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With the initial year’s build out of the little house gardens wrapped up, thoughts turn to fall monitoring and clean up. The new gardens now just need continual weeding as the mulch bed settles in.

There were no gardens at the little house when we bought it, only grass and trees. Year 1 (last fall), while we were doing the reno on the inside, my husband put 5 daylilies in a front grassy area by the sidewalk. That’s where I began the build out this spring, using sedum transplants from an overgrown area in the townhouse gardens. Here’s what that front area looks like now.

It looks like all five daylilies survived, and the three sedum divisions are doing well. I can’t do much more there until we decide on next step home improvements – front porch, siding …

Putting mulch in all the garden areas somehow stopped the deer from munching. I don’t understand that, but my latest theory is that the deer might not care for the smell. I’m just thankful. As long as that continues to work I will stay that course.

I had considered hiring for the landscape build out, but I kept running into roadblocks. I’m happy now that happened. I am enjoying a new process I hadn’t even considered before – the lasagne style build out. Cardboard right on top of the grass, plants in soil, cover with 3-4″ mulch. The transplants, rootings, and cuttings all seem to be doing well with that method. I make sure to give them a good initial watering, and then follow up with watering as needed.

Yesterday’s post showed the completion of the garage to shed area build out for the year. There is a tree that needs to come out yet, and then the rest of the shed side can be finished next year.

As is my nature in projects, I do a test, observe results, and build in layers. That’s what happened on a larger scale in the back gardens. It went from all grass, to a 4′ x 5′ area on the shed side, to a 2′ addition on that side, to a 4′ x 8′ start on the garage side, then hopped the sidewalk to the back of the house where I put in 3 weigelia rootings, and then back to the garage side where I finished up yesterday. Here’s a few pics of the progression.

In the little house gardens, I decided to use grass paths. That will be way less maintenance, and we can just do one mower pass through there. Plus, call me daring, but the lawn at the little house is old, and full of up north flowering weedy things I actually like, so a bit of that along the path is something I liked the look of this year. Reminds me of the wildflower nature areas along the shore, in miniature.

Next year’s plans are to start a garden at the back of the yard and move the alpine currant and the weigelia rootings there. That will free up the current weigelia garden area. If I then make a parallel garden up by the house along the second long downspout, those two garden areas would flank the area where we sit out. I envision hosta and daylily tiered hedges there. I love that combo, and there is just enough, but not too much sun there to nurture both. The mulch should also help.

There is also a thought floating around in my brain to start a sedum hedge on the side of the house, but that might have to be a “slow to go” project. I am no spring chicken, and a couple advil were needed after yesterday’s build out work.

All this depends on the deer continuing to leave the mulched gardens alone. They do seem to be eating the apples from the apple trees, and that’s great. Less for me to clean up.

So at the little house, year 2, initial build out, there is now monitoring left this fall, and at some point, daylily and hosta greens cutback. I plan to leave the sedum standing until spring, as a test, to see if the birds and bunnies enjoy that winter snack.

7 bags of mulch later

The weather up north is getting chilly. Fall is here. The window for transplanting is not very far out.

Before (Sandy, our dog, was supervising)

After

The additions were four Blue Mouse Ears hosta divisions (left front), one large Praying Hands hosta (center), a lot of cardboard underlayment, and seven bags of mulch.

The garden build out up north is for all purposes now done for the year, as well as prepped to receive 2022 daylily seedlings (pollinator creations) and sedum cuttings (propagation) next year. I may bring up a few more daylilies, a sedum or two, and another clump of Blue Mouse Ears to divide over the right side of the Praying Hands hosta yet this fall, but I’m happy as is if I don’t.

My husband is not keen on transplanting the clematis, so those are still at the townhouse. We’ll see if they make the shift.

The alpine currant is still by the shed. It’s a bit too late to move it now, so next spring that will move to the back of the yard.

The weigelia rootings are doing awesome! If they survive the winter, they may also get moved to the back of the yard. I’m now dreaming of daylilies and hostas along both long gutter extensions.

I honestly never thought the gardens would be this far, but I am very pleased the foundations are now in place to build on.

Rest well, new gardens.

It’s a tough call

This past weekend we “escaped” what was supposed to be a very rainy Saturday at home and headed to see how the thaw is going up north.  We brought Sandy along to walk the land for the first time.  He loved every sniff, and thoroughly wore himself out.

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Afterward we drove to Duluth to check out how the big lake (Superior) looked.  There is still plenty of ice and snow along the shore in Canal Park.

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We also learned that Sandy is not a fan of seagulls.  Little dog, big noisy birds …  He was ready to be done with that visit!

Back home, it is supposed to be a rainy week.  I have a tough call.  Some time soon I need to get the (now huge again) hibiscus back outdoors so I have room to start my seedlings for up north.  The nighttime forecast is calling for temperatures just shy of 40°F all week.  It will probably be next weekend until I can make that shift.  It’ll be tight on time but it should still work.  Up north there is still snow/rain in the forecast this week.  We’re looking at around a month, maybe more, until seedlings can safely be put out up there.

All in good time.

Our “Guest in the Garden” gets a promotion

WHAT!!!???

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Yup, it’s true.  Since I started working from home, our “guest in the garden” has gotten a new set of responsibilities, and a promotion.  He is no longer a guest.  He is now the full-time monitor of the garden, and, more importantly, the office manager.

About an hour into the day he comes in to the office to make sure everything is up to snuff, then returns to his garden monitoring activities (and occasionally a snooze). When I call in for meetings, he hears the speaker phone and comes running to circle around on his office blankie and listen in.   And at the end of the day he reminds me not to over-work by prancing and sneezing to ask for his walk.

Sandy’s contributions have been invaluable and he has worked very hard for this promotion.  Everyone please congratulate Sandy and welcome him to the team full-time.  Please feel free to reach out to him if you have questions about the squirrels, ducks, birds, and bunnies.