Saturday, June 9, 2012

Before and After

This wooden private fence had been hiding a huge yard waste pile, over four feet high and six feet wide. It seemed it had been sitting there for years. You think that must be good compost. Unfortunately, it was far from black gold. Most part of the pile was pinecones and pine needles. They hadn't processed even others in the pile was. I'm not patient to wait those pinecones and pine needles get composted completely. And, my town collects yard waste in spring and fall. Here was an opportunity. It was time to say good bye to the pile. However, the compost shouldn't be wasted. So, I went over the pile with a sieve. The compost was used for the flower beds at the back door steps. And, about 20 yard waste bags were picked up. The trash guys must hate us. Well, I started working on the pile a couple weekends prier to the yard waste collection began. We put out all 20 bags at once. Some of them had wet stuff and they were quite heavy. I don't complain they hate us.

Now, the pile is gone, but we have three compost bins in the area. They are not quite pretty to get exposed. I still want the area to be covered, but we don't need this big 6x8 tired fence. Here is another good-bye! Let's get rid of this ugly fence. Demo time! ... Uh, we didn't destroy the fence with a sledge hummer. It had been standing there for years to cover the unpleasing look pile. We respect its dignity for that. We disassembled it. Chad cut it down to smaller pieces. He removed the posts. It seems we are going to have hot chocolate by a fire pit. We might have some marshmallows, too. One of the posts was sitting in concrete. The concrete needs to be removed. Concrete is something hard to dispose. You cannot just stick in a trash barrel with other trash. I found this: How to Dispose of Leftover Concrete. It seems we need to use some paid service for it.

Ta-dah! I put up the two panels of the willow trellises. Three clematis were planted. At the end of the trellises, the raspberry from Olga got its permanent home. Raspberry is a quite aggressive plant. To avoid it spreads all over the place, it was planted into a terracotta pot buried in the ground. It will take a couple of years, but they will get bushy. Their leaves cover anything behind the trellises. Plus, they bloom and add some colors. The first clematis is already blooming on the ground... this is not what I expected. They need to get tall first before putting flowers.

Speaking of the raspberry, a bumble bee has been flying around it all the time. When I tried to move it from one side to another, he was so upset. He thought I would take it away from him. He flew around me as if he was going to sting me. I just moved it a couple of feet. He did a great job with pollination. After flowers were gone, you see the fruits are growing. Thank you, Buzz! Keep up the good work.

We won't get any blueberries, but might get some raspberries. I feel I should support bees more. I researched a little bit about how to invite bees to the yard.

This is like inviting wild birds to a yard. It seems providing food and shelter is a key. Well, that makes sense. My next project is building a couple of bee houses.

Looking back some progress I made this spring...

When we moved in...

Now...

When we moved in...

Now...

When we moved in...

Now...

Last winter, Virginia, the previous owner of the house, past away. She loved this house so much. She and her husband good took care of the house. I hope she would like the changes we have made. I wish we could have tea together over stories of the house in old days.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

More Gardens, More Colors

After finishing the herb garden and one side of the flower bed, something kept me motivated to finish another flower bed. This side was a task for next year as I originally intended, but now it's done. Yey! The border in front of the porch is not done, but that's an easy part. The great thing is the both side of the steps are raised and they get more sun. Plus, any colors added to both sides of the steps are more recognizable. Once the steps are redone, this area looks more tied together. It's all planned out in my head.

It's time to add colors. Start with a pot full tiny violas. I fell in love with them at Walmart. The coloring of violet and yellow is just lovely. It's very welcoming with a happy and exciting feeling of spring. Walmart is a good place to get generic plants in bulk. You cannot expect rare plants you find at nurseries, but something generic like ivy for borders and such, you can get them with reasonable prices. The honeysuckle has been much happier at its new home. It's going to have flowers. Its buds are getting bigger. I thought it wouldn't flower this year because of the transplant, but this is a nice surprise. It must like the cow manure boosted soil. The hydrangea at the right edge is also doing better. It has a lot of big leaves. They are thriving. It's nothing to do with the color of my thumbs. They are just being themselves in their new spots. I love the bleeding heart at the steps. I temporarily planted there last year, but it looks they are meant to be there. The scale can be a little bigger, but they will be year after year. Their texture and colors are just right. They brighten up the dark corner cheerfully.

The blueberries are planted at the end of the flowerbeds on both side. They had been in pots for two years. They look big enough to be outside in winter now. Unfortunately, they were attacked by small green caterpillars when they were blooming after planted outside. They lost all their leaves and flowers. The caterpillars ate them all. I thought the blueberries wouldn't make it. But, after picking caterpillars one by one, leaves started coming back. And, one flower got pollinated. Here is the first and only fruite. I hope nobody finds it.

The round garden got some flowers. The transfered columbines keeps growing. It seems that's the right place to be for them. Some seeds and bulbes are also planted for summer. Once they come out like three inches tall, the garden can be mulched. Until then, I need to keep weeding. It looks pretty sad now, but it will get filled and more colorful.

My little fountain needs its stage. It used to be bright copper color, but it's been aged nicely. It provides bath to wild birds. They've been seen hanging out splashing on the top tier for last couple of years. I made a small round garden next to the first round one to set the fountain.

The fountain got raised a little bit and set in the center of the mini garden. I hope this helps to keep moisture away from the bottom. The plan is to put low profile flowers around it. It can be raised a litte bit more. It depends on what kind of flowers are around. If they get taller than intended, the fountain needs to get raised more. So far, it looks fine.

Marilyn and I are planning a trip to see Laurel. She is our old neighbor and Marilyn's second mom. She and her family watch Marilyn when we are away. They very good take care of her, actually better than we do. Laurel's family runs nursery business. Marilyn loves to visit her at her shop. As soon as I pull into the parking, she cannot wait to get out the car. Laurel loves Marilyn's surprise visit. We are going to her shop to pick up some plants for the mini garden.