Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Preparing for Spring

It's hard to believe, but spring is nearly here, so we're trying to get a few more things done outside.

We still have plans to put in a gravel parking area right in front of the garage and a gravel path through part of the yard/garden.  It's the part of the yard that gets the most traffic, and I think it'll cut down on the dirt and grass that gets tracked into the house.

Our idea is to have the gravel pathways roughly where the edging pavers are in place, then turn the rest of this area into a cottage-style flower garden with shrubs, perennials, and annuals.

This will be my main flower garden.  There may be flowers here and there, elsewhere about the yard, but I'm trying to focus on getting this one area as nice as possible.  It's where we spend most of our outdoor time-- and anyway, I'm not interested in maintaining many more flower beds than this. 

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Other outdoor projects:

-- Replace part of the fence (the part nearest the garage/the flower garden area) with something different/nicer than our current ranch-style fencing.  (This will probably be a long time coming...)

-- Build an arbor over the path at the main gate.  (We have a climbing rose already in place, so getting the arbor up should be a sooner-rather-than-later project.)

--  Move the raised vegetable beds from their current location to a new spot directly behind the garage.  (They'll be closer to the water, there, and also inside the fence and out of sight from the front of the house/garage.)

-- Finish clearing our path(s) through the woods.  We've made a lot of progress there, already, but there's still work to be done.  (Trees to be pulled out of the way.  Limbs to be trimmed.  A few small stumps that are tripping hazards.)

-- Put a fire pit in the little clearing we're currently working on, nestled into the woods on the north side of the garage/parking area.

-- Transfer the pavers currently leading from the gate to the covered patio to a smaller patio area off the back porch (once we put in the gravel path).  The smaller patio area will be behind the passionflower trellis, and I'll extend the cottage-garden flowerbeds to surround that area, too.

-- Build some sort of trellis for the jasmine to climb.  (Not sure what we'll do for that, but it needs some sort of support...)

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The cottage garden area should be overflowing with plants, so to jump-start it, I'll try to grow some perennials from seed, this spring.

Last year, we grew daylilies from seed, and we had such success with the second batch that I've decided to do it again this year.  That second batch I ordered was 50+ seeds.  This time, I decided to go really crazy and went for the package of 100+ seeds.  I counted them when they arrived-- 125!  Some of them were already starting to sprout!

Here they are getting ready to go into the damp paper towels...

Daylily Seeds

And here they are in their cozy ziplocked bag...

Sprouting the Daylily Seeds

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More seeds we'll be starting soon...

-- Blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata)
-- Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium)
-- Cupid's Dart, blue (Catanache caerulea)
-- Chinese Lantern (Physalis franchetti)
-- Yarrow (Achillea)
-- Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
-- Salvia (Blue Bedder / Sage)
-- Butterfly Flower (Asclepias tuberosa)
-- Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

-- Black-Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia)
-- Morning Glory (Heavenly Blue)
-- Moonflower (Giant White)
-- Spanish Flag (Mina lobata)
-- Nasturtium (Fordhook Favorites Mix)
-- Marigold (French dwarf double & Crackerjack, mixed colors)
-- Cosmos (Single Sensation, mixed colors)
-- Moss Rose (double mixed colors)
-- Zinnia (Violet Queen, Giants of California, Giant Cactus, Semi Dwarf Pumila)

Some of these may not succeed, but seeds are relatively cheap entertainment.  It's worth a try!

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I haven't blogged consistently here for quite some time.  (My craft and reading blogs have been more active.)  However, I'll probably start updating regularly again, with the approach of spring.  I hope you like garden-themed photos and blog posts.  ;o)