Sunday, December 18, 2016

Current State of Affairs

The current state of affairs in the garden. 
         Don't judge my garden; I'm broke. Don't judge native gardening based on my weedy mess and barren scape. Despite a full time career and two part time jobs there is not enough money for plants and the dutiful husband insisted last fall we waste our savings on such frivolous things as a roof that didn't leak. So don't be that bastard, have patience with me. Ok judge me for the Dolphins sign, an in-law gift to the husband. In the picture above: That rose bush may be the first thing to go in the fall. Clustered Mountain Mint from Pineland Alliance peaking out from the left. A pitiful Blue Wild Indigo from UUCSJS plant sale and an Inkberry from Clemenson.
Formally an above ground pool surrounded by driveway gravel overrun with waste high weeds, English Ivy, a dead maple, and a couple of White Mulberry Trees. Those bright white ears peaking out from the back are from the deer 
that came with the house. Everyone says paint him or chuck him, but I like his worn out paint, matches my general mood.
      I dream of digging myself a dragonfly pond back here. Right underneath where the photo was taken I planted "Fireworks" Goldenrod, Solidago Rugosa, from Clemenson. (When typing Latin names does the whole thing get capitalized like a name, or is it like a listing a scene from a play and the second part is lower cased.) Macbeth II.iii. 838.
     Another future garden site. In the foreground, next to the slate, is a "Low Walker's" catmint from the local garden center, Ron's. They don't have much of a selection for my native garden, but they are just down the road. Leaning up against the post in the middle is a Coral Honeysuckle, with volunteer Blue Mist Flower that came with it when purchased this fall from Flora for Fauna. Further down the weedy patch is a Purple ConeFlower from Ron's and some Pink Muhly Grass, Muhlenbergia Capillaria,  from Clemenson.
This garden bed was added this spring around a partially dead pink dogwood. A landscaper, the dutiful husband hired to thatch the lawn, argued with me to cut it down. I have hope for the pink guy, but the bastard ignored my specific instructions not to touch it and cut down one of the dead branches. The landscaper then went on to cut down my Showy Aster and Big Blue Stem before they had a chance to bloom and crushed my Joe Pye weed before I could enjoy its fall foliage. The landscaper was told to only thatch and trim the evergreens. THAT WAS IT! This is why I hate landscapers. Anyways, around the tree is a beautiful Anise Hyssop, a magnet for all sorts of flying things,  a Pink Coreopsis, a Blazing Star, hidden behind the tree, and a Thread Leaf Blue Star that did pretty much nothing for me, maybe he's in the wrong spot. All of the plants came from Clemenson's May sale. 
    So far the plans for spring are to cut down the evergreens, sad rose bush, and even sadder non-native hydrangea (both impulse buys when we first bought the house) and expand one of the new beds in the front of the yard. 
     In the back, figure out what will be happy along the fence with only some morning and late afternoon sun, and dig two foot deep hole, before the dutiful husband asks what the heck I'm doing.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Starting Out

      My mother was often stating, "I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none." A rather fitting title: an associates degree leading to a brief career in architecture, an even briefer stint in the first female class for New Jersey State Troopers, she even competed for Ms. New Jersey with a ballet performance, before settling on teaching wood shop and ESL, all the while gardening, cooking, and preventing our old home, originally built by some very poor farmers, from falling down, but the squirrels use to poke out of the old wood-burning stove vent so that was always amusing. 
    Now with my own home and teaching career, I find myself more an amateur at best of all some trades. I will preserver, and I'm dragging you with me as I attempt to turn my invasive ridden, shame inducing garden into a wildlife habitat fit for a Sunday afternoon of preening.
   The before. That is the greenest that lawn ever looked  Once purchased it quickly turned brown and patchy. Easier to convince the husband we should eliminate the lawn

The backyard, from the porch overlooking my car. The brush pile to the left is an improvement. There was a sunken in above ground pool we removed shortly after the closing date. 
A NEW FRIEND!! The driveway was so overgrown with English Ivy and Poison Ivy, it was even growing on the roof, we had no idea this little fellow was hiding back there until we started to pull invasives up from the asphalt. 

Thankfully all gone now, except for the donkey he of course stayed, but I made darn sure that invasive Tree of Heaven was taken out of the yard, just need to convince the neighbors to take out the ones growing on their side of the fence. 
The dutiful husband in action, after all the underbrush had been ripped out. As you can see Donkey is still safely in yard but with some potted petunias to keep him company. The first summer we spent ripping out pretty much everything and waiting for it be hulled away. I was so excited to see the last of the brush go I even took a picture of town truck. 

Next up getting rid of those forsaken overgrown evergreens in the front yard.