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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My 5th Anniverary... of my garden

I started gardening when I bought our house in 2005 – that translates into 5 growing seasons. In knowledgeable years, however, it might as well have been 1905 since I hardly recognize some of the garden beds or the clueless person who bought it all.

My first summer in the house, I took about 20 photos of the yard. In 2008, I took over 300. But nothing seems more valuable than those photos from 2005-2006 where I can look at the garden and see what I have done (or haven’t done) in such a short time.

2005

2009

And although I have more beds to reclaim, weeds to kill, and ground cover to land manage, so much has been done in such a short time that I feel as though this garden is now officially mine (even though it was inherited.)

The nicest thing said to me this year was from my husband. He said, “Rosemarie, the garden’s looked the best since we’ve moved here. You’ve done so much.” Then he smiled and said, “Now you can relax and take some time off.” Time off? That’s crazy talk, I wanted to say, why would I ever want time off from this.

Taking over someone else’s yard in some ways was the best thing for me as a newbie gardener. Sure, I messed up some perfectly fine garden beds when I went through my “I hate coniferous shrubs” phase, but that’s all behind me now. And how un-fun would gardening be if I couldn’t put some blame on the old owners with the obligatory shake of the head, “I don’t know why they planted these here!”

In 2006, after I decided not to bulldoze the entire yard, I started this blog. I figured I needed a place to record all this work I was doing (it was work then). Going back to blog posts and looking at pictures has been the best thing that I could have done.

What’s more satisfying than seeing your work, saying I did this, showing it to people, gathering flowers from your yard, picking that ripe pesticide-free tomato off the vine…

Friday, May 14, 2010

20 minutes a day...

With the belly growing day by day (I'm now 28 weeks along), gardening has taken a back seat.

I thought I could just let my husband do the work while I pointed to things, but no. I like to get my hands dirty; I like to prune, pull, and propagate. I like to stand back and watch the fruits of my labor grow into bigger and better things (I am still talking about plants here). But I can't do too much, as my body is not letting me cooperate.

So I got inspired reading one of my Chicagoland Gardening magazines where Mike Nowak took care of a small piece of his property in 20 minutes (basically showing that in 20 minutes you can clean up a small space, as to not get overwhelmed).

I can do 20 minu ... and before I could finish that thought I was out with my pruners in hand.

I tackled the west side garden:
  • pruned the lilac growing into the house
  • pulled out groundcover growing into the walkway (vinca, lilly-of-the-valley)
  • pulled weeds
  • pruned spent flowers off lungwart
  • pulled out any clematis not growing upward (so that my neighbor could get into her backyard without danger of getting lost)
And now I could just stand back and look, and smile. One small (but very large) task done.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why leaving tags on plants is a good thing.

So you can find the plant the rabbits have chomped down.

Yes, this is Hydrangea quercefolia 'Little Honey' which I bought and planted last year. It grew to a nice height and then... it disappeared under the snow only to re-emerge as... a stump. If I didn't have the name-tag still attached (silly me) I wouldn't have realized what had happened.

I am officially a rabbit hater.