Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Ugly, The Bad & The Good…

..well let’s hope that you’ve learned your lesson this time…
*warning lots of pictures*
We will start with the ugly.  These are the things that should never be done!
It didn’t occur to anyone to put down a tarp for the crush and run or the mulch?  So into the driveway it went, the reason I say this is ugly because now our driveway is full of mulch and crush and run and it will have to be raked with the stone rake on the tractor.  Next in an attempt to clean it up, they blew mulch and GRAVEL into my flower bed, that now I have to rake out! 
Remember this beautiful picture?
Even with the leaves, the woodland poppies and daffodils were pretty.  Well that’s not the case now..
Instead of removing leaves by rake or by hand they chose a jet engine and guess what, it decapitated almost all of my flowers.  Were it not for the two glasses of wine I’ve already had this post would be filled with some very colorful language!
Long before any work was started I spent a few hours cleaning the pine bark path off, by hand.  All the leaves had been removed, but I guess that wasn’t good enough as someone blew all the pine bark away.
And buried the plants in the back with at least some of it…
Here you can see the gravel and the crap piled up around the base of the daffodils, the entire front half of the bed is like that where they blew it in an attempt to clean up the mess of mulch and crush and run.
The bed in the the middle of the driveway didn’t fair much better heavy blowing left a lot of my plants bent over, some will recover this season, many won’t.  The mulch was dumped and buried some plants completely and others partially.  Broken and uprooted flowers fill this bed and the one at the front porch and it breaks my heart.  It will take me days to sort through all of this and I've got to get the mulch away from the crowns of the plants so they don't rot.
Now for the bad..
Two pine trees, one they ignore, one they mulch??
Nit picky?  Maybe.  I don’t like that they dumped small pieces behind the wall or that they stacked small pieces on top of the wall.  Just ask me where I want them instead of leaving me more work!  I asked did they need another pallet of stone, no he said.  Yes! they did so that the top stones would be large ones.  I'd rather have extra left over than this.  I told them they would need to back fill in a few spots, no they said we won’t.  Guess what, yeah it needs to be back filled which means us hauling dirt from the pile..Oh yeah about that pile.


They said there wouldn’t be much dirt and sod, they said we could reuse the sod because they were using a sod cutter. Next they asked where to put the extra dirt.  The back corner I said, but don’t leave a huge pile as Cooper runs back there. Oh no we won’t do that,  I was told that they were going to rake it out but when faced with the task, they asked if they could use our tractor to take care of it.  Seriously??  So now Randy will be cleaning up that mess, the driveway mess.

I had asked for them to remove the pachysandra and been told yes, but then when I brought it up was told that he hadn’t planned on doing that but would mulch I said that makes no sense!  The weeds and the pachysandra need to come out before spreading mulch. (Not that I was jazzed at the idea of them spreading mulch in this bed after the fiasco in the front!)
So and Randy took care of removing the pachysandra in about 10 minutes.
The good…
The beds that were edged, that didn’t have many plants were mulched nicely and look fantastic.  The two maples they planted are great too.
He had a great idea and transplanted a bunch of my ostrich ferns to ensconce the fire pit.  They were so pretty waving in the breeze and I like that it softens the wall and I love the smell of ferns!
Wow, wow, wow!  This area is totally transformed and I love it.  Yes I can still see the heat pumps peeking through those poor azaleas that have been eating to death by the deer but hopefully they will leaf out some more.  I love the border, I love the plantings I just love all of it!  I have hated staring at that wall for years!
This border is wonderful, not happy with a few bits and pieces of it, but overall this turned out great and does what I needed; it makes it easier to mow around, will keep the mulch in and looks nice!

What I’ve learned from all of this is that it can be a landscaper, landscape designer or even a landscape architect.  It doesn’t seem to matter at all who I call, it all ends the same way, me just not being completely happy, especially with mulching.  I get it really I do, no one and I mean no one (except maybe my Mom!) is going to do things the way I do.  I’ve often joked that I learned gardening through osmosis, as my Mom had me in the dirt as far back as I can remember.  I’ve worked at nurseries and I’ve gardened to some extent for at least the last 30 years of my life, so I’ve got a some experience in this world.  If it’s a plain bed that has few plants, a new bed with no plants, or a need for transplants of big plants, you are probably safe. Get into detail mulching, cleaning out of beds and specific garden goals and in all seriousness, you are just better off doing it yourself.  I was so happy to get help to take care of things that I just didn’t have time to take care of.  Now I’ve got less time because I’ve got to fix the things that got messed up by the people I paid to do it right..
Lesson, seriously, learned!

Let’s try this…again???

you’re insane you realize that?  you are going to bring someone in to do work in your garden after the last time???

There are some jobs that are just too big for me to do alone and while Randy will help when he can, I can’t continue to wait.  I need to get things moving forward so that I can get moving forward at a quicker pace!  So I went looking for someone to do a few jobs around here that I just can’t do alone and that I just can’t wait on anymore.  I met him today, a very nice, young man and I’m hopeful!


Monster job number one.  Build a lovely multicourse field stone wall from one end of the deck to the other side of the sun room.  This requires digging down and putting a nice base of crush and run and then building the wall, like 75’ in length.  When he’s done it will be one nice half circle that will be easy to mow around and that the mulch will stay in.


Job number two another lovely field stone wall running from the deer fence to the back corner of the house.  He’s going to transplant all the azaleas from the front to this area and add a few more plants to hide those heat pumps.  When I’m sitting in the gazebo or by the pond I won’t be looking at that sad spot anymore and no longer will I have to battle the weeds and grass!


See all these lovely ostrich ferns.  He’s going to move them for me, he came up with an idea and Randy liked it.  He said he’d never thought of doing that and that if I’d suggested it, he probably would have said no.  He’s going to take all of these and create a bed around the fire pit, intriguing…

In addition to these 3 tiny little projects, he’s taking on the big boys up front too. He’s going to weed, edge and mulch all of the beds out there.  He’s going to clean up the bed that the azaleas are coming out of and and plant some lovely ornamental Japanese maples in there.  (Low maintenance, I like it.) I told him if this works out, I’ll keep him busy for a very, very long time and I meant it!  I’ve got other large plants that I’d love to move and other ideas I’d love to bring to fruition.  Getting someone here that I can work with and feel comfortable around would be fantastic.

So here. We. Go..  again…

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Weekend workings..


what you should do is move everything from the front yard to the back

That little voice that gets me into big trouble is at it again. Each time I go out front to do anything I see all the plants that are on these islands that are here and there and I think, you know, I’d really love to get rid of most of these islands…

Friday I worked on moving more hosta to the back, I have since found more that have to be relocated, as well as a few other plants. 


This is how things were shaping up on Friday.  Hosta and ragwort had been placed along my log edging. I can see it in my mind with the hosta growing large and proud gracefully draping over the edge, the ragwort filling in and blooming with it pretty little daisy like flowers….

Sorry, I got day dreamy there for a second, my mom gave me a tray of iris plants and I got those planted on Friday.  I have no idea what color they will be, but I like happy surprises like that.  This area by the pond is starting to fill in very nicely I like seeing plants spreading on their own.


Saturday it was raw, cloudy and it was supposed to rain and so I didn’t go out.  Of course the rain didn’t come till Saturday night, so basically I lost a day and had to attempt to make up for lost time on Sunday.  As soon as it hit 40 I was in my layers and out the door.


The collecting of limbs and logs from inside the fence was priority number one for me.  I’ve been scanning the woods and see plenty that I can go and collect that are outside the fence line. I need a power cart!  When Randy made it outside he went to work on grinding sticks and bringing the chips over to spread along the path. (It might take years to cover the paths, but it isn’t like we are going to run out of sticks) 


I moved the rocks from the path edge to use where I have flowers planted in the woods.  They get bumped with the cart too much to leave them close to where it rolls but in side the planting areas they will be safe.  I’m still contemplating what to do with the leaves.  (Leave them or use my shredder to shred and then re-spread)


In an attempt to follow the plan we had drawn up (at least a little) last year, the path is supposed to fork off and give access to the yard again.  So here is that in the works, I’ve got some scrub shrubs to take down on the right hand side.  I’m however in no rush to take away all the perch and hide places for the birds, since the feeders are right there on the left.  Once I get a couple of evergreens over there, I’ll be more inclined to cut down the weedy stuff.


This is just one of those things that makes me smile.  The deer eat these and leave nothing, so seeing them as real plants and knowing that I might get to see blooms is very encouraging. 

Cooper worked harder than anyone out there today..


                  I think that’s what dog tired looks like….

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Woodchip Wednesday

Yes, I’m back with another blog post.  Why am I not outside you wonder?  Well I was, I went out a little after 8 am and worked like a gardener possessed, but then the weather came.  Which in all honesty was probably the only thing that was going to get me to stop working outside as, I’m a little hard headed like that.

I have in my head a million and one garden plans.  I committed myself (and probably should be committed!) to spending as much time outside as I possibly can.  Today I tackled the wood chip pile and the spreading of the woodchips behind the pond.  We had some trees taken down and they asked could they leave the woodchips and I said sure.  At first I was going to use them for the paths, but decided that was way too much work. Ha!  When I started out this morning I was happy and full of get up and go, go, GO!  By the time I got done my go was gone and I was actually glad the rain was starting!


I started at the front end down by the bog.


I worked my way back around to the front by the steps of the gazebo.


Finished it all off by stacking those fieldstones.  Now I’ve got a couple places that need a little more but wow did it make a huge difference in how it looks over there.


I decided that along this edge I’m going to plant some of the hosta that are being relocated as well as woodland poppies and some ragwort.  This area is a tough place for anything to grow so I need plants that are tenacious!  You can also see that I started my log edging Smile


That’s sort of cool looking isn’t it, I think it makes a good edge too.  For some reason I look at it and it makes me think of a stream bed coming out of a mountain.  I’m contemplating getting some of those blue glass stones and some blue glow in the dark stones and filling it in with them.  Hmm, maybe I’ll put a tiny gnome or faerie nearby, maybe even a faerie door….

Natures Blessings..

There are so many beautiful and wondrous things to see.  I’m full of nothing but gratitude when it comes to where I live and the gifts that my Mom passed on to me.  Love of gardening, love of all of nature and the ability to connect with the earth in this amazing relationship!  I truly feel sorry for the people in the world that just never stop and take the time to see the marvels around them…


This is a dogwood called Golden Shadows, I got it oh like 3 or 4 years ago (could be longer!) with my mom at a plant sale.  It was just a stick and the poor thing didn’t stand a chance because the deer would eat any new growth that appeared. Look at that variegation, look at the depth of the grooves on the leaves, it’s even more beautiful in person!  I can’t wait to find a prime spot for it in the ground!


Apparently I’m on Mother Nature’s good side right now because she gave me this gift!  At first I thought it was a poppy but under closer inspection the leaf looks like a tulip.  In any case it is just beautiful and I have no idea where it came from! 


I just love snakes!  I was raised by a Mom who believed that I shouldn’t be afraid of nature.  I grew up with a respect for the things that could inflict pain but not a fear of any of them.  I am always finding these little snakes in the leaf matter and today in the wood chip pile.  There were actually two but taking a picture of a snake with one hand when he’s trying to hide in between your fingers was tricky enough.  My other favorite thing to ‘play’ with when I’m moving leaves or wood chips are the huge black beetles called horned passalus. These things are so cool because they kind of squeak when you hold them, I mean come on how cool is that a beetle that can make noise!!!  I didn’t get a picture though because when it started squeaking Cooper got really interested.


This is my lovely woodland bed all a bloom with woodland poppies, daffodils, snow drops, hellebores and trilliums.  It such a bright and happy sight, it’s nice to see it like this, it sadly won’t last because the deer, when desperate will eat all the woodland poppies (it’s in the unfenced zone) but for now, it’s so pretty.


Directly across is another bed in full bloom, bleeding hearts, hellebores and Virginia bluebells were all swaying in the breeze.   Or maybe from the buzzing of all the bees!  They love the Virginia bluebells and the plants almost humm, from all the activity.  When a bumblebee buzzed past Coopers head he jumped and tried to chase it.  I’m not sure what he thought he was going to do if he caught it!

The weather changed from sunny, breezy and 70.  To pouring down rain and insane winds that made the trees roar.  I sat and watched the trees dance, listened to the rain pounding and thought wow, I really am blessed….

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Garden goings..

Monday saw the sale of all of my Langstroth beekeeping supplies.  If I ever go down that road again it will be top bar only.  I was happy to see it go and the guy that bought it all was delighted to take it!  The rains came Monday evening and brought in much cooler temperatures and wind for today.  That didn’t stop Cooper from wanting to be outside on the deck though!


I have to admit to being so incredibly glad that he likes being outside!  It makes life so much easier to be able to go out and know he’s content to lay on the deck or on his other bed nearby. 

I’ve got so many plans and projects for the gardens, I need a few more versions of myself out there to do the work.  Today I took care of a project that wasn’t any fun at all, moving rocks.


Now, my original plan for these rocks was edging that looks like this, but with a catch, I want to set it in mortar so that they don’t sink into the ground.  Rocks here have a tendency to disappear in one season so a nice cut edge, a little mortar and river rock would make a great edge for separating the gardens from the grass.  These borders are only going to be for the gardens that we are creating in the wooded areas that are in the deer fenced part of the yard.


One of the places I had to gather rocks from (because someone took some of my really nice river rocks to use!) was where the overflow pipe is.  Those rocks were under several inches of mud because the area continues to wash, it’s just a natural slope for all the water that runs through the yard to go into this area.


Well I came up with the brilliant idea to turn this into a dry stream bed.  It will be a nice addition to the area and it will allow the water to wash through without getting muddy and gross. It could look something like this..

web Jan Johnsen Dry Stream  4

Which I think would look SO much better than it does now..


Now that all the small rocks are up from around the path edges and the pond area, I’ve got lots of little things I can do.  The bigger rocks will need to be relocated and I suspect some can be used for the dry stream bed.


I also have to collect as many of the large limbs that have fallen as I can find to use to edge the paths.  I’m going for this look..


Isn’t that a path you’d want to walk down!  Hey if I’m dreaming my dreams are going to be big ones.  I really wonder what the heck the people do with all their leaves!

The Lost Season

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