Thursday, October 06, 2016

Finding Land: One Year Later

A year has come and gone since we first viewed this property, put in an offer, and then had the offer accepted. To celebrate the anniversary, let's take a look at some BEFORE and AFTER photos. What I've done is take the exact images from the initial post, which can be revisited here, and recreated the same shot the other day. Many shots look quite the same, but a few really remind me why my shoulders feel like they're in a Vulcan death grip. Oh, the pain!


The first photo from that hot, September day last year. I recall wanting to remove the deer fence surrounding the raised beds even then. And please, paint that porch. Ideas were percolating like crazy.



Here it is today, many of my wishes fulfilled. No more pink deck (but a little more work to do yet on it such as the metal cables going across it horizontally for a safety barrier) and no more deer fence around the veggie patch. The plants in the foreground were added very recently so will take a while to settle in. This is where many asters and grasses have been planted or moved from other parts of the garden. The idea is that it will be a transitional meadow-kind of garden, while the more formal plantings are closer to the house.



Then, a sunny day but a dried-up bank of a few crocosmias, asters, azaleas and Alchemilla mollis, my arch nemesis. The soil could not be dug into as it was rock hard.



Here it is today on a drizzly afternoon. The soil is much richer having a lot of compost and gravel added. I can easily dig into it now and have done just that . . . many, many times. The bed has been completely redesigned and 95% of the plants have been moved or removed. Many more added.



The "forest" on the northern edge of the property.


Here it is today, with a bad photo, my apologies. What's new here is the fence on the left and therefore the removal of many of these trees, especially farther east. There is Facilities Manager's log pile in the middle of the trees and you can just make out the green chicken cube/coop on the right.



The driveway as it was last November. You can see the hot-pink garden shed in the background.


Today - what's different is the hazelnut on the left is gone (except for the stump), there is a massive debris pile on the right which will go away soon, and also although out of frame, just to the right, a large maple tree has been removed. The shed, barely visible in the distance, is now Casa Azul blue.



This is actually a lovely scene from last November. The grass was starting to green up from all of the fall rains.



Today - wow, so much is different. The bed on the right was created by sheet mulching (which I did in January, you can revisit that post here) and now holds a field of Carex comans 'Frosty Curls' and four large Miscanthus sinensis 'Cabaret' grasses. The gravel path is of course new (and will be expanded) and this is also the top edge of the fire pit area below in the center of the white plastic chairs. The labyrinth garden can just be seen to the left where the labyrinth once was. The whole thing is connected so it doesn't feel like three separate areas any longer.



 One of two gorgeous Oregon white oaks on the property, this one in the wild east fields.


Here it is today. Not much has changed except its neighbor to the right, the large dead Acer macrophyllum has been chopped down by Facilities Manager. There are also many debris piles awaiting their fate, too.



Aaah, labyrinth, you were fun. But you were also 50' in diameter . . . that's valuable gardening space. The rock pile can just barely be seen on the right side.



Even though a gloomy shot with dead grass in the foreground, I still prefer the sight of plants. The gravel path will be extended, as will the bed to the right. These are newly planted, so they have obviously not filled in. I am so excited to observe them do so over the next few decades. There are many evergreen shrubs, small trees both deciduous and evergreen and several perennials. Oh, and the rock pile is gone. Thanks, FM!



The plant prison a year ago. Pink deck and all.



This to me is the most telling and revealing about how I envision the whole garden. I started here first, the epicenter of the garden and it's starting fill in and give a sense of place. This brings me enormous joy.


Facing west a year ago. This was in November with many pretty leaves all around.



Today you can see our new fence and gate, a row of Spiraea betulifolia along the edge of the driveway, a giant debris pile to the left and the removal of the other dead Acer macrophyllum. Also in the forestry area on the other side of the driveway are many many shrubs. They won't be visible from this distance for a year or two.



The berm garden with four or five azaleas along the edge and many other very unhappy plants.


The azaleas have been liberated and the soil improved. Many happy plants.


Same scenario here, but at least it's a sunny shot.



Compost, gravel, plants, plants and more plants.



Parting shot, much like the initial photo for this post.


Here it is today, complete with volunteer pumpkin vine on the left.

I love this place. The beauty of it, the serenity, the wildlife all fill our hearts with such joy. It is a privilege to live here. We are two grateful, humble souls looking forward to the next 30 years on this land.

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


27 comments :

  1. Wonderful! All the hard work has been worth it. Also, this gives me so much hope for getting our - much - smaller plot of land in shape. It'll happen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Stephen! I must admit, no matter the size of land, planning your dream outdoor space -- although a lot of hard word -- is SO worth it. I know you two (three!) will create a paradise as you have already with your now gorgeous home.

      Delete
  2. These acres are so lucky to have you! So many incredible choices you've made already. I do hope there's a bath tub somewhere for the good, long soak you deserve!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Denise! The bath tub is on the top of my list of things to buy as soon as the other house sells. Yay bath tubs! :)

      Delete
  3. You did a lot of amazing work...but one of the most amazing was getting rid of the pink railing and styling the deck! I can't believe this is a year already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, a year has gone by rather quickly, hasn't it? Thanks for your kind words and I agree, that pink being gone changes everything.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous4:46 PM PDT

    Really enjoyed the before and astounding after photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and commenting, I really appreciate it! :)

      Delete
  5. this would have taken me 20 years to pull off. You guys are incredible!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, shucks Fifi...thanks! I doubt it would take you that long...besides, FM David is retired, remember? :)

      Delete
  6. You've done so much work in a year, and it's really paying off! The new garden areas look great and will fill in before you know it. Just out of curiosity, why is Alchemilla mollis your arch nemesis? Why did you cut down the hazelnut by the driveway? And do you plan to dig out the stump or keep cutting the suckers back?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alchemilla mollis: Oh, because it was EVERYWHERE embedded into the sludge lumps that once occupied the berm garden. I had 30# lumps of the stuff, I'm not exaggerating, that took a couple of solid afternoons of digging by myself and FM to get them out. That's all that was growing in many areas. They are still coming back. I find seedlings all the time. It takes over.

      We cut down the hazelnut because we wanted a more open view along the drive and the hazelnuts were a little out of control. There's a whole thicket of them which we are mostly leaving intact, but opened up a little for air circulation and light. I don't know if we'll dig out the stump...I regularly trim the suckers back. On the stump is some salal and I'd like to encourage that, so leaving it is fine by me if I can keep the hazel under control.

      Delete
    2. That makes sense, on both counts. Having to fight with a bunch of one olant can definitely make a gardener sick of it. Such tough filler plants are invaluable in a large garden, but not if they are in the wrong place or clash with your aesthetic. The hazelnut will come back for a long time, but should die eventually if you're persistent. I figured it was something like opening up the view so you can see the gate.

      Delete
  7. What a difference a year makes! Absolutely enjoyed seeing the before and after shots taken from the same angle. It gives such perfect perspective of the incredible changes you've made there. Amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! Maybe I'll keep adding an updated photo from the same angle every year as a tradition to see how things evolve in year-long segments of time lapse. Thanks for the sweet words! :)

      Delete
  8. Your year of hard work has paid off. It really won't be long until it all fills in and looks like your vision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I hope so...I hope you can come out and visit sometime. Next time you guys make a Cistus/Joy Creek trip, stop on your way, ok? I'll entice you with lunch. And plants.

      Delete
    2. Oh, I would love to do that. Thanks so much for the invite!

      Delete
    3. Take us up on it, Alison. I'd love to see you and show you around and hopefully get some Alison advice. Plus there's a SWEET little British tea house here in Saint Helens (only open on weekends) that serves the real deal. You and Nigel might like it...people I have taken there have said it really feels British and the food is great.

      Delete
  9. What a fun and impressive look back at a year-long transformation! You've made SO much progress already, and I look forward to following along with you as it evolves and matures. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Pam! Coming from you who has also gone through the creation of a new garden several times, I appreciate your words and encouragement! :)

      Delete
  10. The garden has already gained a tremendous character and all the credit goes to you and your equally hard-working Facility Manager. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for Facilities Manager DP! I'm glad some character comes through...when you live in it it can be difficult to see.

      Delete
  11. Looks fabulous! You've done an amazing amount of work! :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Casa! More work to come...but we love it!

      Delete
  12. So I think my comment disappeared? Anyway I am so impressed with your and David's vision and follow-through...you guys are amazing!

    Also I think it's hilarious that we both did before and after posts and hadn't even discussed it's!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I did not see a previous comment...that's odd. Anna said she had tried to respond also with no success.

      Anyhow, isn't that a funny coincidence? Haha..I laughed a little when I saw your amazing post about 2005 - 2016. Us gardeners, we're an obsessed group, aren't we? And a little surreal that we both did the same post on the same week unknowingly.

      Delete

Thank you for your comments! I love hearing them, I will approve comments as soon as I can. Yay!