Weather: Cloudy 73 F / 23 C
Over the tail end of March, we were hit by one more Nor’easter- March 22nd (5″ of heavy snow). As a result, I took the additional snowpack as an opportunity to shift focus a bit and concentrate on work, travel, and family.
After a very cold and raw Spring (high 40’s on Marathon Monday!), we have been blessed with three consecutive weekends with dry weather and mild temperatures. As a result, it seems that everything has come into bloom at once.
As we are still in year one of owning the property, the driving force landscaping-wise has been a gentle tug between allowing the prior owner’s planting scheme to come alive and wanting to put my stamp on my garden. For the most part, I am generally patient and willing to see what Mr. A., the prior owner, had planned. However, there were some areas I wanted to take care of as soon as possible.
In early April, I hired a landscaper to take care of some onerous prep work. Specifically, he removed the undergrowth (juniper bushes, assorted saplings, etc. from the site of my proposed vegetable bed and the front garden.
January 2018- Side Garden
April 2018- Side Garden
After the landscaper did the prep work, my husband and I installed our raised veg beds. The 10″ high beds were filled with compost and soil and the area between was mulched.
The bed is currently planted with potatoes, lettuce, carrots, and beans. Cucumber and tomatoes will go in this upcoming weekend.
January 2018- Front Garden Corner
April 2018- Front Garden Corner
Currently, there is a mountain of mulch on this spot as this space will remain fallow for a while. The two large 125 foot pines (the same species as the one that fell over the winter), will be removed sometime this summer. Hopefully, the dogwood tree (between the pines) will survive the pine tree removal.
We plan to plant grass/flowers in this area, however this project will most likely wait until next Spring.
In addition, the workmen labored on the 12′ x 20′ patio area. Like the rest of the garden, the patio had a lot of potential, however needed a lot of attention. Specifically, between the area between the wisteria and the winterberry bush was a half-buried man-made pond. Apparently, last year the real estate agent told the prior owner to bury the pond (including the motor!) in preparation for the showings. In the time between our purchase and us moving in, a thick carpet of weeds had taken over. Moreover, the half filled pond became a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other annoying insects… it had to go.
The workmen removed the pond by pick-axe and shovel, not only clearing the area, but also discovering the stepping stones and brick that had been buried underneath. With the newly discovered bricks and tiles, the workmen created a pad for our grill and a small path through the garden.
January 2018- Patio (pond is buried behind the center barrel).
March 2018- Patio- Specifically the half-buried pond, vinca, weeds.
April 2018- The structures to the right of the patio are industrial-type garden light fixtures. They worked for about 20 seconds before they blew out a fuse. I will have to call an electrician to take care of the rogue wiring that had been put in to power these lights and the pond motor.
We will mulch most of this area to provide us some time to think about a planting scheme. This bed is very shaded, therefore, most likely a combination of ferns, hostas, and other shade-loving plants will be installed next Spring.
In late April, I dug out the 1.5′ x 8′ bed that runs parallel to our kitchen. It had been filled with a hodge-podge of plants- monarda, phlox, and some non-flowering daylilies. I pulled out the entire bed and amended the sandy soil with compost. I kept the monarda, however the other plants were composted or gifted (my mother in law wants to give the lilies a go).
April 2018- Kitchen Bed
I’ve since planted up this area with butterfly weed, lupines, astilbe, and red-hot pokers. In addition, I transplanted monarda and heuchera from other parts of the garden. The left side of the bed is very shaded while the right side gets more sun, therefore the planting scheme has been a bit tricky.
May 2018- Partially filled Kitchen Bed
The area beneath the chimney has been a work in progress. When we first purchased the property, the spot was dominated by a overgrown climbing hydrangea and invasive vinca plants. Last Autumn, I had ripped up most of the vinca (it is still a work in progress as it constantly reappears!) and planted a variety of hostas at the base. Over the winter, the chimney sweep ripped down most of the hydrangea, made brittle by the freezing weather.
This Spring, I’ve discovered that the bed had been home to some dormant spring bulbs (hyacinths & daffodils) that harmonize with the crocuses I had planted last October. In preparation for this season, I trimmed the ragged parts of the hydrangea and was happy to see that it has returned more vigorous as ever.
January 2018- Post major vine removal, pre final trim
May 2018- Fuzzy picture showing Chimney Bed, Hydrangea, Daylilies. They base of the hydrangea was cut down to approximately 3′ tall.
May 2018- Garter snake- an unexpected visitor to my Chimney Bed.
The rest of the property is a work in progress. The February-March Nor’easters hit us hard with multiple trees damaged or uprooted. We have chopped up the a number of the felled trees, however there are still five or six medium sized trees that still need to be taken care of. This is in addition to the three giant pines that will be professionally removed this summer.