Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Resort 127.0.0.1 - Part 2

Marilyn woke me up at 6:00am. After the morning walk and two cups of coffee, I put my garden boots on. I'm not just sitting around. Let's get started!

I want a couple more flower beds around my bird feeders. This area used to have a 6 feet tall chain link fence for a swimming pool. Plus, some scary evil looking shrubs were along the fence. It looked ugly. No matter how many times the shrubs got cut down, they came back like a zombie. On the top of it, they grew pretty fast. We pulled out its roots as much as possible. That helped it slow down. Tim removed the fence for us. Once the fence and shrubs are gone, the yard looks much nicer and open.

After the fence was gone, my bird feeders have been hang in the middle of the yard. There is no place birds can hide. They cannot feel safe so much while they eat. Some cautious birds might not want to come to my yard. Furthermore, as the scary shrubs' roots got removed, weeds started invading the area. I spent a lot of time pulling them out last summer. Weeding doesn't help stopping their coming back. It's time for a better solution. This is the background of the idea of putting some flower beds there. I want something matching to my kitchen garden which is my first project. No weeds are welcome. We can enjoy flowers. Birds get some shade and hiding spots. This is a win-win situation.

For the beds, I want something rustic, not something artificial like molded concrete blocks from a hardware store. It's not necessary to be perfect, but I want to feel the bed is made by hand, also close to the nature. Sometimes, imperfection makes things more attractive. That's a kind of a direction I'd like to take. So, I decided to use stones found in the yard.

First thing first! I need to finish this bed, a kitchen garden. That was my original plan. But, it already has some residents in it. In addition to the herbs I planted there, I put some other plants for their temporary home. It's a full house. That means there is not place to mix soil.

Oh well, sometimes you cannot just finish one thing, then move on to next thing. Here comes plan B. Instead of finishing the first bed, making the second bed frame first. I can mix soil in the second one without messing the plants in the first bed. Then, the kitchen garden's residents can be removed to bring soil from the second bed. Some of the residents will find the second bed as their permanent home.

I started digging the yard with the garden folk making an outline of the bed. I thought of a rectangle shape for it, but realized a round shape looks more rustic and charming. This is a real curb appeal. A discovery like this makes me so excited. It's a fun accident. Some things sometimes cannot see on paper. When I drew the layout of the flower beds, my initial idea was one wide border to cover the area. I started with a rectangle bed as long as the fence was. Then, I broke it down to three. Another idea was making two beds and put an arbor in the middle and let honey suckle crawl the arbor. I didn't think about a shape of the beds so much.

Once the outline is shaped, I fluffed up the soil inside the outline. More the scary shrubs' roots were dag out. The soil was mix of clay and pebbles, not a good sign. It was poor soil.

Next step is to create a border with stones. All different sizes and shapes were lined up and created a new shape all together. This is a mismatching match. I just love how it came out even it was not complete yet. This is the beauty of the nature—just being is precious and beautiful.

Three quarters were done at this point. I didn't finish it on purpose. A bag of manure and the peat moss are big and heavy. When I carry them, I cannot pay attention to other things. I might mess up the stone border when I bring them inside the border. That's why I kept one quarter border unfinished to give myself room to drag them into the bed.

It's time to mix soil. Compost, peat moss and cow manure were mixed into the soil. The compost is from our yard waste. Before the time off, I did some prep work.  I screened three compost piles in the yard.  It's been sitting there for two years.  The batch contained a lot of pine needles and pinecones.  That's why it took so long to get cooked.  It might be too acid to most of plants, but garden lime would help it neutralized.  More leaves are coming in this fall even though we don't have any trees in our yard.  Thanks to the neighbors, we can still get compost with leaves from their trees. Our composters are ready for a new batch.  No more pine needles and pinecones. A good size screened pile is sitting in front of the composters.  I have one more big pile to go through, but that's enough for now. I picked up some peat moss and cow manure. When I did some research, Black Kow popped up with good reviews. It's more expensive than others.  Let's see how good it is.  Lowes carries it. This cow manure is already composted.  It doesn't smell like manure at all.

These took one day. There are more to do, but it's not bad as what's done in one day. My body is sore, but I feel great! I'm sure I can sleep well tonight.

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