Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2003 - Garden Journal entries and photos

Well,  after a blockbuster and detailed start to the journal, I really fell off in production in journaling if not in the garden.

12 Apr - Shade structure in
26 Apr - replaced chainlink along drive with picket. Moved John Davis 24" west

3 May - Put in ferns , Bleeding Hearts, Helleboris,phlox, Mums, Astilbe - next steps are to till / grade the back and put down mulch
4 May - Cool and rain - new plants look good - not shocky at all.
16 May - big push, back area almost done - moved 4 yards of mulch - the wheelbarrow and I are old friends. Furniture arrived - Looks great!

10 June a gentle cool wet spring, Iris were spectacular - they are almost done. Salvia 24' tall and very strong. Roses look good - John Davis benefited from 26 April move. Hostas and west bed lush.

That's it, the extent of  of 2003 journal - Kinda pathetic huh?

The hosta's were for the most part donated, though I did get a few of the big ones.

Lets look at some the pictures?

Magnolia in front

Picket on left is last of fencing changes

Grubby clay crud

Are you kidding me?


At this point I  decided to used ground cloth to block any weeds and just mulch over the top. Good choice!

Furniture -  starting to come together

From the deck

Pretty proud of this, even the delivery guy said it looked good.

A few weeks later the roses are blooming!

So there we are for 2003!

Any questions or comments? Any readers? Buehler? Buehler?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2002 - Laying a foundation

This was the year I started on the indoor plants - some of which survive to this day! The boston fern which was a housewarming gift did not survive. This was the year of the fence- a huge change - chainlink to cedar panel with lattice top.

Also a lot of plants went in according to the plans I had in 2001. So that was positive….

I’ll put it in chronological order, if you don’t like this format let me know.

March 18 – tulips and daffodils poking up.
March 19 – got fence permit.
March 23 – raked yard.
March 26 – still cold 36 degrees

April 1 - peonies staring to emerge - started looking at Roses
April 3 - ordered Roses from High Country Roses  - John Cabot, John  Davis, and Redcoat
April 15-18 Very Warm!87-88 degrees. Built raised bed for herbs and vegetables 4'x7'x20"
April 27 - dug Rose bed next to garage - double dug and soil enhanced with lots of peat
April 30 - 2 yards of dirt delivered for Rose bed and raised bed

May 4 - made decision to fenbce entire perimeter of back yard
May 5 -  put in herbs, planred some nastursium seeds
May 10 - Bare root roses arrive!
May 11-12 - roses spend some time on porch hardening off
May 13- Plant roses - I may have been somewhat impatient (!)
May 22 - John Cabot rose not looking so good - other two look strong
May 27 - Cabot looking better, signed contract for fence - Cedar panel with lattice top

June 2 - Removed Arbor Vitae with help from volunteer, the soil beneath is very rich. Moved some some day lilies. I didn't know it at the time but I'd be moving them for years!
June 7 - put Salvia in rose bed
June 10 - a blossom on red coat - Oh Joy! oh Rapture!
June 13 - old fence removed
June 14 - fence posts in
June 22- Sister gave me  2 clumps of cone flowers, put them next to salvia, plus some columbine seeds. Columbine is one of my favorites.
June 26 -  Perimeter fence finally completed - seemed like forever but really only 2 weeks.
June 29 - Mulched rose bed, put 2 more cone flowers + artemesia +  3 sedum "autum joy"
June 30 - Put in clematis "etoile violette"

Aug 2 -  roses growing, tomatoes prolific
Aug 3 - put ivy in shady bare spot on long new fence
Aug 4 - started putting  picket fence to seperate full sun garden from back which will have significant shade
Aug 8 - 4 more yards of soil arrive  (are you keeping count?) for west sunny bed
Aug 9 - finished picket fence - used pea gravel at bottom to hold in place yet allow for good drainage
Aug 12 - pit in 24' long bed that varies from 8' to 12' wide. 30 wheelbarrows of dirt - all double dug put in grasses, russian sage, iris, lambs ear, rudebecki and lilies. I noted in my journal "Boy am I tired!"

Sept 16 - Roses sending up canes - decided  to add shade structure & small tree for sure in back area.
All in all summer of 2002 was very busy and really got the bones of the garden going. I moved a lot of soil, did a lot of double digging, and sat on the deck some more picturing in my mind where I wanted to go with it. Red wine helped! For some resaon I did not take many pictures in 2002.

Next will be 2003 - also a big year - shade structure, furniture and the shade garden in the back is

A word about High Country Roses & the roses I chose. HCR is a good company to do business with, they were very nice to this novice, shiped when they said they would and the roses are still flourishing, well two of them anyway.

The roses I chose are all Shrub roses. I wanted to screen the hard corner at the garage, and since they are Canadian they will easily tolerate the zone 5a where I am. I have nothing against tea roses, just not my style. If you are looking for a good place to get roses, I recommend High Country Roses. This is not a paid endorsement.

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 8, 2010

2001 - I have a dream!

2001 – This was the year I spent dreaming / planning – a small bed was put in along with some spring bulbs. I was working primarily on the house, including the sun room. It was stripped down to the studs and redone. I was pretty happy with the results.

Also to improve drainage, I put in 3 cubic yards of soil along the west side of the house to create sloping away from the house. I buried some daylilies – little did I know they wouldn’t care rather would thrive.

I along with a few friends rebuilt the deck overlooking the garden. I spent many a night overlooking the sparse yard trying to picture what it was I wanted to do. I also did a great deal of reading, planning, and thinking about what I wanted for the future.

It was also the first time I articulated my goals.

I wanted perpetual color from thaw to frost, low maintenance – clearly a relative term! Reduce the lawn space – (more flowers less mowing). Also I wanted entertaining space.

It was all coming together in my mind. My initial wish list included:

A dwarf tree
Spring bulbs
Azalea /Rhododendron
Shasta daisy
Ostrich ferns
Bleeding Heart
So there it was, I had my list, but no hardscape, no beds, just packed clay and scrubby grass. But I had a dream. And a strong back……

Saturday, February 6, 2010

In the beginning

I bought my small house in the suburbs of Chicago in late 2000. It was in poor condition, inside and out. Luckily, it did have a nice row of Peonies and a Magnolia in the front yard. The back was a chain link enclosure of scrubby grass and some ratty Arbor Vitae screening the alley.

The journal I have sporadically kept stated my goals as:
This journal will be the record of attempts to plan, grow and cultivate living green things, both inside and out while I live here.

Prior to the beginnning of this journal some changes were made to the proprty, most notably the removal 27 small tree, diseased scrub elm between my driveway and the neighbors.

The property is long and narrow with the best chance of success in the southfacing backyard. There are full sun to full shade locations of various sizes.

My hope is in time (measured in how many years?) to have a retreat with good color, interesting plants and once established, minimal effort. I plan to use rain barrel collection for water through the warm months. We'll See! ~12.27.01
I've done pretty well, though I admit I've not done the rain barrel collection yet, but I have one and this could be the year.

This blog will be a recap, bringing  you up to date with the various projects, and plantings  through the years.   For now I'll start with  "before and after" pictures.



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