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Mid-Winter Gardening Post

January 23, 2011

Ready for a long, chatty gardening post with lots of pictures? Here we go!

Free scavenged pots: very good. These will be filled with flowers and herbs.

Bougainvillea: not looking so good. Too many unanticipated frosts. It’s still green inside so I’m hopeful it will make it, but right now it’s looking a little sick.

Geranium: doing great! It’s like the pesky little sister. No matter how grumpy or tired or cold everybody else is, this plant is always cheerful and doing GREAT and can’t understand why NO ONE wants to go PLAY with her.

Birdfeeding station and pruned roses. This is our first time pruning roses. Probably could have been more aggressive but they were hacked back pretty severely when we moved in, so I wanted to see what they will do this summer. Um. The birdbath needs a bath.

More birdfeeders. We had mesh finch socks up, but the squirrels got desperate and shredded them. So now we have this cute yellow finch feeder. And yes, we still get the occasional hummer, so those feeders are still up too. And on the fence you can see them, um, *empty* squirrel feeder. This was full yesterday but it got raided last night by a gigantic raccoon (we spied on him with a flashlight from the bedroom. He was huge!).

Time to make orange marmalade! And juice. And to start eating an orange a day. Wow. That’s a lot of oranges.

The gnome is happy here. The ferns are doing pretty good. This is the Woodland Corner where I’m going to indulge my love of shade plants and put in some hostas, maybe a bleeding heart. I want this to be all lush and cool-looking when we start to get the 100+ temps this summer.

This is the extent of our fantastic first garden. One little row of radishes. If I’d known they were going to do so well I would have planted more. I had planted some other things but obviously they didn’t make it. This plot is going to be where the chickens are. This one little square gets enough sun for the garden so I will probably preserve that spot.

This is the extent of my leaf-mulch pile. It’s sad. I keep meaning to make a container for yard composting but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. This is in the same plot, where the chickens will be. We have too many raccoons for a real compost pile, so it has to be a good container. I think I might just do yard compost, a worm box, and then chickens for their manure.

And lest you think the yard is being overrun by clover, well… it is! Welcome to Clover Alley. In the summer this alley is blazing hot. I’m going to take out those yellow scraggly flower things and put in tomato bins — plenty of hot sun for tomatoes here. Along the fence we’re going to make a potting table.

An unexpected treat: violets! I *adore* real woodland violets and we have a nice big bunch of them under the orange tree. I love their scent and their cheerful little faces.

Speaking of cheerful, more daffodils are getting ready to shine. These are coming up all over the yard. I love daffodils so I’m very excited to see all of them popping up everywhere.

And back to the patio area. Privacy fence hung. This is where the bougainvillea *might* be. If it doesn’t make it, we’ll find some other, hardier fast-growing climbing vine. It was quite a trick to hang this fence by myself. I did it using an elaborate system of propping the fence up on buckets and then standing on a ladder and using zip-ties. Not the most professional job, but oh well. At least the neighbors won’t be looking in everytime they come out their door (their front door is right on the other side of the fence).

We have plans for two raised beds where the sunniest part of the lawn is now. Either 4′ x 8′ or 5′ x 10′, not sure yet. We have to measure. Lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers. Maybe some boxes of lettuce. Lots of herbs. I’m going to try to build those big raised beds when I get back from my Oregon visit, in February. We really want a good summer garden and the only place for it is the lawn, so it’s got to get done! (we’ll still have plenty of lawn left) The chicken coop needs to be built too but I really need my dad’s help with that one, so who knows when that will happen.

Speaking of Dad, I am trying out his new elaborate ultra-energy vitamin concoction. I spent part of yesterday running around getting all the ingredients. I hope it works because otherwise I’m going to have a ton of soy flour, wheat germ, lecithin and Vitamin A (among many other things) sitting around. You mix it up with vanilla yogurt and it really does (sort of) taste like (tangy) cookie dough. He swears by it, as does his girlfriend and his league of teenage pole-vaulters (he’s a pole-vault coach). If it gives me a boost and helps me feel a bit more perky (I don’t mind the commute, but it does wear me out), then I’ll be happy. I don’t need to make 13 feet or anything.

Today: starting a new owl painting, making some significant progress towards finishing The Moonstone, and picking up Just Kids from the library. I can’t wait to read that.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    January 23, 2011 3:28 pm

    Gosh, Daph, you’ve got so many wonderful plans. I’m anxious to come help however you want. Send me home TIRED!!! (Shouldn’t take too long to do that!).

    • January 23, 2011 4:15 pm

      Will do, definitely! We have a long list of “Mom can help with this” plans. πŸ™‚

  2. January 23, 2011 7:04 pm

    You have managed to fill me with the warm fuzzies again, Daphne πŸ˜€ I’m so glad that I found your blog awhile back!! It’s come to be one of my favorites. I’m so loving seeing you two settle into your new home. Your back yard is amazing and I so love the plans you have for it!!

    • January 23, 2011 8:18 pm

      Aw, so sweet! Thank you! I am terrible about commenting on blogs but I love to check in on you too! Your garden is MUCH better than our pitiful little radish patch! πŸ™‚

  3. January 24, 2011 4:23 am

    sheesh, just reading this made me tired!!!
    But it also brought back memories of when I had all sorts of energy (and no back problems) to do all those sort of things.. it’s a happy sort of work you will be doing so I hope it all “bears fruit”!!!

  4. trapunto permalink
    January 24, 2011 11:50 am

    Your clover alley looks like fairyland right now. I love violets too! In fact I think we are very similar in our garden happinesses. The violets (and some foxgloves) were the only plants left, really, after the dingbats who formerly owned our house did their thing of bringing in huge truck loads of sterile fill-dirt, covering up any semblance of the old yard our old house would have once had, and topping that with a layer of river rock. Violets are survivors. I thought they would be gone for good after we had to get the whole place regraded summer before last, (the slant of the fill dirt had caused water to drain in through the basement walls), but some are coming up!

    I can’t wait to see your chicken set-up. We can’t have them where we live now, but we went to a 4-H poultry show, and I want some Wyandottes some day. Cutest little things, and not too high strung.

    • January 24, 2011 7:15 pm

      I can’t wait for the coop, either! I have to figure out what we want. I’m going to do some research on backyardchickens.com and design our little coop. I also have to decide between full-size or bantams. So much fun.

  5. January 24, 2011 1:55 pm

    I love your garden talk. It inspires me.

    • January 24, 2011 7:16 pm

      I’ll be more inspired when I have some results… as of now, I have an orange tree and a row of radishes. πŸ™‚

  6. January 24, 2011 2:57 pm

    i love your garden talk too. youve definitely inspired me. even though i dont have enough space for an actual garden, i want to do better this year with getting more herbs and small things i can keep in a pot.

    i should have named my daughter geranium.

    also, i kinda want to plop down and take a nap in clover alley.

    • January 24, 2011 7:17 pm

      Ooh! Do potatoes in a garbage bag with me! I’m going to try it.

      I’m sad that Clover Alley will only last until the sun really starts to shine. Then it turns into Dirt Alley. Hopefully that will soon be Tomato Alley. Cucumber Alley? Salad Alley?

  7. January 25, 2011 1:53 am

    It’s good to see greenery in someone’s backyard. Mine is buried under piles of snow and it’s freezing here. Like an Arctic freeze. Your gardens give me hope! I would love to make marmalade some day. What a treat to be able to yank an orange right off your own tree.

    • January 25, 2011 4:15 pm

      Yeah, no snow here. Apparently we get drifts of clover instead!

  8. January 25, 2011 8:22 am

    Your yard is looking great Daphne! All that green is quite a sight for my monocrhome weary eyes. I love your terracotta sun man!

  9. January 25, 2011 12:28 pm

    SO VERY NICE to see these beautiful lively happy photos! (poor lil Geranium) since it’s been snowing all day. It was supposed to be a light dusting and it must be over 4+ inches by now. Everything is the dull white of winter here.

    • January 25, 2011 4:16 pm

      Poor Geranium! She’ll have some friends soon. I wouldn’t mind a day or two of snow… but only a day or two.

  10. January 25, 2011 8:18 pm

    I love seeing your backyard and house as you two settle in, Daphne. Up here in Canada (ottawa) all is white, white and frozen solid, so seeing green growing things does wonders for my soul!!! Please post more pictures soon! Daffodils!!! We aren’t going to see those for another 3 months!!! Oh, it’s time to pull out some gardening books and start planning again. I hope you enjoy setting up your garden, it looks truly wonderful and restorative for the spirit.

    • January 26, 2011 8:01 am

      It’s been soooo much fun. I’m dying to start in with vegetable planting! I guess I have to wait a little while longer… shoot. We’re still having frosty nights.

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