Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When Less is More

 This post is not very exciting and it's a little bit embarrassing to even blog about a garden that looks this terrible. As I said in my previous post, Indiana has been in a severe drought with water restrictions. We have also had record breaking temperatures with about 28 days straight in the 90° range. This hasn't happened since 1901!

It just so happened that the Lowe's challenge for July was , "Problem Solving – Tackling tough spots in your yard or garden.  From mulching ideas to decorative rocks, use your Lowe’s card to tackle your most troublesome gardening spots."

When I saw the July challenge I immediately zeroed in on the word "mulch" and decided to take this opportunity to pretty much start over. I removed most of my grasses, shrubs and perennials and even a few small trees. It was too depressing to look at all of the dead and struggling plants.

 I used all of the Lowe's card on mulch, (23, 3 cu. ft. bags of cypress mulch) . It looks so much better! Hopefully in the fall, if weather conditions are more normal,  I can add a few plants. It makes me feel better just having things prepped and ready! 

Here is a view from my landing window, (through the screen). We've had a few rain showers and some of the grass has perked up. Hopefully the rest will come back in the spring.

On a side note, the wrens have been using my nest box for months now, (since early spring). I'm not sure if they ever had a brood, or I guess it's possible that they have raised multiple broods, I haven't seen any baby wrens. A few weeks ago, the top of the nest box came detached from the tree and was leaning sideways, since I didn't want to disturb them I wrapped a bungee cord around the box and the tree. I may be from Alabama but I promise that is not my normal way to hang a birdhouse!

Since gardening is rather depressing these days, I have been working on my craft room, doing a lot of painting and fun projects! I'm not quite ready for a full reveal, but I will share a sneak peak in my next post!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Starting Over

My area of Indiana has been in extreme drought with record breaking temperatures. What started out as an beautiful early spring with warmer than normal temperatures and promising crops has turned into a nightmare for the farmers.

Our rivers and reservoirs are drying up and water restrictions are in place. 

 It is odd to see people and their pets playing in the river as though it is a mere creek...

ankle deep in some parts.

A lot of people have removed their boats from the lakes and have them in storage.

Here at Robin's Nesting Place the drought has taken a toll on my garden as well.  I have not been watering the plants and grass but I do keep five bird baths filled with fresh water. With this excessive heat the birds desperately need the water.
Because I have not been watering I have lost most of my trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. In fact, there isn't much that has survived.

So, I am starting over. In a small way, I am glad. When I first moved to Indiana from Alabama, I had no clue how to garden with such extreme temperatures and crazy weather. I had a new home with only sod and a few plants in the front yard.

Because my back and side yard is surrounded by our neighborhood common area, I was desperate to have privacy and clear boundaries. I bought a lot of trees, shrubs and grasses with very little planning.

When these homes were built the farm soil was scraped away and sold, leaving only hard clay. Even after ten years my plants are still struggling to grow. The roots are so shallow that they are pretty easy to dig up.

So that is what I have been doing. Early in the morning or late in the evening when the heat and humidity are not too unbearable, I am digging up dead plants, lots and lots of dead plants! My plan is to clean up and slowly replant, taking care to dig deeper and make sure to enrich the soil where I am planting.

The Lowe's challenge for July is  Problem Solving – Tackling tough spots in your yard or garden
Choose one of your trickier outdoor gardening spots.  From mulching ideas to decorative rocks, use your Lowe’s card to tackle your most troublesome gardening spots."

Well, I certainly have plenty of troubled spots to choose from! It will take time to replace the plants that I have lost, but hopefully this time around I will choose better plants for my zone 5 garden. I am grateful to Lowe's for helping me to get started with this overwhelming project!

Don't forget to check out Lowe's Creative Ideas for more project inspiration!