Posts Tagged ‘Water Barrels’

A Spring Garden Walk

Welcome to the front entrance to our home.  The tree in the center is a cultivar of the Port Orford Cedar, or Lawson Cypress, called “Wissel’s Saguaro”, due to its branches sticking out like the arms of a Saguaro cactus.  An interesting creature to greet our visitors.  The shrub with the red berries behind it is a large Nandina domestica “Moyer’s Red”.

Entering the front garden.   There used to be a large Arborvitae shrub where all the small plants on the left are now.  It was some 8′ across and 7′ tall.  That was until the snow hit in February and crushed the life out of the center of it.  We had to remove the whole plant (tons of work!) and replace it with a new collection of wonderful plants.  We lost our privacy but gained a new view of the garden entrance.  It feels very welcoming now as you enter under the arch formed by the Japanese maple on the left and the Oregon Green Pine on the right.  The wonky looking sign in front is from the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, designating us as a Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary.  We welcome many wild creatures here.

Taking the next steps into the garden.  On the left you can just see a very fragrant Winter Daphne, and on the right is a gorgeous PJM Regal Rhododendron in full bloom.  The bench is a fine place to sit and read or just view the garden.

A better view of the Daphne, with a species Hinoki Cypress over it.   The tree will get large in time and provide a nice sheltered corner for the front porch.  At the right is a large Sappho Rhododendron waiting to bloom.  The hanging items are a hummingbird feeder, a wasp trap and our rainbow wind sock.  More food for the birds and safety and beauty for us.

Sitting on the bench and looking back at the entrance to the garden.  The large deciduous tree on the right is a Sango Kaku Japanese maple and the conifer on the left is the Oregon Green Pine.  You can see a bit of the arch they create together.  The large shrub in front of the bench is a Mr. Bowling Ball arborvitae.  It has very interesting foliage and cool winter color.

The stone path leading to the back garden.  On the left is a small Weeping White Spruce we put in to replace the large Blue Spruce we removed last fall because it was going to get too big.  A sad loss but it’ll save us heartache in years to come.  The hedge on the right is deciduous and just greening up.  It’s been here for over 40 years and it’s still going strong!

Entering the back garden from the path by the house.  The walk is covered with several inches of bark to keep it clean and attractive.  Nothing will grow there because it’s too shady.  Oh the left you can just see the light lavender flowers of the Rhododendron cilpenense and a bit of a red Unryu camellia.  The small Magnolia on the right suffered greatly in the snow and will never be the same.  But I staked it up a lot and it will recover at least somewhat.  Much patience will be required!

A view of the center of the back garden.  You can’t see the trees too well because they’re still dormant.  They’ll look much more lush in a few weeks.  Sorry it’s so dark here – it was an overcast day, as is common in April here in Seattle.

The center from a side view. The large shrub on the left is a dwarf Coast Redwood called “Kelley’s Prostrate” that only grows to 2 feet tall and about 7 feet wide, so far.  The species gets a huge 360 feet tall.  It’s so nice to have the redwood foliage here in our small garden that could never accommodate the larger species tree.  The fountain gives us hours of pleasure listening to its gentle sounds, much like a small creek or stream.  Imagination does wonders when your eyes are closed!

Looking into the side of the garden a bit further down from the last shot.  The small pink flowers on the right belong to a “Howard McMinn” Manzanita, and the bright pink one on the lower left is a “Kramer’s Rote” heath.  Above the heath is a small Lily of the Valley shrub and at the back is a large “Pink Icicle” camellia just coming into bloom.

You’ll see this as you walk the path I showed in the last photo.  The tree in the back is a “Wintergreen” Japanese Umbrella Pine, which also took a hit in the snow.  All these branches used to stand straight up.  Now they’re all wonky.  I doubt they’ll pull themselves back up, but ya never know.  I’ll give it time before I do any corrective pruning.  On the right you can just see the trunk of a contorted Japanese Larch called Diana.  The branches twist and turn most interestingly.  It’s been leafing out for a month now with its small bright apple-green needles.  I’ll do a post on it someday.

This is taken from the same spot as the last one only turned a bit to the right.  You can see the camellia and the cool lantern we had made for us out of wrought iron.  It helps light up the small deck you can see below it.  In the back is a large Radicans cryptomeria which will dominate the area in years to come.

A few more steps bring us to this shot of the deck, with the lawn and the house in the background.  This little deck is a sweet place to hang out and read or just listen to the sounds of the fountain next to it (you can’t see it here).  The upper deck by the house is a great place to spend some time sunbathing in private, and is a good place to have company over for cookouts.

Full circle – this is a shot of the walkway we entered the back garden through.  The bare tree on the left is an “Eddie’s White Wonder” dogwood just about to burst into bloom.  It got Anthracnose last year so we’re spraying it with Neem oil every week or so to try to eradicate it.  It won’t kill the tree but it looks terrible as the summer progresses.  I hope we can kill it off!

Here we circle back to the inner yard to see the veggie gardens and the greenhouse on your left.  The water barrel gives us enough to water the greenhouse most of the year, except in summer when it doesn’t rain. (Yes, we have Very dry summers here!)

A closer view of the greenhouse.  You can see the seed starting bed on the left with its plastic cover that holds in the moisture and heat to help the seeds germinate.  I put the curtain over the lower part of the door so I can go out and work in the greenhouse naked without spooking the neighbors.  I do it outdoors too when they’re all gone.  More on that later on!

Here’s one of the veggie gardens.  We planted the trees and heathers along the north end to tie the beds to the other parts of the garden.  We lost some planting space but still have plenty of room for many crops.  The bees love the heather flowers and they help pollinate the garden.  We grew enough onions and carrots last year that we’re still eating them today.  It’s so yummy to grow your own food.  We even have some Kale that overwintered in the back by the fence.  Sweet and tasty!

This is the last shot.  It shows how the veggie gardens and the ornamental ones merge with the path through the lawn between them.  We have gates on all sides of the garden to be able to visit the neighbors.  So far we’ve had good ones, though we’re waiting to see who buys the house next door.  They all help make this a great neighborhood to live in!

So that’s the tour.  Sorry it was an overcast day, but I hope the photos came out well enough for you to see what I was hoping to show you.  It’s an exciting time in the garden now with so many plants bursting with their new spring blossoms and others just breaking dormancy and starting to leaf out.  It’ll all look so different in a few weeks as the trees put on their new summer leaves and the other plants continue to bloom.  It’s such a joy to be in a garden in the Spring!

May your own gardens grow bountifully!

Steve

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Preparing the Greenhouse

Interior of Greenhouse

As you can see by this shot I haven’t been paying much attention to my greenhouse lately. I’ve been too busy with other things and frankly it hasn’t been time. But it’s getting to be that way soon. As you can tell it’s time to do some clean up. The tomatoes that bore such nice fruit in the summer have faded almost entirely away and the hot peppers that produced such luscious spicy additions to our meals are starting to wane and they need eating soon or drying anyway. It’s time to spread the soil from the pots on the garden and clean up the benches. I need to wipe them down with a dilute bleach solution to make sure of killing any spores or diseases that might have come in during the growing season. Last year I had mold and I don’t want that again.

It’s time for me to start looking more seriously thru the endless piles of gardening and seed catalogues I get and order some things to grow next year. I know it’s too early to actually plant them but it’s going to be time soon enough. I’m still pretty new at this greenhouse business, having only had this one for less than 3 years and I’m still learning when to do what. I have my books to be sure and I do read up on when to plant things but I don’t have the innate knowledge of it that I do of the rest of my garden as a whole. I have so much to learn it overwhelms me. I want to do it right of course but this is one area where I have to be patient and to allow myself to make mistakes. At times it seems hopeless. But I love it.

I’m so happy to have this wonderful place to play and work in. Right now it’s not raining, for a change, but when it does I revel in just going out in the greenhouse and standing there and listening to the rain on the roof and hearing it rushing into the rain barrel outside. The barrel keeps the Greenhouse watered from the rains fine for most of the year until late summer when I have to fill it with the hose. I don’t have plumbing in this structure. So I use watering cans and they work swell. I haven’t had to water much lately because it’s so moist in there. In fact there’s a de-humidifier running now that helps keep the moisture down. It’s time to have the heat on too so that the tea plants and the other things that are still growing there have warmth on some of these nights when the fountains freeze over outside and there’s frost on the pumpkins when I get up in the mornings.

It’s time to get the starting bed ready too. To get it ready to turn on the wire heater that heats up the sand I have there that I set my seed flats on. Then I roll down the plastic covering and I have a mini seed starting bed right inside of the greenhouse. It’ll be time soon to do that. I don’t want to be too early but I don’t want to wait too late either. I believe in being prepared and it’s never too early to clean things up and make sure that all systems are functioning well and in good working order. That’s my task for now . Preparing things for later on when it’s time to plant. Because once things get going there’s not a lot of space for these sorts of things and you have to do them now when it’s empty. It gets full in here later on when things are in full growth.

I so enjoy the growing season. I’ve gotten really good at transplanting seedlings from the flats to larger containers and I love working with the tiny things and seeing them grow as they put out new roots into the soil. It’s so exciting and I’m thrilled to think that this cycle will all be beginning again soon. But not yet. First comes the cleanup and then rearranging things and getting ready for planting. So I have awhile. But it’s time to get serious about it all and I will soon. It just takes getting started and once I get into it I’ll have the whole place ship shape in no time and it’ll be ready for those little seeds to be placed gently in their flats and start the whole process over again. I love gardening and having a greenhouse extends what I can do so much. I feel so lucky to have this beautiful place that functions so well for me. It gave a lot of joy to many people the last couple of years. I think it’ll do the same this year. After I get it Prepared.

Happy greenhouse gardening,

Steve

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