Sunday, April 26, 2009

Some previous owner of this house gets a massive EPIC FAIL in composting. In moving the compost to a different spot, I discovered that one of the two composters was full of plastic bags, candy wrappers, and styrofoam. I mean, WTF, people?? Adding to my irritation at having to pick out all this crap was that the composter in question was also set a good 2 feet into the ground and was a big fat pain in the ass to dig out and get rid of.

On the plus side:

* I have a generous amount of nice compost to use, now that it's garbage-free
* in addition to being sunny, that soil in that back corner is going to rock
* due to removal of the pain-in-the-ass composter, I now have a nice big hole in a sunny/rich-soil spot

This last cries out for a flowering almond, but still I hesitate. The power lines are almost directly above, although I think they'd probably clear the max height of a flowering almond; also I need to make sure that anything tall and leafy planted there is not going to cause undue shade in the rest of the yard. And I'm not sure that it won't look weird with the massive white pine and the anonymous shrub sitting right next to it.
Canadian Tire plant spoils:

Money Plant, which starts off like so -

- and ends up like so:

Artemisia (yay sun!)

Delphiniums - I did attempt to start some of these from seed but am increasingly skeptical that I'll get any return from that venture, so for $2 a pop I figured it was worth backing up the seeds with perennials:

Blaze climbing rose, which I last attempted in a pot; we'll see if it survives better in the ground and in full sun. My David Austin rose is also hardy to zone 5 and has done pretty well without protection, so crossing my fingers!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Today I:

* dug under about half of the west bed (up to the stupid pavers, which I'm going to wait to tackle till I can get my hands on a crowbar), digging up many rocks and all the daylily rhizomes I could get my mitts on
* having checked with the neighbours, trimmed back the prickly climbing thing that is invading from their yard
* tidied and swept the through-space between carport and shed

I also kept an eye on the sun conditions through the day and confirmed that the front yard is indeed full sun (6h+) throughout, and so is a swath of the backyard, with much of the rest of it on the sunny side of partial shade. I've decided I'm going to move the compost, because AS IF I am going to waste one of the sunniest spots in the yard on it! It would in fact be a very good place for that flowering almond....

I AM SO EXCITED about this yard, I cannot tell you.

Tomorrow or Sunday I will whip out to Canadian Tire, where I saw a bunch more perennials that piqued my interest. Also on my to do list, although somewhat longer term, is to put together some containers to hang over the front step, decorate the through-space, and generally be gorgeous, since I seem to have acquired a bazillion containers in the last year or so. Maybe I will attempt some of those impossibly perfect arrangements I've been seeing in garden magazines. I'll just have to remember to water them this time around. For this purpose maybe I will start a rain barrel.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Planted my most recent purchases this evening. OOOOoooooooh I really want to get going on that hardscaping so I can dig out and define a bed or two! The amount of space that would net me pretty much blows my mind, considering how many plants I've already crammed into the front garden and the east backyard bed. I suppose I should really take a couple weeks and let everything grow in, but the brain fizz I get from buying and planting new plants is mad addictive. I've offered to help my mom dig stuff up in her garden in exchange for patio-building help in mine, though. She may even have a sneaky flagstone connection for me.

Well, it's not like I have nothing to do out there in the meantime. I still need to:

* chop down the remaining hydrangeas - my neighbour's example confirms that they do in fact get pruned right down in the spring
* pry up the stupid paving stones in the back corner and the west bed (might pick up a pry bar for the purpose, actually)...a clematis would go nicely up the fence there (plus other semi-shade plants TBD)
* dig up the west bed in general - I will keep some of the geraniums to see how they turn out, but the orange daylilies can definitely go
* set up some sort of trellis structures to camouflage the compost bins - nice and sunny in that spot, so scarlet runner beans would probably like it there - and the a/c unit
* chop down the forest of suckers around the lilac
* clean up the through-space between carport and shed, which is littered with plant containers, leaves, and yard waste from the fall
* set up birdbath and buy a bird feeder
* get honeysuckle trained onto trellis thingy

At Loblaws today I was delighted to spy two gorgeous types of tree for $60 a pop, which seems pretty reasonable, really:

Flowering Almond

Purpleleaf Sandcherry

These both max out at about 10', a nice manageable size. I have, at the moment, nowhere prepared to put them, but god knows I've got expanses of sunny lawn I'm planning to get rid of. Or could I plant such things next to the west fence, since they're already tall enough that the canopy would probably be in the sun anyway? I hesitate, though, because these both seem to have a reputation for being fragile with regard to pests and diseases. I don't want to spend $60 on a plant that's going to die on me. They also had the extraordinarily funky-looking corkscrew hazel available for $40 or $50.
Loblaws garden centre is open! Being able to browse the full sun section as well as the shade section? MADE of DELIRIOUS AWESOME.

The spoils:

Rose Campion

Oriental poppies


Dragon's Blood Stonecrop

English Lavender

Russian Sage

Red Valerian

Golden Queen Globeflower



Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Accomplished today:

* Planted sweet peas in a few different locations around both the back yard and the front. Am totally excited to see if they come up, since this is the first time I've had enough sun to even consider them.

* Raked leaves and crap out of the garden beds. What a mess. I think I'm going to end up just digging the backyard's west bed under and starting over. The bed itself is all uneven and full of overgrown broken ugly pavers, and I'm pretty sure all that's in there is daylilies and geraniums, regarding which, bleh. Elsewhere, though, I'm pleased to note that most of what I managed to plant last year is actually coming back...including the trillium, bleeding heart, and peonies, which I was worried about.

To Do in the next couple days:

* get raked-up leaves off lawn and into yard waste bags
* plant liatris and dahlias and anything else that needs to be in the ground earlyish
* hang up string trellis for sweet peas next to shed

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I spent a chunk of the afternoon raking up pine needles, and holy crap were there ever a lot of them.


This endeavour also freshened my resolve to get some sort of renovations going back here, because underneath the pine needles the "lawn" is just sad. Especially under the tree, where it sort of straggles off into dirt and moss and creeping charlie (although the moss is lovely and I think I'll keep it). Also the planting beds, such as they are, have almost zero definition; they're sort of, you know, where the grass has straggled off and there's other plants instead of dirt. Sometimes there are borders of paving stones or bricks, but these are mostly half-submerged and overgrown (much easier to see now than they were in the summer, though!)

Here is a rough idea of what I've been daydreaming I might do:


This would leave some lawn in the foreground, i.e. for kids to play on, but in between the paths drawn in brown here there would be cottage-garden-type riots of plants. Probably starting with a magnolia where that little heap of newspapers is. As I may have mentioned before, my evil plan would be to do the hardscaping this year and work on cleaning up the existing beds (such as they are), and then each year I would fill in one section between the paths. Oooooooh I am ITCHING to get started on this, but (a) I suspect the materials for the hardscaping will be stupid expensive and (b) I fear that I will either get bogged down or screw things up trying to lay flagstone myself.

Meanwhile I am delighted to note that (a) my monster alliums are coming up, and (b) the new camera takes beautifully sharp and detailed pictures.


Also, despite the needles everywhere, that tree is really gorgeous.


Eventually I also need to do something about the front yard:


BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORINNNNNNNNG. Boring, boring, boring. Look at all that grass! My God! Still, this is the part that will annoy people if it's a mess, so for now I'll settle for cutting the grass and practice on the backyard. When I'm a little more confident in my garden-wrangling abilities and a little more practiced in actually following through on garden projects, I'll tackle this.