1-2002 GARDEN PICS  CLEMATISdda

2. GARDENS

This expanse of lawn is our only real “yard.” It’s east of the house and there is more soil here than in the back yard. I wish it were 100% level but I don’t think there’s even a 5′ square patch of level ground on any of our property!  I fertilize it every spring and use a broadleaf killer on it to keep dandelions and weeds out, but while it always looks so nice in the spring, by July it always looks a little tired.

Every spring I fertilize this section of lawn, which is east of the house. Then I go through with a broadleaf spray to make sure no dandelions or other weeds come up. There is a bit more soil here than in the back yard.
Drought! In 2012 we had ample rains in May and early June. So much rain, in fact, that there was no worry about trees or shrubs with deep roots. But flowers and shallow-rooted shrubs, and especially the lawn, started suffering when the last rain occurred on June 7 and then it never rained a drop again till the end of August! It was also so hot!

1-2012 JUL DROUGHT PICS
In 2012 we went through a bad drought. I simply had to give up watering the grass as it was taking too much time to water the flowers and shrubs. I knew the grass would go dormant and then recover, but the roses, shrubs, and other plants needed water or they would die.

A few years ago we had our patio more than doubled in size. It only used to come out to those deck posts, but we extended it towards the left.  We couldn’t grow grass there very well because it was a narrow strip and hard to mow, and I tried  planting flowers there but the soil wasn’t conducive to it. Cement seemed to be the only thing that worked well.

1-PATIO FLOWERS2

 

1-PATIO FLOWERS
I like potted plants on the patio but I don’t like watering them every day. That beautiful pink-flowered plant was a mandevilla that I brought back from Florida. I had it many years, bringing it inside in the winter, but I’m not a fan of house plants and seldom give them the care they need, so it died.

 

View from the patio in
View from the patio in late August. Every tree in the photo was planted by hand. Before those trees were planted it used to be a cow pasture and then a cornfield.

 

1-NEW PATIO 1
I think the patio is probably the largest area of absolutely level area on our property!

Imagine my surprise in going to the flower bed one day and finding this thing! It looks rather suggestive! It’s actually called a “stinkhorn mushroom.” That drippy black stuff around the top is what stinks!

1-STINKHORN 4a

The garden below is a pain in the butt. Our hayfield in on the right, a trail on the left, and my son’s cornfield in the background. I had to divide flowers that were in the yard because they were spreading all over. I decided to make a strip of flowers here.  Sort of stupid, because there’s no way to get water to them, and since this strip of flowers is about 300′ long, it’s a heck of a lot of weeding to do!

1-HAT GARDEN 4

1-HAYFIELD LOOKING SOUTH
Part of the strip garden in the pic above. This was early morning the first week in October. That band of mist is above our creek. Every year in late August through late October there is always a morning mist hanging over the creek.

I had about 18 blueberry bushes of different varieties in three different locations. There were four of them below the house and they did fairly well, because it was the only area I could get water to, so in the summer of 2015 I had my husband expand that area to accomodate the other bushes. Since there is no level ground here, the bed had to be leveled out by using railroad ties and then hauling in good dirt from elsewhere on the property. It was quite a job. Thank goodness our grandson, Hunter, was here to help!

GORD HUNTER BLUEBERRY BED 1
The first part of this project was leveling off the ground where the railroad ties would go for the raised bed.

 

HUNTER BLUEBERRY BED 1
After the railroad ties were in place, soil had to be hauled in, leveled, and tilled. Then we sent a few soil samples off to the state to have it analyzed, as blueberries need a very acidic soil. Once we got the results back we went to the Agricultural Co-op in town and took the soil results in and they figured out what we needed to add, which was ammonium sulfate, elemental sulphur, and peat moss, along with some composted manure. The next step in this bed, for spring 2016, is we need to build a support all around it and across the top, at a height of 6′ and cover it with  1/4″ netting so the birds can’t get in there and eat all my berries. The 1/4″ opening will allow bees in to pollinate, though. I’m hoping for a really good crop!

 

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This is as level as we could get the bed unless we wanted to dig the right side another two feet deeper and put on two more layers of railroad ties. We weren’t up for that. It’s level enough! At least it will be easy for me to water. I plan on running a hose down that bank above the blueberry bed, with the end in the bed connected to soaker hoses. Then all I have to do to water it is hook a short hose to the open end at the top of the bank and to the faucet on the side of the house.