The First Year in My New Garden
This was my garden last winter when the snow melted briefly and I got to see what we have: grass and trees, a shed and an old swimming pool.Here’s the garden in July 2011. I started digging in the spring after a long debate about what I wanted to create. A clean slate can be daunting!I eventually opted for a symmetrical layout with six beds off the main path to the shed (like leaves growing off a stem). I wanted a moderate amount of garden with easy to access sections.My long term goal for the property is to create a thriving, living, ever-changing pocket of gorgeousness, brimming with delicious fresh fruits and veggies.” But I do not want to create more garden than I can easily manage. My last garden outgrew me and started to boss me around too much. I’m proceeding with more caution this time. I don’t wish to be owned by the garden.Someone who lived here about ten years ago must have been a gardener. I found some buried, old perennials under some grass and behind the swimming pool. I decided to plant all of these ‘gifts’ in the new beds and simply wait and see what they are and how they thrive (or not).This spring I bought five fruit trees (cherry, two apples, pear, plum). I’m still hunting for the right peach tree.At the back beside the shed, I unearthed some raspberries and rhubarb. I also planted a white grape and two blueberry bushes. I love an edible garden.The little pond is under construction. I wasn’t anticipating having such a hard time finding free rocks, so it may take a while. The Japanese Maple just behind the pond was dying in the front garden so I moved it here to see if it would revive. So far, so good.Off to the right, I built this big bin for compost and leaves (I’ve never had trees before!). Good trick: run the weed whacker over piles of leaves and you’ll have instant mulch. Works like a charm.My organic cucumbers are growing up the front of the bin and prove a lot of cukes for my daily green juice.I planted the corn rather late but it’s taking off in the dry, sandy soil. We’ll see if it beckons any raccoons at harvest time.This is the view from the compost bin: lots of riff raff here and there.I have three raised beds for veggies. I added all the compost I could get and planted everything from seeds started indoors around March. So far I’ve got broccoli, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, onions (a few kinds), peas (my favourite), now on second planting, carrots, parsley, potatoes (in a side bed), garlic, and things I’m forgetting.I put all my tomatoes in pots because I was paranoid that they might not thrive in the sandy soil. I think my spidey sense was correct because the only tomato I did plant in the main garden looks rather miserable.It’s going to take a few years to get the soil built up and luscious. Pots are a great option because it’s easy to move them around as needed and the creepy crawlies have a hard time finding them. I get these pots free at the garden centre recycle area.I realize it’s kinda hard to tell what the heck is going on in some of these photos but they will be helpful guides for me next year when I’m trying to figure out what’s what in the spring.Volley ball anyone? Or fresh peas (growing on the netting). I eat them when I’m working outside. They’re yet to make it to the table. Oink. Oink.As you can guess, it’s a bit of a lawn mowing obstacle course with my corded electric mower, but I’d rather die than use a gas-powered mower (stinky + fossil fuels) so I shall endure. Eventually I’ll find a good manual mower. I’m not interested in going grassless: that’s a lot of work and requires a mountain of mulch. (Kajing! $$$)I’ve basically placed the plants like I’m unpacking a suitcase and need to get sorted. I’m sure I’ll rearrange everything next year. The 6 bird feeders are all strategically placed for best viewing from the house and patio, and to allow the birds their own territories without too many battles.As I’ve quickly learned, rain vanishes into sandy soil. If it wasn’t for the mulch, many of the plants would have died by now.My gardening assistant, the chipmunk, planted most of the sunflowers. He picks odd locations but I like his style.I got a car load of plants from our hort society member’s sale. By the end of the sale day, they’re basically giving them away.I really like day lilies on their way out:I look forward to the day when these beds are so full of plants that you can’t see the mulch.In the foreground (below) is the one apple the squirrels haven’t taken. Except they did right after I took this photo. I think they’re getting revenge for the vegetable oil on the feeder poles. Seems fair, I suppose.My one big splurge this season (i.e. I paid full price-GASP) was the red cornflowers in the foreground, below. There’s so many gorgeous new ones in recent years. Also pictured is the red bee balm I found at the side of the house. The hummingbirds visit it every day.On the covered patio, I’ve got two Chicago fig trees, potted strawberries, and an elephant ear plant (not shown). I wasn’t planning to keep them all there but they seem to like the dappled sun and cooler environment.Here’s the view from the side of the patio plus a perfect setting sun:It’s a bit of a jumble at this point, but it’s a start.I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. I’d show you the front garden but there’s nothing there! Yet.
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