April 08, 2013

Outdoor Gardens

This week we spent our Spring Break outdoors.   We went on a quick trip to D.C., visited with relatives for the weekend, and then in between that we got our yard in order.

 We went to a local garden center and picked up a few new trees and some smaller plants.

To give us a guide, we like to lay out the hose in the approximate shape that we want the garden.  Then I just used a can of spray paint and lightly sprayed the line that I was going to cut.

 We got 8 of these Azalea bushes for just under $6 each.  A 30% off deal at the garden center.  We thought they would be a good filler plant in and around the larger trees.

 I got to work digging out the bed in front of the fence.  Let me just tell you two things:

One, I am not in good shape.  I was so worn out by peeling the top layer off that I stopped to take  eight a couple breaks.  I seriously need to start working out again!  At least that's what I like to tell myself  ;-)

And Two,  I hate worms!!!  When I was little, I used to pick worms up and play with them and watch them wiggle in my hand.  Every time I pulled up some of the sod and I squished a worm, I would make the prettiest gagging noise.  So gross!!  I got my son over to help me save some worm lives and pull them out of the sod and put them back in to the ground.

After I cleared the area, we planted a smaller Dogwood in the middle of the garden.

We put three of the Azalea bushes in the back of the garden and then a bunch of purple impatiens wrapping around the front.  A garden center by our house where giving the Impatiens away for free if you bought enough plants and trees from them.   So nice of them!

Next up was to plant the larger trees down the side of the yard...

Dustin dug a couple holes and planted the plum trees.  He kills me in those work boots and shorts!

 We purchased two of these Thundercloud Plum trees.  They are a non fruit baring tree but have such a pretty bloom and a nice plum colored leaf.

Here is a close up of the Thunder Cloud Plum trees.

These guys should grow up nice and tall.  Next Spring, we want to turn this part of the yard into one large bed from the top gate to the shed and then overtime add more plants and flowers in and around the plum trees.  I really really want to plant some green and blue hydrangea bushes.  We knew we wanted to at least get the trees planted this Spring since they take quite a few years to get to the size they need to be. 

We made the mistake at our old house to wait to plant larger trees and ended up planting the trees two years before we moved.  So we didn't get the chance to really enjoy them.

After we finished up in the back yard, we headed to the front yard to do some planting, transplanting, and mulching.

We took these three bushes from the garden in front of the garage windows and planted them in the back here to fill in this somewhat bare area.

A few bushes and flowers planted and this garden is finished.

We took those other bushes from here and replaced them with three pencil bushes, some more flowers, and two Dwarf Nandina that we had on the ends of the garden.  I don't know how I feel about the pencil plants.  I wanted something a little more round and shapely, but we couldn't find any.  Is it just me or do I sound like I am putting in for a singles ad?  "Something more round and shapely."  Lol. 

 I am still not sure about this area though.  I think I might try to shape the pencil shrubs and then put the Nandina down by the shed.  Then get a few more of the lighter green shrubs, in the picture above, to go in between the skinny minnie pencil bushes.  

We just kept working our way around the yard and made it over to the side yard to add a few more trees and bushes.

 The garden stopped just in front of the black pipe, so we wanted to extend it down and around the side of the yard and have it connect to the fence.

The all natural forget about your shoes while gardening look.  PRICELESS!  

She stayed with us the entire day of planting.  She planted bunches of flowers, went with me to pick up mulch, and helped rake dirt into beds.  She does love to help and garden, but she sorta had an ulterior motive.  We promised to get a veggie garden going this year and she knew that Dustin was going to build some raised beds at the end of the day if we had enough time left.  So her goal was to speed up the process so that we could plant the fruit and veggie gardens.

We put in four of the Azalea bushes and a tree, which I cannot remember the name of.  It produces pretty white blooms.

We purchased some pressure treated fence posts for about $1 to create the raised beds.  I will share the extremely quick and easy directions on how we built our garden beds in an upcoming post.

We picked up various fruit and veggies.  I would love to make some homemade salsa this year and and maybe some jams and fruit tarts, but I will have to keep my fingers crossed as to how well everything grows.

 We already have some strawberries growing in a pot from last year, but I just wanted to put some in the new garden to see if they grow better that way.  We will see how these grow in the same raised bed.  My parents always grew veggies when I was a kid and they did a huge strawberry garden, but we never grew grapes, blueberries, and raspberries, so this is a trial run for me.

Lacey picked out three different types of raspberries, so if all works out, then we should be able to make some great fruit smoothies and desserts.

 Another first for me is onions.  We chose to do some sweet onions and some red onions.  I use onions in so many of my meals that I am determined to not have to purchase any from the store this summer.

Here are the garden beds...

We are going to paint them and I have a fun idea for labeling them that I will share with you when I finish them :-)

Here are the herbs.  I went with dill, cilantro, thyme, basil, oregano, and flat leaf parsley.

The onions with some room left to plant some garlic.

Lettuce on the left and spinach in the bushel to the right and I think green beans to the far right.  I have to pick up about 16 more lettuce plants for this area.

In here, I have all of my pepper plants with room for one more.  I went with yellow and red bell peppers and 1 jalapeno plant at the end.

Lastly, here is the tomato garden.  So far I planted an Early Girl, two Grape tomatoes,  a Cherry tomato, and a Beefsteak tomato plant.  

I just need a few more veggie plants to finish up the gardens and we should be set for the summer.

And then we went a little wild and crazy and got an Elberta Peach Tree, which we named Berty and A Gala Apple Tree, named Gail.  So we now have Berty and Gail.  Is it just me that's a little coo coo or do you like to humanize your plants and trees too by naming them?  ;-) 

When I researched getting an apple tree, it said that it can produce up to 15 bushels of apples in one  season.  It will take a few years for the tree to bare fruit, but when it does, I have grand images of one of my all time fav. movies Baby Boom, where she made lots of applesauce.   The reality might be more like one apple grows, we all take a bite, and it just tastes weird.  I'm hoping for the first image to occur so that I can at least make some of those apple or peach tarts that I keep pinning on Pinterest!

We have a week of upper 70% temps, so I will be enjoying just getting out and watering the plants and trees.  Do you like to garden?  If you have any hints or tips for me on the fruit trees or grapes and raspberry garden, I would love to hear them!!

Have a great week!!!  My kids head back to school tomorrow from Spring Break and I start back on Design Boards and painting with Dustin at one of my client's homes.  I will share pics as the project gets closer to completion.

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