Thursday, 8 April 2010

Spring cleaning (in the garden, that is…)

As the days are getting longer I have found myself back in gardening mode. That's not to say that I actually enjoy the process of gardening yet...I don"t. But, I'm trying to coax myself into loving it. Considering we bought a house with a massive garden...I have no choice but to learn to love it.

In these early spring months, the garden doesn't look very pretty. This is a picture from last year, when we were putting our offer on the place, but it looks pretty much like this now too:


Last year we left the garden as-is, to see what would come up, what needed to be changed, that sort of thing. This year it's time to make some changes!

First on the agenda is a massive clean. In our case, it's not quite as simple as picking up some twigs. We have actual whole dead trees back there. Now, you CAN rent a wood chipper at Home Depot for $165 per day...but Billy has decided that he would rather do the cutting by hand (he's crazy). So, he will take care of that part of it, and I will gather the seven billion dead leaves that are back there.

Then it's time to really get started. We're considering short-term and long-term major changes, and we're both super excited about it! Here are some of our short term ideas:

1. Recreate sections of the garden beds. Some of the existing plants are great, but there are huge areas that need to be pulled out complete. I also want to add lots of shrubs, which can be so pretty and low-maintenance. One thing that we have found very useful are the garden plans available on If you go to the Garden Plans section of their website, you can download full plans, including plant names and a map on where to plant everything. We’re obsessed with them! You do have to register, which is a very simple and free process, and it's so worth it! Here'sa link to one of my favs:

Evening Garden

2. Replace the gazebo. Sadly, the winter was not good to our canopy...and yes, we should have taken it down, but alas it has been torn and the frame is a bit damaged. We haven't been able to find one we like just yet, but we're on the lookout for a nice one, possibly a bit larger than the last one.

3. Plant an herb garden. In the past few months I have been learning to cook with fresh herbs (who knew it actually makes a difference...) and so this has become a must-have for us. Placement is a concern, I don't want it to get lost in with the other plants. But it's on the agenda to find the perfect place for this. I found a great herb garden plan as well.

4. Consider a hedge as a new fence option. Billy REALLY wants a new fence. And yes, I do too, but with the size of our backyard it would be a financial/labour nightmare. So, I'm trying to talk him into considering a more natural option, and using evergreen trees/shrubs as an option. This too will be pricey, but it could look SO beautiful. Here's what I'm imagining:


5. Make our grass really, really green. There are tons of lawn care tips online, but we're going with the overseed and fertilize plan. Luckily, before all of this rain started I put an entire bag of seed on our lawn, so I'm hoping in a week or two we'll see some little sprouts!

6. Add more grass. As most of you will remember, to the left of the gazebo there was a huge area of raspberry bushes. These drive us crazy, and don't really produce raspberries anyway. So the plan is to rip them all out (leaving all of the trees in that area) and replace it with sod. We have to do the same thing on the far left side of the house as well, which currently is a lovely combination of old mulch and weeds.

It's going to be a busy summer for us! But spending time outside seems like the perfect way to enjoy the good weather anyway. Just don't make fun of me too much if I end up buying one of those old lady sun hats.

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