Thursday, April 4, 2013

Glorious Saturday of Fabulousness

Last Saturday was beautiful. I was rarin' to get to the garden. Mulch Boy wanted to do our Big Shop at the grocery store first. I ungraciously acquiesced and was a pouty-pants the whole time. I apologize, Mulch. I was just very very anxious to get as much done as possible before our dinner plans (day-before-Easter dinner with the Besties* and their family).

As I've mentioned before, I usually have a plan of sorts, but rarely do I follow it in any kind of linear fashion. Saturday's plan went something like this:
  • Plant the rest of the perennials.
  • Plant the rest of the vegetable garden.
  • Bag all the yard waste we've created in the last couple of weeks.
  • Water everything.
In practice, the plan went like this:

Stare at the Backyard a Lot

Part of planting the rest of the vegetables included finding a good location for the asparagus. I didn't want to put it in the big vegetable garden, as we till and turn the entire thing every year and asparagus, being perennial, wants to sit still and not be dug up. The backyard was the desired location, but all backyard locations face the twin challenges of finding sufficient sunlight and avoiding the marauding forces of dogs.

When it comes down to it, there are really only two spots that are sunny enough to consider growing veg in: one by the fence that I turned into a rose garden last year, and the space in front of the porch, where we planted our very first vegetable plants (the first victims of our inexperience and unreasonable optimism) and where I'd since transplanted a daphne shrub and planted false indigo and some herbs, who have mostly thrived. [Editor's note: I apologize to the world for this awful, awful sentence. I horrify myself.]

Dogs are a whole other problem. Dogs are everywhere. Including the only two sunny spots. There is no stopping Dogs. However, some places are doggier than others. Charlie and Rosie have definite established paths (racetracks might be a more apt term.) There is no corner they haven't nosed into in the backyard, but the racetracks are where the high-speed chases (and the most damage) occur.

Thus, the best strategy is to avoid planting anywhere near a racetrack. That ruled out Location 1 by the fence, making Location 2 by the porch the winner in the asparagus lottery.

Bag Yard Trash and Drag It to the Street

Earlier Mulch Boy had asked whether we'd start with cleaning up the yard trash. "No," said I, "I want to do all planting first, that's most important! Planting first!"

Problem is, after all that Staring at the Backyard a Lot, I got annoyed by all the leaves blown into the corners of the porch and patio, and the trash from the previous day's planting. So, bagging. Then I thought, well, the back patio is a mess, too, and dragged my bags back there.

Oh wait, there's the junk I cleared out of the shed last weekend. Let's get that all out of here. I dragged everything down towards the house and the gate. Where I encountered the junk we never got rid of last year that was stacked against the porch to keep a beagle who shall remain nameless from sneaking under the porch and getting trapped. I decided all must go!

Multiple trips to the front yard (and one beagle escape) later, all the backyard mess was now a front yard mess. Luckily, the front yard mess gets picked up every Friday, so that was a good development.

Uproot Daphne, Put in Asparagus

Back to asparagus. Its planting location selected after ample staring, the next step was to make room in its proposed new home. In other words, a current tenant was going to have to be evicted.  There were only two residents to choose from: the daphne and the false indigo.

Now Mulch Boy generally leaves the plant selection for the yard to me. But on rare occasions when he's being dragged endlessly around the nursery, he will spy some piece of greenery that he falls in love with and wants to add to our garden. Because of this, his are the last plants I'll consider moving or changing, and I'll only do so with his permission. Basically, he gets to decide what happens to his plants (such as the heather).

And so with the false indigo. It was one of Mulch's picks, and it's done very well in its spot by the porch. So I turned to Daphne.

Poor Daphne. Before we moved into the little blue house, the previous owners planted several perfectly nice shrubs along the dark side of the house. They languished in tiny holes no bigger than their root-bound selves, invisible unless you decided to walk through the virtual tunnel formed between our house and neighbor's house and their holly trees.

Daphne was one of these poor refugees. When I discovered her, I dug her up (she was barely more than a tangle of dead branches with a few leaves of barely living green) and transplanted her in front of the porch (after a severe trimming of her dead wood). I was determined to give her a chance at survival.

Survive she did, too! In fact, she survived so well she nearly took over the entire area in the space of two years, and I cut her nearly to the ground last year to start over. Which she did, and now she's once again 4 feet wide. Which gave me the confidence to dig her up again because, apparently, she's immortal.

Daphne on the patio. "How did I get here?"

So out came Daphne and in went the asparagus. Then up went the wire enclosure that, hopefully, will keep curious dogs from uprooting my newly planted asparagus crowns. At least they're not in the path of the racetrack. Daphne meanwhile is temporarily squatting in one of the compost piles until I decide where her new permanent home will be.

Asparagus. Not yet at the ornamental stage.

Plant the Daisies and Rearrange the "Source" of the Dry Creek Bed

I love our dry creek bed. Every time I look at it, I smile because WOW we did that all on our own! Not only does our basement no longer flood, but our backyard and vegetable garden look so much prettier. While not the intent of the original plan, the dry creek bed has created beautiful borders to several flower beds and the vegetable garden, and transformed the side of the yard into the most beautiful corner in the backyard.

One part of the creek that's bugged me, though, was the "source," the spot where the whole thing starts. My intent was to create the effect of a spring rising from below a boulder and then forming a stream. Somehow, it ended up looking odd and blocky in the end, and I was never pleased with the effect.

Saturday, I had a vision. The daisies! Yes, the daisies would make everything right! Originally they were to go in the Beautiful Corner, but their true purpose was now clear. I would narrow the creek bed at the top, rearrange the rocks, put in the daisies. So I did. You can't really tell from this picture (and maybe it's only this way in my brain), but it came out beautifully. I get up in the morning and look out the bedroom window to check it out every day. Funny what little things make you happy.

English daisies! Is there such a thing as a bad daisy? I say NO. I am pleased out of
proportion with this little arrangement. Also, Jengo Fett is sitting on top of the
boulder. Garden art.

Oh Yeah, Plant the Vegetable Garden

Wasn't that higher up on the list? Ah well.

Seeds. I planted bush beans, carrots, parsnips, and beets. I even used a ruler and (semi) marked the rows. This is progress for me. I felt very professional.

Professional gardening kit: cookie sheet with seed packets, my
gardening guide, gloves, favorite trowel (seriously, best trowel ever),
stake, and empty bottle of Gatorade.

Wow, it looks... just like before! Trust me, everything's been planted.
How's that for a productive day in the garden? And I haven't even told you about Mulch Boy's labors (that will be the next post). Suffice it to say, we slept soundly that night.

*The Besties = our good friends, our best man and our maid of honor.


  1. Friends and gardening? Does it get any better? Yes, but only if food, wine and exotic locales are involved and I've never found those at Lowe's. :o) I am constantly walking around the yard, just staring. It makes my husband nervous, which is half the fun. I'm planting my carrots, umm... soon, too. I'm impressed your daphne is so healthy. She can be a diva!

  2. Daphne's a diva? I guess mine's so happy to have been rescued from its dungeon that it doesn't dare misbehave.

    So it's been two weeks since my first plantings... and I've only got the very first sprouts, and those only for the mesclun. Did I plant too soon? I want seedlings NOW!