Monday, March 19, 2012

Adventures in gardening

One thing we really wanted to do when we moved into our house is create some gorgeous, lush gardens.

Problem was... I've never actually planted anything other than the occasional something in a terra cotta pot. I never had the ambition or space to do it, plus when I was younger and lived with my parents, that's something my mom really took care of on her own and wasn't terribly "garden obsessed."

To put it simply, I was fairly terrified that I would have a "black thumb" and everything I planted would die, or get eaten or... well just not grow.

Needless to say, I needed a little help.

My friend Raine is a fantastic herbalist and has grown hundreds of different kinds of plants, has all sorts of knowledge beyond what I ever could imagine having and was willing to help play in the dirt.

Late last fall, Garry and his friends tore all of the weeds out of the front planter. It was pretty over-grown with who-knows-what and it looked a mess. So out all of that went.

Next came the rocks. All of those were plucked out and set aside.

We laid down a mixture of topsoil and potting mix and put the landscape material down, just so the weeds wouldn't grow back in the meantime. We had a relatively mild fall, so the chances of the invasive stuff growing back was pretty high.

When we were ready to plant, we pulled the material up (because we were planting a LOT of flowers) and went to town.

I figured we'd keep it easy, so we planted a bunch of bulbs (they require less work and are perennials so they'll come back every year) that included tulips, hyacinth, daffodils, wood squill and some gorgeous bearded iris.

The really mild winter and very warm spring allowed my bulbs to shoot up out of the ground and sprout like crazy! It was amazing! Not only that, but they would bud in the morning and be in bloom by the end of the day.

I was also happy that our blue star juniper also did really well (we planted them in front of the house)

And our little Japanese maple survived the transplant and is thriving.

All said, I'm fairly happy with the way everything is working out. The bearded iris has yet to sprout - although I think those come up later in the spring. Each morning there are a few new flowers that have blossomed, making it hard to keep up with photos (all of these were taken within a 24-hour period). I'm hoping that I'll have a bed full of flowers soon!

The other great thing about bulbs is that they continue to grow and spread every year. We kept this in mind when planting them, leaving enough room for them to "fill in" the planter.

Also, at some point this spring I'll be taking a few bulbs out and moving them near the front entrance to make room for some rose bushes. I haven't decided what kind to plant yet - I'll have to wait and see what colors come up to decide.

I took the day off of work so I could get the living room finished and to just enjoy the weather. It's so rare that we have such nice weather here in upstate NY (especially this time of year) so I figured taking the time to enjoy it would do me some good when reality actually sets in and the weather gets back to "normal."

Photos of the finished paint jobs (both kitchen and living room) should happen today. Ideally, after we've cleaned up the kitchen a bit more. Somehow, that kitchen managed to get dirty and cluttered in a blink of an eye.