Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2007 Garden Projects Completed

During the first few weeks of January many garden bloggers had "looking back at 2007" posts. I'm a little late to the party, as usual, but I wanted to look back at some of the garden projects that were completed in 2007 at Robin's Nesting Palce.

The largest and most satisfying project, completed during early spring 2007, was the patio wall. It really made a huge difference to the look and feel of the patio. It was worth every penny spent and every sore muscle. Thankfully, my 15 year old son helped me with this project.

This birdbath project was small compared to the patio wall, but was very big on impact and enjoyment for me and the many birds who visited Robin's Nesting Place. I used materials that I already had on hand, left over from other projects, that were just taking up space in the garage.

There was nothing planted here but the maple tree. I removed the grass and created a flower bed around the birdbath.

By the end of the summer, surrounded by zinnias and lantana, it was very pretty and brought me so much pleasure.

Here is a picture of the patio wall in progress and another project I was working on at the same time, (I have a tendency to have too many projects going at once). I actually began this project in the fall of 2006. We had nothing planted on the left side of the patio. I removed the grass, made a raised flower bed and brought in bag after bag of manure, humus rich top soil, peat and a little sand to amend the soil.

This new flowerbed extended from the corner of the house to the patio. I planted three Arborvitae on each side of the patio wall to give a little more privacy. I don't particularly like them, and am wondering if I really want them there. For right now they serve the purpose intended.

Here is another picture after the perennials were added.

The flowers grew quickly and filled the space very nicely. I also planted flowers that would attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

The only area in the backyard that had flowers was the flowerbed on the right side of the patio. It started at the patio and extended to the corner of the house. I didn't like the shape of the existing bed, and decided to curve it around the birch tree instead.

Which meant removing grass, laying down newspaper and hauling in mountains of stuff to amend the soil and fill the bed. I didn't plant anything in this new area because by the time I finished the project we were already having drought conditions and were on water restriction. I did however plant spring bulbs and can't wait for them to bloom.

As you can see in this picture we are very close in proximity to the neighborhood common area, which is very loud, unsightly and affords us very little privacy. Also the children have a tendency to use our yard as a path to get back and forth and will actually ride their bikes through the yard.

So, began the project to clearly define the property line by planting all the way around the perimeter of the backyard. As I said before, I don't particularly like arborvitae, but they are inexpensive and add an element of enclosure and privacy. I never have liked the look of a hedge of arborvitae so I mixed these with ornamental grass and perennials and like that look much better. (It is very windy here and we had a difficult time getting and keeping the arborvitae straight.)

We brought in a truckload of top soil and mulch for this project because I wanted the area to be raised a bit and also because we have terrible, hard clay soil, we actually did this, (soil and mulch), part of the project in the fall of 2006. A few years ago we planted six maple trees around the perimeter of the yard and a few other trees, that and the right side patio flowerbed was basically all that was growing in the back yard before the fall of 2006.

The left side of the yard was pretty bare and we definitely needed privacy and our view shielded on that side of the property too, (I'll spare you the details on this one). I planted shrubs, a few trees, ornamental grass, and perennials. I didn't bring in soil for this side, (wish I had), I did amend the soil as I planted though. I also didn't remove the grass or lay newspaper to kill weeds. My son and I used the free mulch our community provides and ran out of time and decent weather before the project was satisfactorily completed. I have a strong feeling I'll be focusing on this improperly done project come spring.

Another project for 2007 was tackling the side yard that faces the street, (we're on the corner lot). For some reason we only seemed to be able to grow dandelions next to the house and it was looking pretty unsightly.

I removed the grass, or rather, I should say dandelions, (all by hand with that small scraper tool you can barely see under the water spigot), and created a raised bed connecting the front yard flowerbed to the right side backyard flowerbed. I laid newspaper and again brought in a mountain of cheap top soil, humus, peat, and manure to fill in this long narrow raised bed.

In the fall I transplanted hostas, echinacea and a few other perennials in the new side yard flowerbed. I also planted a few spring bulbs. I'm not entirely happy with the raised bed since it isn't perfectly straight and I need to do something to have better access to the water spigot. A good project for 2008.

When the builder built these homes they used the cheapest light post they could find, and they are ugly. Ours needs to be replaced, but in the meantime I created this flowerbed and planted ornamental grass on either side of the post, I later added salvia and mums.

Another small project I completed in 2007 was enlarging the flowerbed around the mailbox and and replacing the brick with this more attractive border.

Now that I've recapped the projects completed for 2007, I need to think about what I want to accomplish for 2008. Thankfully, I think the most labor intensive part has already been done.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Whoooo Hoooo, It looks like you are going to have fun this spring with planting. You have such nice areas made up and the one that needs your attention. I just love to have spaces like that. I can't wait to see what all you do. Plus it is nice to have a young teen at your disposal. I know my kids got tired of their garden tasks but it has paid off for them now. They both like garden work and enjoy doing it. I really missed their help, I mean them, when they moved out. ;)

Kylee Baumle said...

Wow, Robin, you had a BUSYYYYYY year! I remember the bird bath. I think that was about the time I discovered your blog. And I might just copy your idea this summer, if that's okay! Imitation really IS the sincerest form of flattery, you know!

Aiyana said...

Hi Robin,
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
It looks like you had a productive gardening year in 2007. Hope 2008 is good for you too.
Come back and visit again,

Unknown said...

Holy-moley, Robin's Nesting Place has been a HAPPENING spot! I especially love the birdbath...I'm going to bookmark this post so I can remember it and cajole longsuffering spouse into making something similar, come spring. We vaguely remember spring, don't we??

Frances, said...

I love seeing before and after photos. Thank goodness for the digital cameras to easily record the big improvements made to our gardens. Wonderful read!

Frances at Faire Garden

kate said...

You certainly accomplished much in 2007. What an incredible transformation. Teenage sons are a big help! Mine does all the heavy lifting, shoving, pushing etc. and rarely complains.

The lantana and zinnias look so wonderful to my colour-starved eyes. Your bird-bath project turned out really well.

I bet 2008 will be filled with many other projects too!!!

m.e. said...

Robin, what a wonderful look back at your projects this past year. And I loved the pics of the lovely things you have done inside your home and got some decorating ideas from you. As Kylee said, "imitation really IS the sincerest form of flatter!"

It was nice to see the pics of you and your hubby. Seeing you two brought back memories of a sweet era ministering together at CBC!

Love ya!

Anonymous said...

You have been a busy digger this year, Robin. I especially like your birdbath and your wall; I'm a sucker for stacked stone or bricks. Good luck coaxing that mixed border to grow fast this year before the kids get their bikes out of storage. ;-)

Diana said...

I love the birdbath - and it's lovely with the flowers around it. I imagine it will flourish this year. And I like seeing your completed projects. I'm not sure if I am an ant or a bumblebee in my garden work style, but I know I LOVE lists! I have last year's list - all scratched off -- and I'm so anal that I am keeping it along with last year's major house projects list and making a scrapbook layout about them! Nuts ... gardening makes you nuts!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is... looking good!!!! We definitely need to come by this summer... it's been toooooo long! Have a great day!


david mcmahon said...

Great work on the project. Here in Australia we have severe water restrictions here and it's been a long, hot, dry summer!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Thanks, everyone, for the comments.

Lisa, I'm looking forward to planting all those flowers I grow from seed. I want to see blooms everywhere!

Kylee, I'd be flattered indeed if you want to copy the birdbath idea. I'm glad you found your way to my blog, I've certainly enjoyed yours.

Hi, No Rain, thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

Jodi, I remember spring, all too well, that makes it so much harder to endure winter. Thanks for stopping by.

Hi, Frances, it is fun to look at before and after pictures. I forgot how much I actually accomplished last year.

Hi, Kate, I'm so glad that I have a strong healthy son to do those kinds of chores for me too. I keep thinking I need to get that larger property that I dream about NOW while I still have his help. I don't think it's going to happen though.

Hi, Susan, glad you were able to get some ideas. Thank you for the sweet comment.

Pam, I hope I have shrubs left in the border to grow, the rabbits are chopping to them bits.

Diana, thanks for stopping by. You sound very organized. I think I'm more of a bumblebee or butterfly. I flit from project to project. I'll work on one then get tired of it and go to another for a while.

Cyndi, I hope you guys will come by this summer. I don't know how many more of those trips to MI you'll be taking. Lets take advantage of it this summer!

Hi, David, thanks for stopping by. I'm sorry about the drought conditions there. It really makes it tough for gardeners when they can't water. It's heartbreaking to see beloved plants wither in the dry heat. Hope it ends soon.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Wow Robin, you certainly did a lot of work in your garden last year. We can honestly say that your garden was born then! Love the patio wall and the birdbath too, very creative.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I know you said you don't like Arbovitae, but here in the Midwest, they really are the best things for quick screening. Very impressive projects! You're not planning anything that major for this year, are you?

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Mr McGregor's Daughter, I'm not planning any major projects for this year. I mostly want to beautify with flowers along the perimeter of the yard, of course that means bringing in lots of amendments which is just labor intensive.

Patricia said...

Wow, Robin, you certainly accomplished a lot last year, and it all turned out so beautifully. I love your bird bath. We have a pond and a creek that attract birds, but they often fly away as I approach. I'd love to have a bird bath closer to the house (and my camera, of course) and yours has inspired me. Blessings!