Monday, May 4, 2009

The Garden

This weekend, we made good progress on the garden and yard. The turtle patch is now complete.

All photographs by A., except for the last three.

the turtle patch

The frame is 1x3s, eight by 12 feet. There are four doors providing access to the four quadrants. I had considered making but one door for each half, but it seemed that the they would flex too much. It is screened in with poultry netting (chicken wire), buried to a depth of at least eight inches, to keep the turtles from digging out.

turtles in the turtle patch

As it is right now, we will be cleaning out the water on a daily basis. When the garage floor is replaced, in the next month or so, I'm going to talk with our general contractor about the possibility of running electrical and water out to the patch, so that we could have a slightly bigger water feature and a circulator pump.

introduction to the patch

I'm working to excavate the pond in the garage side garden. It is 16 inches deep and has a flat, concrete bottom. At some point in the past it was filled in. My big problem right now is figuring out what to do with the dirt I dig out of it. All of the flowers are courtesy of the previous owner.

garage side garden

These ferns were but some of the many plants here when we moved in.

ostrich ferns and forget-me-nots

The berry bushes are all planted and staked.

berry vines and back patios

The PO also left us with some really spectacular dandelions. In this photo, I'm holding two. Yes. Just two.

bouquet of dandelions

I hope to be able to rent a rototiller this afternoon, so that we can get to work on the garden patch. I started digging it up with a shovel, but found the soil and work to just be too backbreaking. At least the soil in the planned garden area is not as bad as the rest of the yard, which consists of clay with an inch of topsoil on top. The whole area of this photograph, from the (now defunct) grill to the right, with the exception of the bushy area, which is now the turtle patch, will be our vegetable garden. This photograph is from the fall.

Fire pit and yard

I continue to be surprised by the number of flowers coming up in our yard, in places unexpected. I mowed down what I realized in retrospect were a row of poppies, along the back fence - I had no idea that the plants looked so much like thisles. There are four rose bushes, of which at least three are alive. We have a lovely grape hyacinth that is currently providing many blooms just outside our bedroom window - our second floor bedroom window. Further, I can't believe how many hostas and ferns we have.

I've come to the belief that the problem with our rhododendron is probably the same as the problem with our magnolia in the front yard. While ice may be something of a factor on the rhododendron, the problem appears to just as much be years and years of bad pruning. This is more obvious on the magnolia, where strong growth was cut to leave weaker branches to grow, often crossing over and rubbing against other growth. The cuts never healed, and so have begun to rot. Some are far enough away from the main branch that I've been able to cut again, closer, with decent success. Others I'm just painting over the exposed area and hoping for the best.

I still need to have the two (or three, depending on how you count) dead trees removed from the yard. Once they are removed, a weeping cherry will go in place of the one on the side property line, and on the back property line, some other sort of fruit, perhaps an apple tree. The dead trees can be seen in this photograph. I had hoped to convince the power company to remove the dead tree along the back property line, as they had wanted to completely remove it a couple of years ago, and it was their pruning at that time that had caused its death.

Garden and basketball hoop

I've come to realize that the large dead area under the magnolia is due to unraked magnolia petals. I'm starting to think about what I can plant there that will either tolerate them or will allow me to rake them up without being damaged too much by the raking.

Our House

I'm starting to think about the possibilities of a compost pile in the bushy corner of the back yard, for next year. I feel guilty having the city take away all this good organic material when, with a bit of work, it could be helping my garden.


Jenny Kerr said...

Oh you guys, your landscaping is looking great!

Jennylou's Projects said...

You could probably get rid of the extra dirt and the trees by offering them on craigslist or freecycle.

Meghan said...

Yeah, just dump the compostable stuff in a pile in some corner. You'll be so happy next year to find it's been converted by your resident worms into great compost. Even if you have to move it later, which is actually a good though not necessary thing to do anyway. Pile all your leaves on top in the fall. The only stuff I send off to the dump trucks that come by are big sticks and brush, because I don't have a chipper to break it down.