What’s happening in the garden now?

So what IS happening in my garden these days? Lots of flowers, not too much in the veggie department. I planted just under 200 spring flowering bulbs last fall and they didn’t disappoint. I’ve since planted even more bulbs and it will be fun to watch those come up over the summer.

garden expansion 2013

Schematic for the new garden expansion.

It took a little convincing, but in the end I got the hubby to agree that we could do with less of the mossy lawn and benefit from a larger garden on the south side of the house. I then mapped out what I wanted using an online resource, The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Planner. It worked great, but unfortunately it’s only free for 30 days and after that it’s $25 US per year. My trial period ran out and I’ve not yet decided if I’m going to get the paid subscription. You can still view the details of my recent version online here: Garden Plan 2013, although I changed a few planting locations slightly and divided the large raised middle bed into 3 sections, the layout is pretty accurate.

garden expansion

Working on the newly expanded garden

The blueberries and raspberries are in their new homes and thriving! On the west side of the greenhouse we’ve got chives that survived the winter, along with a solitary Walla Walla onion that is growing like crazy and some red garlic has sprouted (but it looks like half of the crop simply rotted in the ground). The greenhouse is home to some over-wintered Parsley that will need replanting, as well as a couple of Rosemary plants and two strawberry pots that are already blossoming.

top soil

3 yds of topsoil destined for the back garden.

Earlier this week I had 3 yds of garden soil mix dropped on the front lawn, which hubby and I then schlepped into the back. He had earlier removed all the sod where the new beds will be and we took turns breaking up the heavy (mostly clay) soil that remained. I’ve been tilling the new and old together this week BY HAND (because the cost of renting a rototiller was way more than I wanted to spend). If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen these images but I’m posting them as a record of how we’re doing so far.

Today included a trip into one of the local nurseries as many of my seed packets were getting past their prime.Tomorrow will be spent transplanting tomato seedlings out into their greenhouse home (probably until the end of May), mixing the last of new soil into the new beds, and inoculating peas for planting in the garden. I’m also seeding some herbs that will live in the greenhouse until the weather truly warms up and the rains recede.

Garden Tip: Plant Sweet Alyssum in your vegetable garden to attract more Ladybugs and control aphids in the garden! (via: Kitchen Food Garden – April 10, 2013)

My Dream Garden

You would know when you were entering my dream garden by the perfect gated entrance. Stepping through, you’d find yourself looking out over a space with just the right mix of shady and sunny places planted with everything from bright drifts of spring bulbs and summer annuals to lush green ferns, astilbe and lily-of the-valley.

There would be winding paths that looked like they went on forever. Reflecting pools, benches and other seating tucked away in places that invite a weary gardener to take time to read or just sit and enjoy the view. I’m not one for a lot of tchotchkes so you wouldn’t find a lot of little knick knacks. That’s not saying my dream garden would be devoid of these things, but don’t expect a full-on fairy garden or a family of garden gnomes.

I would never run out of space or time and my garden would be a feast for all the senses. Pots of tomatoes, tall stands of corn and arbors overflowing with scarlet runner beans, cucumbers and sweet peas would all have their own special place. Raised beds of squash and pumpkin would live along with blueberries and strawberries that would never need to worry about slugs or other pests.

Did I mention the greenhouse?

The greenhouse would be nothing short of spectacular; housing seedlings, cuttings and maybe even an exotic orchid or two and benches perfectly aligned for transplanting and repotting. Twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling would glow like stars in the evening light and the fragrance of flowers fresher than any perfume would fill the air.

Lastly – an awesome water feature; because what self-respecting dream garden wouldn’t have one or possibly even TWO? For me it goes without saying that one of those water features would have to be my awesome umbrella frog added in 2012. He’ll always have a place of honour in the garden.

I thought several times about adding photos to this post, either of my own garden or some of the things I’ve saved to Pinterest that inspire me. I opted for no photos in the final version and hope that my writing will be enough to paint a picture in the reader’s imagination.

This blog post is a result of:
Grow Write Guild
Prompt #2: Dream Garden

Longing for the sun

click for bigger pic

Even more than wanting to be warm without socks and hoodies, I’m anxious for the sun to stay out for longer than a day at a time. I miss the sun. This photo makes me smile because I remember what a gorgeous August day it was, and how perfect the yard looked to me. I think while the yard still looks so barren and empty you’ll be seeing a lot of photos from last year on here.

This past Monday I managed to cut the edge around 90% of the new garden space, then dig about a 3′ x 3′ piece of sod out (where the raspberries are moving to) before the rains took hold again. The raspberries were planted too close to the deck (my fault), and I’m digging out a 10 foot x 3 foot area for them first. I’ll turn it by hand and add some compost and build it up with soil from the existing vegetable garden. We’ll add the wood ties later. After removing the sod from the rest of the new section I’m going to rent a rototiller. The beds are going to be raised but this soil is heavy (and clay-based) and turning it all by hand would not be good for me or the hubby, who has offered to help on his days off from work. After that I’ll get a couple of yards of good garden soil delivered, which I’ll then have to transport from where-ever it gets dumped to the garden in the back.

I did manage to plant some garlic and was pleased to see that I have some green onions coming up that self-seeded from last year. Bonus!

I’m taking a one day beginner landscaping course at a local nursery in a couple more weeks, and found a program online to map out my garden so I took all sorts of measurements on Monday. As well, I ordered a couple of interesting looking gardening books, which arrived unexpectedly today (surprised the heck out of me since I used amazon’s free shipping option which usually takes at least 5 days if not longer). There will be more on these books and the author later.

Since today was a lovely day to be outside ONLY if you are a duck, I spent my time immersed in code, trying to learn as much as I can about WordPress. I’ve not stretched my brain like this for a while and it feels good (and struggled with “a while” vs “awhile”, so it was nice to have Grammar Girl to fall back on).

My garden books are calling… can you hear them? Since the new washer/dryer won’t be arriving until the middle of next week (our 23 year old pair packed it in), I also have that time when I’d normally be doing laundry to enjoy the new books. Who needs clean clothes anyway?