Thursday, April 07, 2016

A Few Small Before and Afters

Just point your nose in any direction and you'll find some project that needs doing. That is the mantra we live by these days. The thing is, though, I don't seem to be able to focus on any one project. I do a little here, a little there, a little in my sleep. What follows here are a few minor projects that when taken as a whole put us on our way to making this two-acre plot of dirt our very own paradise.


The gravel garden has been worked on a little more.


First up the labyrinth. Here it is intact. We have used many of the rocks in other projects such as the rock wall and the gravel garden. The ones we haven't used yet are piled high nearby.


Here it is pictured with most of the rocks removed.


I want to make this former labyrinth area a dry garden and eventually connect it to the gravel garden. I thought that I could just mix in the several inches of sand piled up on the surface with the existing soil once the rocks were removed. Silly me. There was landscape fabric underneath. That added three days to the project. Wet sand is very heavy to move.


We tried to use the lawn mower to aid in our efforts. Unfortunately, the fabric just ripped. Oh well. I suppose pulling it out by hand was our own special punishment.


Interestingly the soil underneath was riddled with all kinds of critter tracks large and small. A whole superhighway down there. Beep! Beep!

Besides this evidence of bugs and mice and who knows what else, the soil is indeed dead looking. It needed some organic material, so we added a bunch of compost, micorrhizae and soil amendments hoping to kick-start the healthy soil process.


In process of planting.


A bit further along. Each plant got a bunch of compost dug in as well as a good soaking. So far so good. Many plants are happy to be in the ground rather than a pile of roots and dirt on a tarp. In case anyone was wondering, I have a loose plan for this dry garden but a lot of it was done freestyle as I went along. I had the plants selected for this site already. They are all tough drought-tolerant and dry garden plants, so the only real challenge was arranging them. I placed the shrubs first, mostly based on size - taller towards the back and shorter towards the front, generally speaking. I then decided where the paths would run and created vignettes based on the shape of the bed that was created. Foliage and flower color are the last consideration, wanting a flow from one area to the next to make it seem natural and connect with the landscape beyond. Now this is all in theory, of course. I have been imagining what the mature versions of all of these would be - it's difficult when looking at a little 4" pot or even 2-gallon container. We'll see what survives and what does not and, of course, I'll move things around as needed. This will evolve, to be sure, but I needed to start somewhere.


Here's another really good before shot - this is even before we owned it.


Another after post-rainstorm.


Next mini project: So the dry river bed needed some landscape fabric....the labyrinth delivers! 



I found the river rocks in the creek bed here on the property - there are many mixed throughout the soil, it turns out. I dug each one out by hand...interesting geology around here.


The gravel garden has a few more larger rocks now, too. These come from the labyrinth.


 Next up -- the big Douglas fir tree. David limb-ed it up a bit, the bottom several branches are now gone. This photo is the before shot, taken last month.


Pictured here are the jumbo limbs scattered on the ground.


 Here it is after -- a couple more are probably going to go as it casts heavy shade on much of my gravel garden.


Next up - not a major change, but I planted four Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret' grasses along the house where I began the process of sheet mulching. These should get several feet high when fully grown.


Next up - a paint job. Finally the weather has been nice enough to do some outdoor painting. I have been longing to eliminate this pinkish color since we moved in. It feels too hot to me.


Yay! OK, I have a touch more detail painting to do, but overall it is done. Much like my former Casa Azul at the old Chickadee Gardens.


Next: David's new shed that came in the fabulous color of primer. He got his chance to paint his play house, too. He chose a slightly different color:


It speaks for itself.


Next, the front door's pinkish purple color was nice and cool but not my style.


It got the same treatment as my garden shed.






One last small project, the back door. Pink and purple. Umm...not our style.


It too got the same treatment as the garden shed. I'm trying to create continuity here.


Yay! No more pink.


Last but not least I was on a roll so got one of the three benches got the treatment, too. I imagine the next big painting project will be the deck and another good coat of paint or three.

So bit by bit it becomes what we envision. There is so very much to do that it feels like we haven't scratched the surface yet I know we have put in hundreds of hours. When I look back at older photos from just last fall I realize we have done so very much, it's just that some of what we do is the foundation stuff and doesn't really pay off until years later.

I can wait.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you for reading and until next time, happy gardening and happy spring, everybody!


19 comments :

  1. So much going on! What a perfect weather week for getting things done, I keep justing from one thing to another, as well. It's probably saves the back , with standing ,stretching and moving to the next job. Enjoy the weather!

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    1. Aah, Linda, good point! Maybe it's my survival instincts kicking in, then!!

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  2. Buried landscape fabric: ack! Pink and purple woodstuffs: ack! So much progress, so excited to see where you'll be by the end of the summer!

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    1. Ack is right, Alan. It's somehow a huge relief to see those colors gone. Now for the deck and I'll be satisfied.

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  3. I imagine you fall to sleep as soon as your head hits the pillow each night! You're making great progress. I laughed - in sympathy - at your discovery of landscape fabric under the old labyrinth. I found a massive sheet of heavy plastic several inches below the surface of what became my dry garden - occasionally, I still find pieces of it I didn't get in the first go.

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    1. Pretty much I do fall asleep but the aching muscles...OY! Ha ha...thanks again for your endless encouragement, it helps keep me going! Oh, that fabric. Horrid stuff when you're removing it from any landscape, but 50 foot diameter labyrinth was almost more than I could take :) I hope you got all yours out finally, it's awful.

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  4. Nicely done!!! You guys are really making headway. Love the blue colors, they look great with the metal siding.

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    1. Well, thank you Tamara! I am glad you commented on the blue, I quite like it with the metal - cool shiny colors...haha..thanks for the kind words!

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  5. There is nothing tiny about your projects and progress!!! I can't wait to see it in person again next month. (so you no like David's color choice?)

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    1. Well, tiny when you consider what else needs to be done...haha..

      The color of David's shed? Let's just say it's not what I would have chosen but he was stubborn about it. Too orange-y red for me, I wanted the rich dark red of Casa Azul. Oh well...it's his shed, after all :)

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  6. You've done a lot in a very short time. I can't wait to see it all again this fall, after a nice season of growth for your transplants!

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    1. Yes, I'm also looking forward to seeing how things fill in by this fall - and what survives! Say, by the way, I'm sorry about Moby - but maybe you'll have lots of agave babies. Let us hope.

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  7. It looks like amazing progress to me. Getting sidetracked is half the fun, don't you think? And what amazing shape you two will be in by the end of summer.

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    1. You know, you're right Rickii. Thanks for pointing that out. I DO love getting distracted, it is where much joy comes from. As far as being in amazing shape...well...tell my sorry bones that today! Hahah..mucho sore back and shoulder issues, but what the hell. Maybe someday that will translate to actual muscles.

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  8. I'm so impressed with your progress. Apparently that's what happens when you put your head down and go after it. I hope to be like you when I grow up. Everything is looking great.

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    1. Thank you Patricia! You are too kind, really. Well, it's what I love to do after all...that must be why I'm so crazy to do all of this. Just wait until you see the untamed part of the property...I have my work cut out for me, to be sure!

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  9. It all looks awesome! You've done a ton of work. It will be beautiful much sooner than later. :o)

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  10. I really enjoyed reading your post. Phew..so much work to do and you are all doing it great. Love all the colors. Would love to read all the plants that you chose for the dry-bed.

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  11. Busy bees out there in the "country!" ;o)

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