Saturday, March 7, 2015


I'm just not good at posts with pictures; waiting to get pictures of things means the things don't get posted. So here's a post with a lot of text instead.

 I have two big outdoor goals this year: to no longer need to mow the front slope, and to encourage more pollinators to hang out here. I've been working on both of them in the last few weeks! Saturday of last week was the annual King Conservation District native plant sale. I preordered a few things, and then went down there with H so we could both buy some stuff in the walk-up sale too. Now, looking at the prices on the website, I thought "well, that's a little high but reasonable," and ordered two blue elderberries and one mock orange. Then we got to the sale, and we discovered that I had ordered two bundles etc, and that each bundle was 10 bare-root plants. We promptly strategically divided our lists so we didn't repeat species, and bought bundles of a bunch of other stuff too.

 But then we have the best problem ever: so many plants that need to get in the ground! And it's a beautiful weekend! So for the rest of Saturday we worked in H's tiny back yard, where we moved around clumps of rosemary and oregano to make room for various exciting berries. She also gave me two of her rose bushes, since she's really short of space and I'm not so much, and when I got home I plopped those into the front garden bed beside the driveway, which has had a big blank spot in it ever since the old heating oil tank came out of its underground lair.

Sunday it was my turn.

I have a shy quarter-acre, stretched out in a rough rectangle with the short side abutting the street; it's roughly 60 feet wide, and probably 15 feet of that is the driveway+tiny strip on the far side of it. So according to math, that's a space roughly 45 feet wide between the driveway and the other property line. The house sits somewhere around the center of the lot, which means the front yard is deep, too. And about half of it is level, before it starts to slope down to the street. Mowing the slope is awful.

But it's a pretty big chunk of space, too. We got to work on pulling up the top layer of sod, and made it all the way across one shovelful wide, and then realized just how big a job we were staring at. New plan: we'd just break up enough dirt that day to get the plants in the ground. We deepened that first row to two shovelfuls wide, then changed direction and did a row down the slope beside the driveway. That... might do for now. We planted mock oranges and red-flowering currants along the driveway and oregon grapes interspersed with snowberries across the slope-top. (Later I put some of the blue elderberries there, further down the line.) Red elderberries and indian plums went in the backyard, near where we'd recently killed a rhododendron with a reciprocating saw to make room for blueberry bushes. (I'm lucky to have H around for my aggressive gardening adventures, no lie.) The indian plums went in a spot vacated by a gooseberry, which got trucked around to the front yard to stand guard over the skinny wrong-side-of-the-driveway strip. Hopefully it'll be happier this year with more sunlight, and the indian plums are naturally found in forests, so likely they won't mind the shade too much.

It was such an exhausting weekend. I felt so good. (I also ordered a truckload of mixed topsoil with compost and sand, to amend the clay-ish muck that lurks a few inches below the surface of most of my property.)

This weekend there's a birthday party to go to, and poor H is off to some terrible overtime gig in the hinterlands, so there will likely be no more heavy lifting. HOWEVER it's about time to start early seeds outside, so I have done so! [Note to self: after a very mild winter, the first week of March 2015 saw hard frosts every night.]

Lists for my own notekeeping purposes, mostly:
Herb garden: valerian, poppies, bees' friend, probably a few random annuals, sunflowers back against the wall.
Vegetable garden, flat: buttercrunch lettuce, cosmic purple carrot, rainbow swiss chard, cascadia snap pea. also bees' friend, poppies, marsh mallow, and sunflowers against the fence.
Vegetable garden, raised bed: half-long guernsey parsnips, early purple vienna kohlrabi.
Flower beds up front: more valerian, more poppies, sweet william, linaria (toadflax) fairy bouquet mix, imperialis sweet sultan mix, yet more bees' friend, a few experimental tries at marsh mallow.

Quite frankly with the flower beds my goal is to establish a few attractive perennials and a variety of low-maintenance self-seeding annuals, things i can count on to help out with feeding the helpful bugs a thriving garden needs. Last summer I discovered I had calendula and pansies in there, and I hope that the borage I got going seeded itself successfully. "Riot of pretty colors" is much more my aesthetic than "elegant arrangement," I admit.

The first blossoms on my dwarf peach tree opened today, despite the frosts. How's your garden looking?


  1. Glad to here you are getting growing there! Still waiting for the snow to melt here :)

  2. Having too many plants to plant really does sound like the best problem ever!

    My garden is still covered in snow, but the sun in shining and it's only a matter of time....