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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.

Space

Space is something I have very little of in the townhouse gardens. It is rare I can add a new plant without it looking crowded. I love the look of daylilies tucked in between hostas, or is it hostas tucked in between daylilies?

However, I made a tough decision this last week. Daylilies gotta go. I know – what? Here’s the deal. The new landscape maintenance team at the townhouse is awesome at blowing cut grass and fallen leaves out of the rock. Really awesome. Really really awesome. The gardens all have rock. There is a lot of collateral damage lately. Mostly to the daylilies. Why have daylilies when they don’t survive for their day? So I made a decision. A lot need to go. Up north. This fall.

What holds up way better against the blowers? Small to medium hostas. I have plenty of those, too. Maybe I should divide a medium-sized hosta and put it in this space.

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.

What’s going – #3

I have 8 Blue Mouse Ears hostas. You might say I am a bit fond of them. They are, well, blue. One of my favorite types of hostas. And they have lavender flowers. And they are disease resistant. And not once has a mammal eaten even one leaf. The leaves are tough.

They have been in my garden for a long time, and they need dividing. So 3-5 will go up north.

I want to put them along the sidewalk to the back yard, but that area needs love as well, so for now they will go along the gutter extensions of the new gutters we needed to put in this past spring. Hint, there were no gutter extensions on the old gutters. Bonus, I don’t think the deer like the new gutter extensions. Hoping to keep it that way.

What goes – #2

This summer our ac went out.  The footprint of the new ac unit was a bit larger, necessitating the removal of a couple trellises and the corresponding clematis.

Truthfully, that poor clematis was traumatized long before.  It bloomed late spring.  Some years it was spared the wrath of the previous ac’s wind, but many years I had to make a decision – humans fade from the heat, or the clematis fade from the wind off the ac.  Believe me, I held out many years.  Every year I thought, “I need to move that.”

Continue reading “What goes – #2”

What goes – #1?

It’s the second week of August. The Marque Moon is still blooming, one other daylily, and the hostas. Things are slowing down.

Today I sat outside and looked. What goes to the new gardens up north? What is crowded here? What is overdue for division?

#1 is one of the Patriot hostas. Poor guy. It got too much sun, it was a drought year, and I suspect the lawncare provider oversprayed weed killer – hint the grass is also dead along the pavers.

He needs some love. He needs a change. Maybe somewhere where there’s no need for weed killer. Somewhere where the yards are old and full of mini strawberries and wild daisies – if we let them grow. He might just prefer mulch to rock. We’ll see.

Pack your soil Patriot hosta. You’re moving north.