Friday, May 30, 2014

A walk after the rain..

It’s the mostly cloudy last Friday in May, it’s been raining the last few days so it was nice to put on the wellies and take a walk around the garden.
I found this lovely little flower blooming in the woodland bed, I have no idea what it is.
Here’s another I saw in the woodland bed, I don’t even know where this little one came from.
The honeysuckle is still in bloom and it’s loaded.
Around back by the beehives the self planted and allowing happily to spread Arrowwood Viburnum is starting to bloom.
Right below it, is this false Solomon’s seal that has sprouted all on its own.  It will be tended to when this area gets cleaned out, which isn’t going to be an easy job.
Since this is what it looks like!  Yikes.  I really hate oriental bittersweet.  I mean really.
I’ve worked over here a little, pulling up bittersweet , dog rose and cutting down the weedy trees.  It’s turning into it’s own little fern glade which is really pretty.  Earlier in the Spring I found Cutleaf toothwort blooming in the same area so I’m very interested in cleaning carefully.
I found some native sensitive ferns behind the daffodils and will need to be sure to pull weeds and mulch the area for them.  Getting ferns to grow up behind the daffodils would be great for helping to hide the leaves when they fall over (like now).
Finally I was happy to see all the new growth on the trees we planted.  I guess all the rain and cool temperatures has been making them very happy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dog Tired…


After the weekend this is pretty much how we all felt! 

We got a lot of little things done like putting the spider shade and new safari straps on the Jeep.


Cooper loves riding in the Jeep and I love taking him with me but I wanted him to be safely inside so now the Jeep looks cool and I know he’s safe!

Randy finished putting all the new grilles in the windows and installed almost all of our new window screens.


We still haven’t decided if we want to try and stain them to match the honey of the windows or let them age naturally…

We also spent some time cleaning, clearing and marking around the pond area for the new plants and transplants.


This is the start of the new path, it’s made from the sticks and pruning's.  It’s actually supposed to start back further in the grass but we aren’t quite ready for that.


This area was pretty clear already, I started pulling out the bittersweet and weeds last year.  I still have some small stumps that need to come out but it’s pretty much ready for planting.


This is the view of the pond from the path, it’s getting there.  I am thinking that I want to do a bench in this area it’s one of my favorite views. (Just got to get rid of those rocks!)


The path heads off into the bittersweet jungle, literally, it’s a jungle of oriental bittersweet that has to be pulled out.  Randy wants to just mow it, but because there are actual native plants like Jack in the Pulpits, Mayapples, Solomon's seal, native viburnums and ferns I just can’t do that.  So one section at a time I pull, cut and move forward.  The leaves will be shredded and left in the planting areas, the sticks and branches chipped and put down as the path.


Cooper reached a milestone too, his crate was taken down.  We’ve been leaving him out recently and he pretty much just sleeps on the bed while we are gone.  We will keep an eye on him (we have a Cooper Cam Winking smile ) and if he starts getting into stuff we can always put the crate back up.  My problem with that is he’s just inches from being too big for it!

I know the day has passed but the sentiment is genuine when I say Thank You! to all the veterans that protect the freedoms that I hold so dear!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Compost the easy way..

This post is very overdue, at least for those that were wondering what happened to the worms.  The worms are kind of awesome and boring at the same time.  You take your kitchen scraps and paper and feed them and they do their worm thing.  Not a lot to it really.  No smell, no mess. 

I recently harvested my first bin and bucket of compost tea!


It’s really rather amazing to think that this was all manner of food stuff.  Banana peels, strawberry tops, carrot parts, potatoes that had gone bad, coffee ground with the paper filter (unbleached, organic) egg shells you name it.  All just put in with the worms covered with shredded personal documents and paper that you keep moist.  I was so careful to make sure that no worms were harmed in harvesting as there were a few in there.  I left it sitting out in the light for a few hours and they migrated down to the container below.  I also double and triple checked when I dumped it into my trug to mix with potting soil for my deck planter boxes.


The ‘tea’ again has no smell and is super packed with nutrients for your plants.  I mixed the tea with water and gave all my house plants a good long drink!

So there you have it!  The worms are thriving, my plants are happy and I’m loving having a eco-friendly way to get rid of my kitchen scraps!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Fenced and Rocking..

A beautiful weekend weather wise here at Logs End made it possible for us to finish the deer fence.
With the leaves on the trees you can’t even see the fence, but me, I know it’s there and I couldn’t be happier.  Okay, that’s not true if ALL the work was done, ALL the plants were moved, I’d be happier!  One step at a time though.  Right?
While Randy finished tweaking the fence I dealt with the issues of the 4” of rain that came this past week sending mud pouring into my ‘dry’ stream bed and pond.   
I dug out the area directly under the eaves of the gazebo roof because it was seriously pouring off there.  I filled the area with rocks so that it want be able to wash the dirt out anymore. I made a berm with the dirt in the hopes that any water that comes from under the gazebo will hit the the low spot and drain away and not wash over the berm.  I moved some plants around and hope that as things fill in, problems with water on this side will slowly fade away…

I decided that the ‘dry’ stream that got buried under mud with the rain, wasn’t going to work like I wanted.  I want to keep the mud and water from running down in between the bog and stream so I decided to make the ‘dry’ stream more of a bank.  About halfway through I decided I didn’t like it.  It’s too much rock.  Hey, as the creator of this mess, I’m allowed to change my mind!  So I decided to work on something else.
I pulled all the honeysuckle vines, briars and roses up,  I cut down the scrub trees and then I got out my new shredder (with a little help from Randy) and used it to grind up leaves and sticks.  That thing makes saw dust, not mulch and it also shoots it a long way.  Wasn’t what I was expecting, but it does the job.  There is just so much more to do..
One step at a time. Right?

Friday, May 16, 2014

The final stretch..

If you hear me singing, please fence me in..don't be alarmed.
With just 300’ feet left the deer fence will be up and in place. We will still have the ‘decorative’ fence and the very important gate to install after that last run is done.  We finally agreed on a style that we both liked and that is different from what most have in their yards around here.  It will hopefully look something like this…
Times 2 of course and wider for the tractor to be able to get through.  I’ll plant something lovely to climb the trellis, maybe our native honeysuckle because the hummingbirds love it and it can ‘almost’ be evergreen sometimes.
The massive under taking of moving plants from front to back will get going quickly as we picked up the master structure plan last night.  The design is heavy with edibles for the wildlife that will continue to have access to the fenced in area.  The perennials will almost all come from my existing collection, Randy was delighted that I had more than half of what they suggested.
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I like that the planting areas bigger, that sooo many native trees and shrubs were included, that they thought about things that we hadn’t.  Screening the base of the deck steps with evergreen shrubs, putting a screen of shrubs along the fence line at the front and between us and our other neighbors and screening the heat pumps with plants instead of lattice.  There are things missing for me though, a path that meanders through the entire area,  a memorial garden for our lost pets and the little nooks that every garden needs for that magical feel.  The plan is just like a recipe that I can tweak to make my own, it’s the basic building blocks to make something special.
So now if the weather will just get it’s act together we can finish the fence and I can take my new tools and my plan and get cooking!
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Rock On…

We’ve been on a roll… with rocks.

I was doing a little digging for a project and I hit a rock.  Randy said oh it’s small you can pop it right out, an hour later I was still digging around it.  When I finally popped it out, it was a boulder not a little rock!
My little project was a dry stream bed on the back side of the pond. That 8” of rain made a mess of the pond and this area.  My ‘thought’ was that a dry stream bed would help if something like that ever happened again.  Initially I wanted to make it deeper and wider, but the plumbing for the bog and pond are on the left and the stupid underground fence for the dogs is on the right.  Of course I didn’t know this until AFTER I had dug it all out!  So I ended up filling it back in, leaving a smallish trench, putting down landscape fabric and filling it with river rock.  I need a little more and some smaller sizes to fill in the gaps.  I seriously thought about turning it into a path as well, who knows.  That’s the beauty of gardening, to some extent it’s all very fluid.  

Rock on!

Friday, May 9, 2014

I can see clearly now..

The muck, mud, leaves and who knows what else is gone!
From the pond that is.
Living Waters finally got out to take care of a much needed deep cleaning for us and I’m so happy that it happened AFTER that monsoon of rain filled it with mud, sticks, leaves and all kinds of stuff on top of the string algae, muck and yuck that was already in there.
Nick (I’m having good luck with guys named Nick these days) set up two blue pools to fill with water, since the water itself was pretty clear.  He caught my 3 surviving gold fish, 2 minnows and 8 bull frogs, 4 of which were bigger than both my hands put together.
Here’s the sludgey mess that he was mucking about in. Yuck!  It didn’t smell so good either, but he prevailed, one bucket at a time.  After he got out all the solid stuff he pressure washed everything down, reset all the rocks that had been knocked into the pond and he even installed 3 pond lights that we’ve had for years waiting to be installed!
Here’s the pond all clean, clear and full.  Now I just need a half pallet of field stone to finish the edging and we are all set!  Oh and to be sure we get the net on the pond and over the bog and stream this year BEFORE the leaves get in!!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Before & After

Today’s post is all about the befores and the afters…enjoy!
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This before is a year ago, Spring showers and all that jazz, flooding our front walk.  We’ve had drainage issues for a long time and they’ve only gotten worse over the years.  Having to take your dogs out through the garage every single time it rains because the pond stays for a day or so after and the mud lasts longer than that, well it was time to fix it, plus it was UG-LY!  The constant ponding of water and flooding have destroyed the front area, you can still see the mud spot right at the front edge of the walk.  Oh and the poor grass, doesn’t stand a chance.  It’s also not a secret that I HATE those landscape timbers!
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Ready for the after?
How’s that for a improvement! I wish I could say that we did this on our own, but the only credit I can take is for the paver choice, the wall choice and the landscaper choice!  Acer Landscaping & Nursery did all the hard manual labor and I love them!  Nick is the best ever and he will be coming back in the fall to do some more work for us and if I have my way even before that!!
In addition to the pavers, they did some grading to help direct any water and seeded this area for grass. It looks so much better already!
Before my flower bed with those heinous landscape timbers. (No they didn’t change the beds any, we cut those hollies down due to deer damage)
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After with this beautiful fieldstone wall!  This new wall just fits me and my style so much better.  I want every bed that is next to the house to have this as it’s edge!  I just LOVE it!!!
Before (and this isn’t the most recent look!) this was a bushy mess of stinky boxwoods and an over grown Japanese holly.  I love evergreens, but this thing had made it’s way into the drive and had gotten so woody that there wasn’t much evergreen to it!
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I know this ‘after’ doesn’t look like much, but here’s the kicker, they moved MY plants for me!  The twiggy shrub to the back is a Kousa Dogwood that grew on it’s own far to close to my deck and it needed a new home.  The arching shrub is a poorly pruned (last years fiasco in gardening help) Spirea that needed a new home with more sun.  The little shrub there is a lily of the valley shrub (pieris japonica) that will grow up and be a medium size evergreen.  I’ll be adding mulch, spring bulbs and some other perennials.
Before the poor lopsided Christmas tree that Randy’s parents planted.  It wasn’t their fault that it grew lopsided, the trees behind it blocked all the sun and so it never filled out on the back.  As it got taller it looked worse and worse.  Randy cut it down a while ago and we had a big bare patch there.
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The after shows Randy’s rock.  Another lily of the valley shrub (pieris japonica), and 3 shrubs of mine that they moved.  A French lilac and 2 Crepe Myrtles.  I’ll do the same here with spring bulbs, perennials and mulch.  Our poor dogwood is struggling, so I’m thinking of getting a pink one to plant near it to take ever when it finally succumbs.  Anything that gets planted in the two new spots is going to be deer PROOF!
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I don’t like plastic edging, this has been here since we moved in.  It was time for it to go and since I had some leftover from the projects that were just completed, I went to work so this is the before.
Here’s the after.
I like this so much better, I love rocks, boulders, fieldstone as edging and accents!
So there you have it!  Things they are improving around here and I’m really excited about that!!!

The Lost Season

The weather this gardening season has not been conducive to gardening.  We had cold weather up through May.  Then the rains came and contin...