Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bed by bed

Anne Lamott wrote a book called Bird by Bird. It's mostly about writing, but maxims for writers can apply to gardeners as well. The title reflects how to attack a large project: bit by bit.

Native sampler

My yard is rather large, which I consider a good thing, but sometimes the sheer amount of work to keep it up overwhelms me. Despite my attempts to make things easier, they seem to get more complicated. But if I can take things one bed at a time, I shall prevail.

Native sampler getting fenced in

For several years I've contemplated adding another structure to the yard, leaning toward a screened-in gazebo. The new fence provides so much privacy now, that idea has evaporated. But my g'daughter has been trying to build a clubhouse of sorts in the bushes. This inexpensive resin shed should serve that purpose, plus give me some place to store lawn furniture in the winter.

Resin shed

The brand/model is Keter Manor (purchased at Menards), size 4'x6'. And it is a BEAR to assemble. It takes two people, and it is especially helpful if one of them is tallish with a certain amount of upper body strength. And power tools. My SO did most of the actual labor while I supervised/assisted. Be prepared to argue over discuss the instructions.

The garden proper evolves, and will continue to do so in the near and distant future. We removed the movable fence, then reduced the footprint by doubling the height of the raised beds and shoving them closer together. I have a reminder on my calendar to take photos from these five perspectives throughout the growing season, so we can track further changes.

Looking SW

Looking NW

Looking NE

Looking SE

Orchard - looking SW

Today it is rainy, so I'm glad I soldiered on yesterday. Not much is blooming - a few daffodils, even fewer crocus, the forsythia. Many buds look ready to burst on the early-blooming shrubs. Hope a frost does not ruin the show.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Wait! Wait!

This is the first time I have tried planting tulips in containers. I kept them in the garage, watered them sporadically, and all seemed well. BUT with the mild weather we have had UNTIL NOW, the tulips made an unreasonably early appearance. So I dragged the pots outside, in hopes that the wildly fluctuating temps would cool the tulips' enthusiasm. And I think it's working.

New growth seems to have halted... for now.

Now that my interest in big pots has been stoked, I'm contemplating removing the boxwood in front of the picture window and placing one of the pots there in its stead. Once the tulips start to fade, I can replace them with some summery annuals and let the creeping phlox have its way with that area. The mugu pine that is crowded behind the boxwood would probably appreciate more room, too.

I think one of the hardest gardening lessons for me to learn has been that it's okay to remove something that no longer works, no matter its size or health. The first thing to go were the silver maples in the backyard. I was sad to lose the shade but relieved to be rid of red buds and whirlybirds in the air conditioner, leaves in the gutters, and branches scraping the roof of the Florida room (which is also gone). Change is good, or can be. If I wanted a static yard, I would just grow grass.