Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garden Update

I've been such a bad blogger, leaving you postless for days at a time. But it's all for a good cause. I'm still working on reconstructing a wee oasis from the dust of what was once a backyard.

To see how much I've done, let's first take a look at where we started. Lots of piles and trenches.

Not the best pics, and maybe too many of them. I've been meaning to remember for days and finally did, at twilight, after fading light, sore backs, and six thousand mosquitoes ended tonight's efforts. This is the main veggie garden. Some of that green is carefully and newly planted, some is what's come up on it's own (even after the soil was dug and re-dug and dumped upside down several times - the power of nature to regenerate!) and will be "weeded" out or moved to a new location.

Here's the unpaved area that used to be mostly dog kennel and compost. I'm now calling it "the meadow". The kennel is a third of it's orginal size. The compost pile, seen midside right, will eventually have it's own wooden compost box (or something like that) along the end of the house on the left. You can't see the stepping stones well but they show up better in a later pic.

This is my new gargoyle. His name is Frank. Or rather, François, since he is a French gargoyle. Why is his name François? Because he told me so. I asked him and he told me. Duh. He's a very heavy gargoyle who happened to meet with a slight foot accident. The local nurserywoman sold him to me for about 10% of his original cost and said she was thrilled he'd found a home. Indeed, he also told me he wanted to come home with me. Now I have a gargoyle, Spike, to protect our front yard, and François here to guard the back.

There's still planting and some structures to build or move, but I'm starting to put some of the smaller details out, even if they might get moved around more. In fact, I'm sure they will get moved around. This old chippy white ladder will be a good plant holder.

Here you can see the stepping stones much better. The white arch was on the alley fence for some grapes but the grapes refused to grow on it, preferring to grow on the fence itself. The wee little pedestal used to hold a glass ball which broke. I thought my black and orange bowling ball looked cool on it, but the weight must have been too much as I found it broken in two shortly after this - the pedestal that is, not the bowling ball. All those bits of green are the start of flowers and ground cover I've started plugging into place. Lots more to go, plus seeds once I'm done stepping all over it.

I put Green Mary in charge of watching over the plants until I can get it all in the ground or pots.
She's very nuturing.

I ended up with leftover cement after all and here's what I built with it. It's sort of an combination of old ruins and urban garden. The middle is supposed to look sort of like an old well. It's filled with dirt so I can have plants growing out between the cracks. The rest is like a crumbling wall. Also with dirt behind it so things can grow out of it. I've got some more cement to play with, add to it. The "tubes" are old cement irrigation pipe Sam found in his backyard when he remodeled. He was going to throw them away. I made the boys help me load them all (several dozen) into our truck, I knew they'd be perfect for holding herbs and succulents. This corner will look much better when I add a climber to cover the fence, some bushy plants behind the cement, and ground cover in front of it. Oh yeah, and set stones around the birdbath instead of just having it balanced up there.

Here are two cement pipes in the veggie area holding different thymes. The larger one bottom center is old iron pipe I also rescued from someone who thought it was just junk.

Mr. Pest Control is back on duty keeping bad bugs away from the plants. He asks the bugs politely to leave the garden but as you can see, if they choose not to cooperate, he's got an alternate fate planned for them.

A bit more concrete leftover in a pile. And one of the local gnomes. He used to be under the apple tree but he seemed happy enough when I offered him this location near the smaller grape vine. Perhaps he'll be able to help it along for me a bit this season.

Some friends remodeled the front of their house and gifted us with the old metal scroll supports and accompanying porch railing. I'm working out a plan to turn the supports into a shady gazebo and the railings into arches or perhaps to help define a few different sections of the courtyard.

The compost pile, what's left of it. Lots of pumpkins and squash growing out it. I might just leave it where it is for now, level it and make it part of the "meadow" next year. Maybe not. Haven't decided yet.

More herbs growing in another cluster of cement pipes. They have a wonderful nubby stone quality to them. A couple different types of basil, a thyme, and something called Italian Oregano. I've always used Greek Oregano (which I discovered hubby had accidentally killed off this spring - grrrr). I bought some more of that but it's not in the ground yet, I'll have to have a taste off between the Italian and Greek varieties.

The barrel of mesclun was the first thing we planted this year and it's in serious need of being used. The mustard has already gone to flower - although the flowers are just as tasty as the leaves. Those big leaves in the front grew almost overnight and I did NOT plant it. I think it's a volunteer pumpkin from the compost. Can't decide whether I should pull it or see what grows. Problem with volunteer squash, pumpkins, cukes, and melons is that you never know if the seeds were cross pollinated. Over the years I've ended up with some very odd volunteers. A pumpaloupe, a squashkin, a pumpcumber, a zuchimelon, a watergourd. Who knows what most of them were. Some were edible. Most were not.

These pics don't really give you an idea of how much work I've been doing because it's all still "in process" and of course the plants haven't even begun to mature. But folks were clamoring to see, 'specially my mom. Gotta make the mom happy.

Tomorrow, assuming the 30% chance of thundershowers is happening somewhere else in the valley (today we could see it all happening up on the mountains but we only got spatters and wind), I'll be back out there planting. If I wanted, all my ideas, this could be an all summer project. Alas, it can't be. Other projects are lined up impatiently and deadlines or at least dates when other projects need to get started, move closer on the calender every day. So I'm concentrating on finishing up the basics, cleaning and storing what's still just sitting around, and leaving the details for ... perhaps the end of summer.


Blogger Stephanie said...

What a HUGE amount of work you've done! I adore the concrete columns filled with herbs....AND am intrigued by the volunteer varieties you've had in the past, who knows what you could create...a mon-star

Summer's gonna be looking good in your yard!!

8:27 AM  
Blogger JulieZS said...

Wow! No wonder you are tired. That is a huge amount of work, looks good too. I love the new gargoyle. I've also got some mystery squash/melon/cucumber volunteers, it will be interesting to see what they turn out to be...

9:59 AM  
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4:26 PM  

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