Friday, April 05, 2013

Spring! Time to Play in the Dirt!

I can't wait for the snow to melt and the ground to warm so I can get outside to play! I couch potato all winter, but the minute it is warm enough to be outside, I go out in the morning and find things to do all day. This time of the year, it isn't hard to diet. I'm active and not thinking of food... and not near the kitchen! :)

It is hard to remember that we has snow for Palm Sunday. The weather is beautiful now. Jen has been doing Spring Cleaning on the lean-to of the garage. (You go, Girl! I'm getting out of your way!) and I have been digging holes and planting/moving trees and bushes all over the yard. Last fall I purchased a lot of tired arbor vitae trees at Home Depot when they went on clearance. I didn't expect all of them to survive, but the price was low enough, I could give it a go. About half of them made it. One of the first things I did was "police the line" moving out dead trees and shifting live ones to fill gaps.  

This is the year for grapevines. I like Concord grape jelly and Thompson seedless raisins. Lala just likes grapes. With that sort of encouragement, I have planted five Concord and five Thompson seedless vines on the west side of the old garden. They are two-year vines. I don't know how long it will be before they will be producing, but I'm ready! (Hm... where was that book on raising grapes?)  

For the last two or three years I have been working toward planting a living fence along the north and west property lines. The arbor vitae that I mentioned earlier have filled a large part of that need along the northern line. I was suffering from the need to make all my plantings the same. In my head I was remembering the 100 ft. long spirea hedge that stood there when I was a kid. It had been my job to trim that hedge every summer that I lived at home. As soon as I went to college, Dad pulled out the hedge... Grr. I liked that hedge.

When I was talking about my vision for my yard with a friend who is a landscape designer, he said I am going for a "cottage garden". These are by definition eclectic and random in their placement. I can -- and should! -- mix plants. He helped me plant the Washington Hawthorne, Crepe Myrtle, Flowering Dogwoods, and more that I got from the National Arbor Day Foundation  They are in the line where I had started my lilac bushes. (Okay, he did say these one-foot high plants would take forever to grow and I should always buy the largest tree or bush I could afford so I could see my efforts sooner...) 

Thanks to his work and all the new plants, my western property line is also complete. I just have to wait how many years to see the bushes/ trees big enough to bloom? :) I think I see his point. If you look very closely at the photo of the grapevines, you will see metal stakes along the line of the ditch. They mark the lilacs and other plantings in the "fence row". There is also an arbor vitae showing at the end of a grape row. It's now been moved to one of those gaps I mentioned.

When Joe rebuilt the front porch last fall, I was afraid the Blaze Climber that has always been on the west side would get damaged. To save it, we shifted it to the east yard. It stands now in the company of the two rosa rugosa that I purchased at Arnold's Nursery last fall.  One of the first things I did when the weather improved was to haul the trellis that used to support the rose bush  and stand it up as a wall behind the climber. Now I have to decide if I want to add two more trellis panels to make a fence, or if putting something tall, like Pampas grass, on either side would give it a finished look. Hm... both ideas have merit.  But if I made a fence, I could have an arbor crossing the rock walk. That would really get into the cottage feel... Hm... (wheels turning...)

In the mean time, the trellis and rose bushes have acquired company. I finally ran the wheels off Joe's little red wagon. My folks gave him that wagon for his first Christmas in 1976. I don't know why the attach points would rust out and let the back wheels collapse. It's only been 37 years!  I just couldn't trash that red wagon, so I filled it with dirt and a few of those durable daffodils from the compost pile, and then parked it near the Blaze Climber. Jen found one of their old Tonka trucks in the lean-to, so I've put dirt and more daffodils in the dump truck bed and added it to the display. They look pretty chipper out there.  One of the neighbor kids was riding down the street today and he hollered at me to say he liked the toys in my yard. 

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