Tuesday, May 13

Spring Garden Work

Spring is a time for new beginnings... and a lot of work in the garden! I have been staining fence panels as they are needed for espalier and trellising, and also double-digging some new beds.

I'm down to maybe 5 minutes total for mowing both the front and the back yard. My John Deere-loving father will be very disappointed with this turn of events... but he'll be happy to know that the amount of grass you see in this picture will basically remain. It will just be a more environmentally friendly grass, eventually.

Why keep some lawn? Aesthetically, I like the fact that it serves as a ground for the other plantings and gives the eye a place to rest. Practically, it gives both the Gardener and the Garden Assistant a comfy place to rest our bodies as well. In fact, we both snoozed for a while on the lawn this weekend... you know, just in case the neighbors were starting to wonder if I'd suddenly gone sane. Can't have them thinking that!

You might notice that I also moved the second square drainage tile (both were trashpicked from a treelawn in '05) into the same bed as the first. It is set a bit higher than the tile closest to the driveway, which will hopefully lead your eye to the cherry tree that will soon be planted and espaliered against the fence.

The tile will add some much-needed structure, along with the arc of lavender cotton that I'm planning, to this very wide bed. (Sometime soon I'll take a picture from my second-story bedroom window so you can see what I mean.) I'm not quite sure what I'll be planting in these tiles for the summer just yet, however. I'll have to take a walk through the annual section and see what strikes my fancy.

A few other things that have been amusing me this week:

- I am playing A-league women's sand 2's for the first time ever, and we won our first game last night. This is an athletic challenge that I am unlikely to experience again in my life since I'm already at the ripe old age of 32... and even though we're no Misty May and Kerri Walsh, we're having a heck of a lot of fun. I can't even tell you how much this is invigorating (and exhausting) me.

- I love to watch new foliage unfurling in the garden. Particularly baptisia. Particularly when the baptisia is backlit and covered in morning dew.

- Most of my time working at the garden center is spent dispensing advice and answering questions, but sometimes I am on the receiving end of ideas as well. Last week, a lady turned me on to this recipe for Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Sage Pesto and Apples from an old issue of Bon Appetit.

She said that the sage pesto is so good that her family eats it throughout the summer and she rarely makes pesto with basil anymore at all. I doubt that I would go quite that far, but I definitely want to try the sage substitution. And it might be good with walnuts instead of pine nuts, too. Yum.

So many fresh ideas, unfinished projects, and new growth going on... yes, it's finally spring!


joey said...

Your garden is looking lovely, Kim. Glad the Gardener and the Garden Assistant are taking time to 'unfurl' on the lawn. I love sage and must try the sage pesto!

Frances, said...

Hi Kim, you are a busy gal, and a young one, 32 is still very green, not near ripe! Is lavender cotton the same as gray santolina? I love that plant and was happy it overwintered here. Is it perennial there? I love those flue tiles too, the color, the vertical they offer, everything. Sedums are what I usually see in them, but think grasses would look good, movement is always a good thing. Might have to get me some of those. Looking good!
Frances at Faire Garden

Glenn said...

I did exactly the same thing with the drainage tiles but I planted hostas in them - I'm planting creeping thyme under the hosta as I'm hoping it will spill over the sides....I have dark green hostas planted in the garden itself and love the contrast of the tiles sticking up in various places. Let me know if you want to see a photo - I'm very proud of it! LOL


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh Kim I about cracked up thinking of you and your spouse having a much deserved rest on the lawn. I can just see the neighbors putting their heads together wondering if you needed help or if they should call the funny farm. Ha...

When I was your age I played volleyball with a group of people and had a blast. I would probably break something now. Great exercise.

Gina said...

kim - oh how I wish I could get rid of all my grass! I was doing pretty good and reducing it until a couple of weeks ago when the patio guy re-sodded the area around the new patio and I found myself watering day and night to keep this one little strip of new grass alive. WATER HOG!

Unknown said...

Joey, I was almost drooling when she started talking about it! I love moments like that, when you get to connect with another gardener... and can't wait to try the sage pesto, of course.

Frances, my soul feels old and ripe, though. :) Yes, grey santolina is the same thing and it is perennial here because I have pretty good drainage. (Otherwise, I suspect it would be susceptible to winter rot.)

I have sedums everywhere and love them, but grasses are not a bad idea. I'm definitely looking for something annual, though, because I cover these in the winter to help keep them from busting out.

Glenn, I definitely want to see those pictures! That sounds absolutely beautiful--and I bet that creeping thyme will drip down the sides wonderfully for you. :)

Lisa, it wasn't my boyfriend... it was my DOG!!! She was stretched out next to me, with her back against my side and her nose resting on my arm. See what I mean about the neighbors thinking I'm crazy?! Definitely the funny farm. lol.

gina, I know what you mean! And the mowing... I would SO much rather be weeding beds than mowing grass. (By the way, you did get your patio put in already? I'll have to stop by your blog and see it--I'm so far behind on reading all of my favorite blogs!)

Anonymous said...

YOU'RE YOUNGER THAN ME?! But you know so much more than I do about gardening. This isn't fair. I had pictured you about 34 or 35, just enough older than my 33 and 1/2 to be so wise, but young enough that we were still the same generation. This sucks, now I feel old. BTW, I mostly kid and it's so nice to see you posting again. I miss your garden when you don't give us frequent updates.

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmm. I love Pesto! For more great recipes, check out http://iheartpesto.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

"What do we live for but to make sport for our neighbors - and laugh at them in our turn." -J. Austen
That is often (mis)quoted at my house! I envy you the 5 minutes of mowing and I'm going to make that my ultimate goal...

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I agree that some lawn is needed as a foil to all that billowing foliage. Besides, Coco needs somewhere to roll & get all stinky. I have the best photo of some Hostas with my dog's feet in the background - she was lying on her back writhing & kicking her feet with delight.

Unknown said...

Heather, LOL! Trust me, I only really know enough about gardening to be even more aware of all the things I don't know. And we are definitely of the same generation. :)

Anonymous, nice pesto blog! I hadn't realized there were so many different recipes... I think that experimentation with what I grow in the garden will be required of me this summer.

Blithewold Kris, I am definitely a good sport--or should I say fair game?--for the neighbors! *grin* I'd like to get mine down to 3 minutes... I really don't think that I need the hellstrip in my front yard, for example. ;)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, I would LOVE to see that picture! And you're right, Coco needs somewhere to roll... although last night, she got a little confused between "grass" and "the grasslike foliage of dianthus," and plopped squarely down on a large patch of the latter. (Couldn't she have waited until after bloom?!) I really can only grin at her, though... silly dog.

Carol Michel said...

I'll admit I enjoy mowing, but even I want to reduce the size of my lawn a bit and plant more flowers and shrubs.

Everything is looking good in your garden!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Unknown said...

Thanks, Carol! I certainly don't have the long list of accomplishments you posted, yet. In fact, I got a little tired just thinking about all that work you've done so I didn't even finish weeding. Instead, I went to take a nap. ;)

Kylee Baumle said...

You're whetting my appetite for when I finally get to see your garden in person, Kim! Remember to save room for the Ajuga! I've got six of them for you and they're in full bloom now. Also a Helenium, if you want it!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Ha--I'm down to 45 minutes, 40 if it's short and I walk fast (push mower). I was thinking last night that if I was to live here for 10 years (4 is more likely) that I'd rip up much more yard. I HATE MOWING! Taking care of a garden would be far easier and prettier (easier? ha). But yes, it's a nice negative space to the garden plants, like you say, and I think adds resale value, unfortunately.

lisa said...

Mowing? I haven't started my pushmower in three years...I don't think I remember how! :) Someday my sedge will take over and I can just sell it altogether. That recipe sounds great...thanks! My projects are super-numerous this time of year also, keeping me from blogging very much. Maybe it'll rain some more and I can catch up :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, spring cleanup, grass, beach volleyball and chicken recipes, what a post. :) Sage pesto sounds delicious, add me to the list of people that are going to try it.

I actually just increased my mowing time by buying a reel mower. I could use the exercise.

Unknown said...

Kylee, SIX?! I have a tiny yard, remember?! ;) lol. And yes, I'll probably take a helenium... those are so pretty, I won't be able to resist.

Benjamin, I'll probably live here for another 10 years, so I figure I might as well enjoy the house and garden. And if I get to the point where I have to mow down some garden and plant (gag) grass at that point, so be it... but maybe someone "fun" will buy my house then instead, who knows.

Lisa, I'll keep my fingers crossed for your sedge, then! (And for some rainy days so you can catch up.) lol.

Anthony, I really do jump all around sometimes, don't I? *grin* I totally want to buy a reel mower, by the way. But I couldn't pass up the free pushmower that I have--it's grandma's castoff. At 83 she still pushmows her own yard, so who can blame her for wanting one that's more comfortable to push?

Kylee Baumle said...

If you only want three, Kim, I can give the other three to Kara...

Now, we just need to find the time to exchange these plants! LOL

Shady Gardener said...

We're having a rainy day today. I'm taking a moment from playing with my 3-year old grandnephew to visit a couple of gardens.

I can tell you enjoy landscaping and design. You're doing a great job... and your stand of grass is Very lush.
Just right for a picnic! :-)

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