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Latelies: Planting Flowers and Melting Hearts

October 20, 2015

You guys, we actually have landscaping in our front yard!

I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. We have been working on these beds for almost 4 years now. 4 long, frustrating years! After numerous failed attempts of adding plants, and way too much time spent thinking about soil and light and color combinations, I finally admitted, “I just want flowers! Pretty flowers that make me smile when I pull into the driveway and walk to the front door.” This revelation came on a Friday, and by Saturday we had a trunk filled with snap dragons, roses, and a few pots of small, white flowers.

flower combinations here-lately.com

We weren’t planning on buying any plants over the weekend, but a local garden center, Red Barn, was hosting a fall fest, so we took the kids and ended up coming home with plants, too. Which I’m sure the marketing team at Red Barn never expected to happen (wink wink). The fall fest was really fun! Right at the gate there was an employee handing out bags with coloring books and candy to the kids. There were also employees walking around with buckets of candy that the kids could “trick or treat”. I was impressed to see that in addition to candy, they had small toys, perfect for families like ours that have dietary restrictions. Needless to say, the kids loved it.

fall fest | here-lately.com

There was face painting, bounce houses, a petting zoo, and multiple pumpkin patches. The petting zoo included kittens that were up for adoption. Eleanor has never encountered an actual kitten (Louie was full grown when she was born), but when see saw them… oh, man. It was a look of pure joy on her face, and it made my heart melt. I could go on about how special it is to witness your children experience firsts like that, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, let’s get back to the flowers!!

While Michael took Emerson and Akira to the fall fest at Akira’s school (Yes! Another one!) and Eleanor was napping, I planted the orange snap dragons in the planter by our front door. I also planted the pink snap dragons and 18 ranunculus bulbs along the border. I picked up the bulbs from Wal–Mart a few years ago and they’ve been sitting in a drawer, so it’s a gamble on if they will actually grow. On Sunday, Michael planted the roses and the white flowers. And ta da!

flowers here-lately.com

flowers here-lately.com

The small bushes and the blueish green plants along the border are things that we planted a few months ago. We never blogged about it, because honestly, we were waiting to see if they would die. They’re still going strong, so yay! I don’t remember what the small, blueish green ones on the border are called, but the bushes on the side of the roses are dwarf nandina. We picked those as our anchors. They last year-round and are supposed to turn red in the fall.

I’ve walked outside and just looked at our front yard more times than I’d like to admit. It’s such a change from the barren beds we’ve had for the last few years. Our sweet neighbor even came over to admire our new plants with us. We’re not done, however! We still want to carve out and plant a bed that follows the sidewalk like mentioned here. We’d also like to add one more type of anchor plant to the empty spaces in the bed. I don’t know that anchor plant is an actual term, but what I mean by that is: something that last year-round and has some sort of seasonal interest (either blooming or changing colors like the nandina). We also want to add something – maybe upright and trailing – to the empty spot next to the garage wall.

We also have a few spots on the sides of the house that we’d like to dress up with a few plants. We’re not sure what yet, but I’m fascinated by camillas, because they bloom mid-winter through late spring, so I’d really like to a few of those if we can find the right spot for them. I think for right now, though, we’re going to focus on making sure our new plants don’t die. I know I keep mentioning that, and you might be thinking, “Geez! Why are having such a hard time keeping plants alive?!” But the soil here is a beast! It’s hard, dry, and mostly clay and rock. About 2 years ago, we dug up the top layer and added organic garden soil and compost, but it’s only helped a little. We’ve also been adding peat moss to the soil when we plant things. Peat moss doesn’t absorb as much water, so it helps keep some air in the soil and prevent the clay from compacting and killing the roots. (This is also why we tried to pick plants this time around that we saw growing in our neighbors’ yard.) If anyone has any other tips to help us keep our plants alive, please share!

I’ll leave you with is before and after – that I may or may not come back and stare at multiple times today…

BEFORE:

 

gardening how nots via here-lately.com

AFTER:

front yard landscaping | here-lately.com

Outdoors

The Mascara of Landscaping

July 20, 2015

We were at it again over the weekend. The “it” being working outside on the yard. This weekend, we were in the backyard laying mulch and moving a few plants in our back beds.

Things started out look like this:

Landscaping | here-lately.com

Landscaping | here-lately.com

And ended up looking like this:

Landscaping | here-lately.com

Landscaping | here-lately.com
I’m convinced that mulch is awesome. It just pulls everything together like the mascara of landscaping, right? I kid. (Also, our poor hydrangea in the back there needed some water. We had just watered it the day before, and already it was looking parched.)

We planted a few plants when most of the others were still hanging out underground (perennial bulbs), so we didn’t realize they weren’t all evenly spaced until they emerged a few months ago. It was quite the feet to move the few plants that we did. The ground was so dry and so hard (which you can see in the bottom left corner of the photo above), at one point I had to saturate the ground with the hose just to be able to get the  shovel to go into the dirt.

While we were working outside we also found a little surprise in our garden.

Landscaping | here-lately.com

This is the first time we’ve actually had things growing in our 4 ft x 4 ft garden that we haven’t killed! (I’m convinced things are thriving in there, because of the few tips that we shared here.) I can’t believe how fast and big watermelon plants grow! You can see them to the left spilling over the sides of the garden box in the photo below. (We also have tomatoes, basils, and a bell pepper plant in there.)

Landscaping | here-lately.com

We planted the watermelon seeds about a month ago, and within 2 days we started to see the little seedlings! We planted two watermelon seeds, which we got from a watermelon purchased at our farmer’s market a few years ago. Yep. I said years ago. It was probably about 2 years ago. We let the seeds dry out on a paper towel for a few days and then put them in a ziplock bag. And now we have that cute little melon growing in our garden. I just hope the squirrels don’t find it. I’m not sure if they will eat it, but I wouldn’t put it past them. They are still gnawing on our lemons. Which! By the way, have still not turn yellow.

Landscaping | here-lately.com

What we have left to do in the yard:

  • Plant the blueberry bush
  • Get year-round interesting plant for the front yard
  • Remove the grass on the side of the shed to make a new garden bed + add mulch
  • Put some grass seed on the bald spots in the front and back yard
  • Clean out the bed on the left side of the house and add plants
  • Add window boxes to the 2nd story windows on the front of the house (Not really yard work, but close enough.)

What about you guys? Were any of you working outside? Am I the only one who thinks it feels like it will never end?