Garden

One of the thing advertised in our house’s description when we first saw it, was that it was professionally landscaped. I hadn’t been concerned about having any landscaping in our new home, but I thought it certainly couldn’t hurt, since I had intended to delve into gardening wherever we went. Why not start fresh with a pre-done garden and just maintain?

not so simple, ha!

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^here’s the before shot… even here, if you look at the foreground you can see lots of grass mixed in with the remains of the day lilies (in future pictures you’ll see them – the orange flowers) and there was lots more. She did most of her work on the far side of the garden, as you can see with the quite lovely stone work. Definitely a good base to start with.

The person who owned the house before us, and who was fixing it up to resell for a profit (flipping), was the landscaper. I’m not sure if she always does gardens like she did this or if its just because it was HER house and a flip project that would be out of her hands soon, but … it wasn’t well done, in my opinion. She didn’t appear to have removed any weeds. It looked like she had simply put down a liner, put some mulch on top, planted the plants, called it a day. She didn’t touch some areas. She lined it with some rocks , and built in some lovely tiered garden walls with stone, but they’re fragile and have already started falling apart no matter how hard I try to put it all back (nothing is touching them, my daughter is too young and the neighbors are very respectful and don’t go in the yard, but every so often I’ll find a stone or three has fallen off or tipped simply from the elements I presume. They’re wobbly and unsteady as it is, too.) since they have no reinforcement anywhere. I quickly discovered the un-removed weeds since suddenly in the spring they all shot up, and my garden was almost all grass. Hint: those barriers you use to stop weeds have to have a lot of dirt and even rocks over them to truly stop the weeds from busting through. I feel its much easier to simply do a GOOD extensive weeding, personally.

I decided to do the job like that, the way i prefer – the hard way first, so maintenance would be easy. Work smarter, not harder. Do it right first and you’ll have no problems later, easy! I dug into the ground and ripped up all the roots i could find that didn’t belong to a plant I was keeping. It worked GREAT! It didn’t even take that long, truly. I’d spend an hour here, an hour there over the summer really digging in, and the next year not a lot came up at all! Whatever I saw I quickly pulled up, and it resulted in simply a few minutes  week of maintenance. It ended up even transforming from being work into something cathartic (which I totally needed since I was still battling some post-partum depression)

I’ve also continued adding to it. I want a lush, cottage style garden, full to the brim and almost “Wild” in its beauty. In the front I have almost achieved this, I think! Perhaps this summer… we’ll see!

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This was before my big dig in on this side. You can still see some of the weeds mixed in, though thankfully the beauty of the other flowers hides it from those who don’t know as much about plants.

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Early on I even had a little helper! This was one of many future gardening shots as you’ll see soon…

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I was determined to tackle it perfectly the following season! So I prepped by making sure to rake it all up perfectly clean, and mulch before the winter so that I would be starting pretty fresh come Spring. I wasn’t able to cover the whole garden since we didn’t have the money for all the mulch we would need, but it was enough and I promised myself… next spring I would finish!

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The next spring I got back to work – the pile of leaves and debris towards the front is the remains from last year that I had forgotten to put in the compost… whoops… at least it was covered by snow most of the time!

 

Then I started digging in, removing the weeds from the roots, and afterwards putting the rest new mulch down for the year. Look at how sparse it looks… that was ALL WEEDS! Well, this was also taken in the spring. It did fill out a bit more after.Notice the slightly different color of mulch from the previous year… whoops! I also didn’t finish the furthest part at this point

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above is a quick glimpse at an area that had previously been covered with grass and other weeds between the flowers

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^ I shared this photo on my Facebook in 2016. 1 year apart… notice in the first one how you can see sprigs of grass popping into the frame, and all the leaves. Cleaning it up and remulching fixed so much! still not perfect, but I’m loving it. Cant wait to start again this year!

 

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An early summer picture, still has weeds but darn… it filled out so well! I can’t wait to see all these flowers again!

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This was one of the last pictures I took of my garden at the end of last summer, 2015. It’s really filled in, and though there are still some patches that have some weed issues, I’m hoping to finish wiping that out this year. I also want to really focus on the far side, and trying to hide the unsightly stump (see below, and also previous entry about tree removal)

this picture is another earlier one, from the spring–

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Here you can see the remaining stump from the tree incident. You can also see the stone walkway, and how that kind of marks where my weeding stopped. Whoops. I ended up getting very busy last summer, so I put my gardening to the side for a while. This year’s goal is to finish off that area so that I can simply maintain from here on out. We also removed the random bush beside our house – it was a very gangly rhododendron that never flowered due to poor lighting. In the meantime we planted some Yucca along the side to help hide the unsightly cement foundation as they fill in. Future plans include flipping the front deck around (well… we’d rebuild it.) so the “landing” would be over the door to our basement (the black bit near my daughter in the picture) and steps would end right around the side of the house, and make a stone walkway going up beside the big stump. We’d extend the garden to that point. Possibly bring that part of deck to attach to the side porch if possible, but code requirements may prevent that from happening (the road might be too close for it to meet).

Also, just out of sight in that last picture, behind our house, is this shed below. We are clearing out the AWFUL AWFUL japanese knotweed that has taken over there. I’ve been ATTACKING it every single year, ripping up the roots as best I can. I have certainly cut it back significantly, but I’ve got more work to do. I’m not sure what I intend to do there… I’d like to simply have some grass. We shall see!

Here’s how it looked at the end of last summer, with the remains of dead knotweed EVERYWHERE.

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thats a decent little space, hidden away and unusable. Must remedy this!

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