Friday, November 1, 2013

The Beginning of the Garden

TGIF! For those who are not familiar with this term, "thank God it's Friday." The weather is windy and a balmy 70 degrees. The temperature is expected to go down into the 50's over night. This morning was stormy with winds blowing at 50 mph according to the evening news. No work for 2 whole day, yeah! Of course there is always work to be done at home. I looked out the upstairs window and was pleasantly surprised to see the leaves had started to fall and change colors in the yard. The maples hanging over the yard are mainly still green. Maybe another couple of days. 

The leaves are coming from these trees. I remember when this tree was cut. It was huge and many bird nested here. There still are many. I have seen a wood pecker, pecking away, cardinals are very common, blue jays, robins, and other birds that I don't know the name of.

I'm waiting for these to turn golden yellow.
 I'm supposed to be blogging but I'm also watching the Victory Garden on television.Today they are visiting the French Quarter in New Orleans. Beautiful courtyard gardens, what I am one day hoping for in my yard. I know the white fence blows that concept. I used to have a wood fence. It was here when I moved in years ago. Through the years as wood does, it eventually decomposed and started to fall down. What did a young mother know about maintaining a wood fence. I'm sure a yearly sealing would have helped but I didn't know. I lived here many years and did nothing with the yard. I was busy working, going to school part time, and being a single mother. Gardening was not a priority with a small child. I have always loved gardening but the task seemed so monumental and  there was little money to be spending on flowers. 

Several years ago my interest in gardening  started to grow. I had some outside space including the yard, a sun porch and flower bed out front, and I love having family over even in my small house and small yard. In spite of how the yard looked we still had family barbeque's during this time. I wanted it to be pretty and welcoming and a place where I could learn to garden and plant some of the things that I liked. At this time I new nothing about choosing plants, flowers, vegetables and shrubs that were appropriate for the conditions in my dappled shade and part sun yard. The soil was clay and nothing had been done to it in years. The previous owner of the house had planted some Spring bulbs, ferns, hosta, and sedum. The ferns were beautiful but through the years they died out, why I don't know. Many of the plants are still here except the ferns which I loved the most.

 Age has a way of changing you. As my daughter grew older and more independent my interest in gardening grew. When she graduated from high school I really had more time for me. I started with the fence. One Winter the middle section fell! Time for a new fence. I regret not getting a vinyl fence with some color but it will be here to stay unless I change it. They make newer vinyl fences in different styles and darker colors. I would have loved another wood fence more ornamental maybe cedar or redwood. Better yet, I would have loved a brick fence. No money for that. So, here is the yard before I really made some effort.

Part of the fence missing. Fell during the Winter. Time to do something. This is the same yard. If I can do something, anyone can do it too, maybe even better.
Lovely, no privacy!
So I got a fence and the neighborhood handy man put it up. He thinks he's a contractor but he's a handy man and it sure looks better. This was my first attempt at planting. My sister helped me dig up large roots of English ivy underground and turn the soil. I did most of the work by the time she showed up. Many roots are still there as large as arms. Ivy can be horrible. To think people try to grow it. I do have a plant in my window box but that's the best way to plant it, in a contained environment not in the ground. There are many areas particularly in this bed where I just can't plant anything because of roots. On the other side of the fence are trees, roots, and ivy. This makes this bed along the fence difficult to plant. That is baby lettuce growing and peppers on the grill. My first vegetable attempt.The tall plant on the right is Mexican Sunflower. It had just started growing.

This was also my first year at seed starting. I grew some of the coleus and the hyacinth bean vine.

If you look back at newer pictures you can see I now have siding on the back of the house. I would love to restore the brick under the shingles but who knows what's under the shingles and the expense would probably have been enormous to remove the shingles, probably add more brick and point it all. I fail to understand why people cover up beautiful brick instead of just pointing and maintaining it? The shingles were here when I bought the house. It's the same in the front of the house. The house was all brick front and back. In the front there is stucco. I work with what I have.
There are so many birds in the yard I thought it would be nice to watch the birds at the feeder. Birds that I didn't want took over and the cardinals had a hard time feeding. The next nemesis were squirrels. They ate more seeds than the birds. 
I posted this before. My first planter I built from scrap wood. I'm thinking of building a better one for next year with better quality wood. In the spot of soil near the hosta was a peach tree. It was small as my hand when my mother gave it to me. When I had my brother cut it down it reached the top of the house. My neighbor complained about the peaches falling in her yard. I can understand that. The first year it bore fruit I had so many peaches. The squirrels also loved it. The stump from the tree is still in the ground so I can't plant deep. I added soil and planted shallow rooted plants. Eventually I guess the root will die. It tried to send up new shoots for several years but I kept it cut. I wold love a fruit tree but this may not have been appropriate for this type of yard attached to neighbors. Maybe when I get those acres in Georgia?
And of course family came to enjoy the yard.
So, what's next for the yard? I would love the ground to be brick. I have 2 window boxes to hang in the back on 2 upstairs windows. They are inexpensive. I bought them this year but did not attempt to hang them. I want to put different bricks on the left with 2 post to sit pots on. I plan to work on this all Winter. I loved the canna this year and will try more although the 1 I put near the fence did not grow tall at all and did not bloom. I don't want more hosta but that is what seems to grow the best out back. I think it will help to give it a lush developed look. I want to do more with coleus in pots where I can't dig into the soil and sit them on the soil in pots. For annual color I will start seedlings of vinca, and impatiens. It would be nice for the bricks to be a family project but I can't see it. The foundation has to be prepared correctly and level so water dosen't  flow into the basement. I also want to pay better attention to my vegetables and water them more in the heat. The tomatoes didn't seem to mind but I didn't get as many cucumbers and the ones that I did stayed on the vine too long. My mind is "ever thinking''of the possibilities, until the temperatures and humidity increase. I then think, what garden and I don't go out in the yard until September. That's not nice but, it's reality. A new season is here. I will hope to do better.

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