I’ve wanted a real garden of my own for so long and now that I finally have one, it’s easy to forgo unpacking (yup, we’re still not even close), and basically all house projects in favor of mucking around out in the yard.
We were finally able to tackle rototilling the back-back part of our lawn about two weeks ago, after a few weekends of back to back running around. The back part of our property is very shaded and overgrown with lily of the valley. Since we’re both firmly against using any sort of chemical to complete the task of battling this underground demon, Round Up was absolutely out of the question so we didn’t have much choice but to attempt to overhaul the entire area manually. Rototilling is NOT a great solution for the garden you should know. Excessively deep drilling can harm the very structure of the soil, so you need to do it mindfully and as infrequently as possibly so you don’t accidentally destroy what nature is already taking care of.
All I can say is that my husband is my hero. While I kept Emilia entertained all day, he toiled in the yard. Imagine steering an ox to plow a field and you’ll have the visual I had. Only instead of horns, there were two mechanical handles attached to a motorized blade that bucked and plunged into the soil like an incensed bull trying to buck his rider. Brian was wiped out after an entire day of it but is such a rock star, he even went out in the dark after Emilia was down for the night and did the side yard by porch light. What a guy.
The back yard AND the front yard are completely torn up now and covered with plastic tarps to shield the weeds from sunlight so we can eventually rake out and then reseed with grass before the first frost. Brian may have gotten a little overzealous with the rototiller in the front yard though, which I wasn’t too please about. After I busted my butt getting our entire front yard landscaped with mums and all decorated for fall, I wasn’t too pleased to see that he’d dug up a little more than we’d talked about but I didn’t have to touch the damn machine, so I can’t complain.
My other, early-fall-garden tasks included attempting to grade the side yard away from the foundation, getting the driveway side bed cleared of all the weed overgrowth, pricker bush, and excessive hosta takeover so I can finally transplant my peony collection that my mom has been kind enough to store for me since I purchased them to commemorate our wedding in 2012 and get my other spring bulbs in for us to enjoy next year.
All I can say is, thank goodness for my family. My mom has done bagillions of hours of landscaping, weeding, potting and advising me as I dug into this garden project. Not to mention all the exhausting work of dividing and potting so much of her amazing garden to share with me. And my brother Kevin never fails to show up when we need help with anything — most recently, just getting the rototiller to and from our house. Skylar has been absolutely wonderful watching Emilia when needed too.
I managed to clear the side bed little by little and got the peonies and two rosebushes planted and cleaned out the hostas to a point that I think will look really, really nice come spring. My peonies are pink and white so the pops with the green of the hostas should look really nice.
Now I just need to figure out how to battle the squirrels before I throw my spring tulip bulbs into the ground over in that area which gets incredible full sun for nearly half the day since it’s on an east exposure. One of my concerns with planting too many bulbs, aside from the squirrels digging them up, is that I don’t have any perrennial foundation plants in yet so the tulip foliage will look a litle ratty as they die back heading into early summer. I also don’t want to overplant them with perennials and waste my money on bulbs that can’t come back.
Before I wrap up, I need to also share that the big victory of late summer had to be finally installing and planting my window box. You might notice the singular — not windowboxes. That’s because getting just one installed level took every single facet of brain power and nerves, from sourcing the wood to make the brace/shim to go against the vinyl siding (a trip I made to Home Depot, alone with Emilia = brave), to just measuring out, drilling and then finally screwing in the damn brackets and hoping they aligned with the planters brace spots.
So I have about $500 worth of window boxes just sitting in my garage right now that I need to sum up the strength to tackle before it gets much colder.
It’s a work in progress. Once we get the grass seed in, we need to work on building the raised beds for our kitchen garden! We started to brainstorm and research some of the veggies we’d like to grow but haven’t yet firmed that up or the design for the beds — or even the placement. I think we might need to have a few trees cut down before we tackle so that’s a post for another day.