Tag Archives: secret garden

Just a Little Walk Around the Gardens

October 26, 2010


We’re in the bowels of autumn now. I tore myself away from the computer to go out and see how my gardens have been doing. I ignored them ALL spring and summer. Thank God gardens bounce back. I will attend to them in the spring.

My Secret Garden looks very forlorn.


Leaves collecting on the porch steps. I had every intention of painting the porch this summer, but the kitchen renovation got in the way. lol. I am glad we did the kitchen, though. It needed it. The porch can wait.


My turtleheads are tired. Their bloom time was short this year. I hardly noticed.


The Rose of Sharon pods. I love Rose of Sharon, but woo! can it spread. I did not pull out all the little saplings that shot up over the summer. Its gonna be fun yanking them out next spring. Looks like more are on the way, too. I like Rose of Sharon because the bushes grow thickly and shield the view of the neighbor’s buildings.


Overgrown Swiss Chard in the garden.


And poor, poor Livvy, stuck in the house while the leaves are having all the fun!


How does it look where you are?

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Raking Season Almost Over

November 2, 2009


We had some terrific windstorms last week and over the weekend. We usually do every late October/early November. What a site! People’s trash cans, litter, assorted clothing and tarps.. everything that wasn’t nailed down was blowing around the neighborhood. :S

Despite the inconvenience, the winds are nice because they usually blow off the last of the leaves, the ones that have been tenaciously clinging to life on the trees. This comes just in time, just as we down below are sick and tired of wondering how many more days we’re stuck raking raking raking. So the leaves blew down, finally, and we have only a little bit of the final raking to do. I’m glad the kid like to rake… but me thinks they fool around too much while they do so. šŸ˜‰ Here’s the leaf sphinx that preoccupied them for an afternoon:

Leaf Pyramid

It takes a while to rake up the yard– usually about 3 weeks, on and off. I think we finally got all the leaves out of the Secret Garden area. Here are before and after photos.

Autumn Arbor3

Autumn Arbor1

Still left to do: prune and clip perennials (which look very messy not that they are withered and brown), bring in the garden hose, clean out the shed and get out the winter tools, prepare the pets’ homes for winter, and… reinstall our big automatic garage door, which broke. šŸ™ One of our kitties lives in the garage, and since the door broke and had to be removed, he’s been chilly in his home. I hope we can get all this stuff done before the snow flies! How about you, how are you doing with your final preparations for winter?

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Weed Hacking and Building Gardens

July 25, 2009


This yard, where half of it is gravel beneath turf, and the other half is completely waterlogged, is very difficult to cultivate. When we bought the place, it was horribly overgrown. It has been a decade of hacking, digging, sweating, screaming, and crying to plant ANYTHING here. The good thing is that we are old pros now. We know what to expect and are armed with strong iron tools to fight back. Today’s project was no different. I’ve been wanting to do this for 12 years! Today was the day!

There’s a small asphalt walkway in the front of the house. It led to the neighbor’s parking lot (the two properties were once one large lot). We put up a nice fence between the two properties, mostly to keep out the scads of snowmobilers that roared across our yard in the winter. But the asphalt walkway remained, it just led to nowhere! Today, I had one of the kids bust it up and cart the pieces away. Hurray!

Around Tree before 2

Then, we removed the tangled mass of weeds and groundcover. I’m planning on extending my Secret Garden area to this area around the tree.

Around Tree after 2

Before and after:

Around Tree before 1

Around Tree after 1

Around Tree after 3

The pipes are from our sump pumps. We have two pumps running day and night– there’s a LOT of water underground here. If we do not keep pumps going, our basement floods badly. The town has balked at helping us build a basin at the street side, so all we can do is pipe the water up from the basement sump well and into the nearest discharge basin (in the neighbor’s yard). Part of building a massive garden bed is to conceal the pipes under plants. I also want to make it so that we do not have to mow and weed-whap around the pipes all the time, an onerous job. I have plans on plunking down some choice monster-sized hostas here, because it’s so wet and shady. I’ll plant taller, water-loving shrubs in this area, too.

One such plant I have found PERFECT is Purple Loosestrife. It’s hated by many, because it is so invasive. But this plant and I are going to get along very, very well. It SLURPS up water like there’s no end. The plant is hated because it roots otself in waterways, like creeks and streams, and clogs them. For my water-weary yard, this plant is a God-send. I have two plants thriving right now. It’s taken them two years to really get established. I’m looking forward to placing it in my watery areas.

And it looks gorgeous next to my purple Butterfly Bush, doesn’t it?

Purple Loosestrife

So the saga continues…. next time we have another sunny day, we’ll develop this area more. I cant wait to get plants into this area!

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Adding to Our Walkway!

July 16, 2009


We FINALLY got a break in the clouds and rain, enabling us to continue building our Secret Garden walkway. So far, we’ve done this in three stages. This year, we busted sod and removed a good-sized portion of the lawn, adding to this garden. And this allowed us to continue our concrete walkway. It’s looking SO beautiful! I love walking over to this area in the cool of the evening, it’s just a lovely spot. The shrubs will eventually grow up and over the arbor and the walkway, giving the entire side yard a “mysterious” and enchanting atmosphere. When this section is finally done, I think I’m going to mail out birth announcements or something, and throw a party!!!

Here are some photos.

We use the Quikrete concrete mould, and plain old Concrete mix. It works so well!

New Pathway 2

New Pathway 3

New Pathway 5

New Pathway 4

This was all last week. The concrete has now dried to nice white color, matching the rest of the walk. We will eventually build this walkway (and the garden) to fill up this entire area of the lawn, leading up to our garage area at the back of the house.

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My Secret Garden

July 15, 2008


Although my renovations on the house have been spotty the last few years, I have been doggedly working on the gardens around the acre of property. My lot is very long and narrow, with businesses on all four sides of my property. Therefore, building gardens that provide privacy are a must. I am elated at the progress of my gardens! Here are some photos of my prides and joys.

My favorite flower is the lovely Stargazer lily. I have a dozen of them. When my living room windows worked (that is, when they used to open– they are too warped to open now), their fragrance filled the entire house with their intoxicating scent. Ahhhh. I cut a few and brought them inside yesterday. Heavenly.

Stagazer Lily

Here’s a bloom from my Nikko Blue Hydrangeas.

Nikko Blue Hydrangea

I could use some advice from any hydrangea experts– my shrubs don’t bloom very much anymore. I only got two on one shrub, and three on another (all blooms are at the bottom of the plant, as well). In the past, I tried pruning it all the way down. No blooms next year. OK, so the next year, I left everything. No blooms this year. I fertilize with coffee, which gives the blooms a nice blue color, otherwise they are a dusky pink due to the lime in the soil. Anyone have any advice for getting these things to bloom as they ought?

This one I call my secret garden. I am very proud of it’s progress.

Secret Garden

I have lilacs on one side and Rose of Sharon on the other. Eventually, the shrubs will grow taller than the arbor, and shield us from the parking lot next door. That’s why I call it my secret garden– all the plants will overshadow this narrow section of the yard. We are still working on the pathway, lol.

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