Monday, July 24, 2017

July roundup

Our lavender patch was lovely this year. Also, there's G looking all grown up.
G in our Annabelle hydrangeas. He's 4' 4", so they're pretty tall.
Honeybee on native milkweed
Our new native redbud
And our new native musclewood.
Sunflowers facing west in the afternoon.
Our black-eyed susans are starting to bloom. Native echinacea behind it in full throttle with the remains of salvia out front.
I just happened to snap this photo of a bumblebee just starting to take off. 
Here he is working on another coneflower

Monday, July 17, 2017

Garage bench

Finally got around to installing the pegboard. If you remember the before:

Not so great, right? So we removed the post in the center and I went out and got a 4' square sheet of pegboard, plus a basic kit of hooks. Everything else that had been there went in the trash.

We now have an actual cleared work space! I also relocated a bin of spare soccer equipment so our yard waste bins have a home now.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Weekend - Sunday and Monday

Sunday morning we were at it again bright and early. Went to our local garden store for veggies and perennials - in a downpour. It rained all morning. 

We went up to my folks house with the intention of planting their garden, but the rain meant that wasn't possible. We had planned to stay the night, so the next morning - out in the garden by 8am. There were still some pockets of standing water so it was a good thing I brought my wellies.
They're growing 11 tomato plants, 6 pepper, 6 squash, a variety of beans, radishes, carrots, beets, kohlrabi, broccoli, cucumber, and probably more that I'm forgetting.

Then we went home to cover and plant our own garden. We ended up scaling back a little bit this year and did mostly transplants. We have 4 tomato plants, 3 eggplant, 4 pepper, 2 jalapeno, 2 poblano, 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 2 cukes, 2 beans, 2 peas, onions, dill. Then some oregano, basil and lettuce that I'm going to put in pots on our deck. I still have to plant seeds for carrots, radishes, sweet corn, and pumpkin.
The first rose of the season bloomed either late Sunday or early Monday. 
Finally, some new additions to our patio - umbrella and chairs - to compliment our existing set. I'm loving the combination of blue and red.
The new blue chairs also nicely match our bench.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorial Weekend - Saturday

Lots accomplished today. First thing in the morning C and I went to a local nursery and purchased two new trees - a musclewood and a native redbud. When we got back, I pruned the viburnum by hand and am very happy with the results.

While H mowed the lawn, I weeded all the planting beds except the bean bed and the island bed. I also pruned the climbing rose in the fireplace bed. She looks a little stunted right now, so here are some of my unsung heros. I love my hostas and native columbine.
Close up of the columbine. So very pretty.
I discovered our coneflower in the west fence bed seeded itself in new locations. Very happy about this!.
The spirea have really finally filled in. Love the foliage color and I can't wait for it to bloom.
After weeding, I re-edged the entire fireplace bed. This makes my German soul very happy.
Close up of the red-twig dogwood.
In addition to mowing, H was in charge of rototilling the garden beds and the northwest bed (I need a better name) in preparation for our new trees. He also re-set the landscape edging out front so that it was level with the ground again.

Here's the garden beds all ready to be covered and planted.
And the two front beds ready for their new trees (with C riding his tricycle in the background).
After all this was done, we grilled some salmon and asparagus for dinner. The troops were hungry - no leftovers!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

New perennials

Put in nearly $200 of new perennials today. All natives or hybrids.

Monarda and Coreopsis in the sunny part of the bean bed to provide some different color and bloom times. Then large pots of wild ginger under the linden to start to provide ground cover.

Then Tradescantia and Hyssop in the west fence bed.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Garage Shelving, part 2

If you remember, last September we put in a large stretch of Elfa shelving in our garage and re-arranged a few other things. We decided to put that in place first and live with it for a few months before going on and putting up more storage.

This turned out to be a good thing, because it let us figure out some things we knew we wanted, like adding in space for muddy boots, snow pants, etc. It also let me realize that it was inconvenient as hell to have the garden supplies to the side of the door I couldn't just reach from inside the house.

So the second phase resulted in me heading to The Container Store to make several modifications to the original plan. The section we were primarily concerned with is this one:
Prior to heading to The Container Store, I made an inventory of the garage, and then categorized items. This would help with figuring out how much space and shelving we really needed.

Once at the store I showed the space planner my list and we pulled up my original plans. We made several modifications - added a basket shelf, two utility panels for hanging coats, grocery bags, etc.. Another thing I wanted to accomplish was to get rid of the "storage" space over the garage window where we were putting things like hoses, chicken wire, tarp, etc. because the support for that storage was interfering with my plan to put pegboard above the workbench. Therefore one of the biggest change on this section was to make the top shelf 20" deep instead of 16" like the rest of them.

Order placed and shelves acquired, I took them back home. Once C and G woke up from their naps, it took me about an hour to have everything done.

After the shelves were up, I made a sketch of the full wall and started categorizing where things would go.

Plan in hand, I then started to organize equipment. As you can see, the hoses and tarp and other infrequently used materials fit just fine up top. Garden gloves, hats, sunscreen, etc. are currently in the shelf basket. 
The large "Pile o' Strollers" will be reduced to just one as soon as I can sell the other two, but we'll want that floor space for the wagon and bikes. Note the convenient hook for our grocery bags, reachable from inside the house and quickly grabbed on the way to the car. The currently empty panel will have hooks to hang garden tools from, so we're no longer playing the game of "Where is the goddamned hand weeder?"

I'm not 100% convinced everything will stay where it is. My initial thinking, planned in the depth of winter, may need adjustment to accommodate real life. But the important thing is this grants us more flexibility.

Looking at the back wall of the garage now, the small shelf becomes "bagged goods". A basket was relocated to store dirty rags and the like.

We decided we might keep the over the window storage, but if we do, we're going to move the support pillar so that it's next to the window. Then that nasty set of shelves will go away (or be reduced/replaced) and pegboard can be installed on that wall, so we're no longer playing the game of "Where's the goddamned hammer?"

The final corner lets us more easily store all of the bulky stuff like the lawn mower, wheel barrow, etc.

This section and the east wall will be the final part we take on. We need more efficient/better defined large tool storage. But that's another project for another day.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter garden

Here in WI, our gardens tend to become things we dream about - remembering the year past and planning for the new year to come. When it is light for only 9 hours - all of which are spent at work - it makes enjoying a winter garden somewhat difficult.

But once in a while we are offered a chance to escape into the present. On a warmer day over the past weekend, I was able to get out into the garden.

Some leaves remain on the linden, along with seeds and berries for the birds.

I leave the plants in pace in the winter to provide food and shelter

Snow on Sedum

Frost glazes a bit of Russian Sage


Some bright color, courtesy of rose hips.


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