Compost?

Last fall when my husband planted the five daylilies in the front of the little house up north, he put the dirt and grass he removed into a plant pot in the garage. Today I was doing the final weeding of the year, and needed a plant pot to throw the weeds in. I dumped the dirt and dry grass into an even larger pot, and went about weeding. When I was done weeding I realized there was a fair amount of mulch I had pulled with the weeds.

Before I had even started weeding I had moved two earthworms from the driveway to the grass. They would have died. They were drying out. I like earthworms. They are great for the soil.

So I had saved a couple earthworms and they were now on their way back to do what they do, I had half a plant pot of weeds and mulch, and some dirt and dry grass in another plant pot. Where did my mind go? Compost.

I put everything together, minus the two worms of course :), put it in an area where I am going to finish a lasagna style garden next year, and walked away knowing I didn’t end up putting all that into the garbage. It’s not official compost, but the weeds and the mulch and the dry grass will mix together with the dirt and the rain that is coming and it will decompose. Go forth and make a good foundation for next year’s completion!

(That tree you see by the base of the shed is coming out. It was there when we bought the house, I didn’t get on that, and my husband knew I was wavering. But that’s no place for a tree, so … )

The last of the 2021 daylily seeds

The last of the 2021 daylily seeds came from one of the Marque Moon daylilies. These, like our other seeds, were not intentionally crossed. They were purely the work of our local pollinators. 1 pod, 4 seeds.

I have never had Marque Moon seeds germinate. These also look a bit iffy, but I will try. If the seeds are viable, and the seedlings survive, in 3-4 years we will see what they accomplished 😉

These will go into our “rookery” at the little house up north. See https://susansdailygarden.wordpress.com/2021/09/28/planning-time-a-rookery/

Quiet spaces

A few years ago I read an online article about quiet spaces.  It was talking about indoor spaces – you know, with comfy seating, and cozy throws, and a stack of books, a candle, a good view.  Yep, yep, and yep.  For me, that type of quiet space at the time was outdoors in the townhouse gardens, and on our livingroom couch planning more things for the townhouse gardens.  It was a different time.  It was around the time when my work life was very stressful, yet I could feel changes coming.  I fiercely guarded my Saturday mornings in the garden, sometimes starting at 3:30 am with a cup of coffee and a sit in the lawn chair right before the birds began to wake up.

Sometimes outward appearances of activity are not the “whole story”, and I “knew” I was entering one of those times.  I knew there was a tide coming in and it wasn’t feeling like it was going to be a gentle one.  We had been there a few times before.  It felt “familiar”.  I was “pondering” things in my heart.  Praying.  Seeking advice.  It was about the time right before we turned the corner into the era we are in now.

The tide did roll in, changes did begin.

Sometimes years of waiting and watching and listening are needed before the next “do” time starts.  When the “do” starts and the wind blows and props get kicked out, deep roots are essential.  Those quiet times in those quiet spaces pay maximum dividends.   Continue reading “Quiet spaces”

Next

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.

Fall decorating – Sedum style

The Autumn Joy sedum are exceeding expectations at the little house up north, and to my amazement, the deer are leaving them alone. I’m more seriously considering a sedum hedge now. In my mind I can see it along a mostly sunny side of the house, where bees on the sedum would not affect much. I could do a test run with sedum rootings alternating with irises. Deer do not like irises, so that could be a deterrent.

Pondering.

What about the sedum?

I have mixed feelings about moving the sedum. They are such a resilient plant, and super easy to propagate if they do get damaged. Literally if a stem gets broken, I stick it in dirt, it roots, and I have a new sedum plant.

I really like the fall color sedum provide as well as the 12 month interest. The pollinators LOVE them and the bunnies eat the unbroken stems all winter. When the bunnies do that, it also makes my spring cleanup easier. But for some reason, once the stems are broken, the bunnies don’t seem to have as much of an appetite for them. Very different from the sunflower!

I have already brought sedum plants and sedum cuttings up north and they are doing well with the mulch around them. I suppose where I’ll land is that if any of the Autumn Joy sedum get severely broken this fall, I’ll move those plants up north right away and let them sleep there. Then next summer I can take cuttings and start building a row to make a hedge – maybe on the farthest long gutter downspout.

Careful!

I am being cautious about bringing up plants that are under the Linden tree. There are tree roots, yes. But more concerning are the Japaese beetle bugs. They lay eggs in the soil. I don’t know if the eggs would survive the move, but I really don’t want to give them the opportunity.

So unfortunately, the Marque Moon daylilies, many of the hostas, the pink Asian lilies… Will all stay.

But the hostas outside of that area, and maybe a PurpleD’Oro need dividing and will go up north.

Maybe yet this fall, but more likely next spring.

It’s a lot.

That’s a lots of digging

So that’s the plants, so far, that are going up north in the next wave. That’s enough digging for me. It’s a lot of work to dig them out, but that’s only the first part. They have to be protected for transport, the holes have to be dug in the new garden to accommodate divisions, not just plopping in the whole existing plant, next there’s soil amendment, cardboard, mulch, and then watering.

That may be enough for this fall. I’m already having a realization that I will fill more space than I planned, but hey! If I plant along the long downspouts and put in mulch, then my husband doesn’t have to remove the downspouts anymore to mow – right?

Could be this whole area, or 2/3, with a grass area in the middle for lawn chairs. It’s bigger than it looks …

We’ll see.