, that's money I just don't have. What I do have is my own driven self. So a wagon-full at a time, I'm distributing the mulch.
I've done this lower part of the bed so far. By the time fall rolls around it should be ready to plant. I still have the better part of two truckloads of mulch to distribute and another bed I want to build. I have a little time and I'm confidant I'll get it all done.
Because I happen to have a little weakness. Before I moved out of my old house, I carefully dug up 48 daffodil, tulip and hyacinth bulbs and packed them away for this fall. I also uprooted a big peony, a silver lamium, two tubs of hostas, a tub of lily of the valley, another of irises and some blue star creeper. They are all waiting to go into the garden here. And in the meantime, off and on I’ve ordered plants on-line which will be shipped in the fall. And then forgotten them, and ordered others. These include tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, lilies, gladioli, crocuses, rosy bells, and snow glories. Also a fig tree, a hibiscus, a second blueberry bush, a weigela, a couple of buddleia, some hyssop, sweetbox, sage, bee balm, speedwell, Joe Pye weed, dwarf mondo grass and another peony. On the deck I have some swamp milkweed temporarily housed in a pot and there’s a mystery unmarked bag of bulbs in the shed. Some quick math… and in September and October I will have to plant about 300 bulbs/rhizomes and twenty shrubs/plants. And there are some larger trees and bushes I will almost certainly buy at that time, too, to go in the ground.  I know. You don't need to tell me, because I already know. I'm a plant addict. And I don't think it's an addiction I want to break.

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