Things I Thought This Weekend

1.  Where did that splinter come from?

2.  Where did this weekend go?

3.  I wonder if the whole town calls me “that house on ——- Street with its Christmas lights still up.”

I figure that they probably do

lights1Because, you know, they still are.

But, in my defense, they’re solar so I don’t have to go out and turn them on each night.  But, that also means that they still light up each night.  Don’t judge me.

lights2They’re down now and in the front hall closet, lit up until the juice runs out.

4.  What’s one productive thing I can get done before Monday?

Enter these:

lilac1Last year I meant to plant some lilacs but never got around to it so when I saw these in the store this week I picked up two

lilac2and cleared out the rest of the red mulch

lilac3and picked where I wanted them to go.

lilac4My future lilacs are only sticks with tiny little leaves right now so they’re going to need protecting.  Henry likes to go around and unplant everything I put in the ground so I’m hoping these tomato cages will keep them safe!
lilac5lilac6Right now these are sad but someday they’re going to be big leafy bushes….hopefully!

5.  Is it bedtime yet?

-A

Plant for the Worst, Hope for the Best

I’m not a gardener, but I want to be so at the beginning of this month I planted a bunch of seeds.

I really didn’t think very many would grow, if any, so I planted a lot.

plants2I underestimated how many of the seeds would sprout and I overestimated how long it would take for them to outgrow these flats.

plants1I knew these seedlings would quickly outgrow their little dirt cubes so I moved them into plastic cups:

plants3I have way too many squash, zucchini and cucumber plants, even if half of these die!

plants4I’m keeping all the beans though, I’ll be happy if they all grow tons of green beans for me to pickle next fall!

plants5Rumor has it we may be starting a garden at the facility where I work and I’d like to donate my extra seedlings to that but if we don’t I’m happy to give my extras to any of my local friends who want them!

plants6It looks like the herbs still have room in their flat and I’m hoping they don’t outgrow it until it’s warm enough for me to put them in their permanent homes outside.

Right now I’m obsessed with these and would love 6 or 8 to hang from the planters on my patio-wouldn’t they be great overflowing with herbs?!

The same day I planted the seeds I also put some gladiolus bulbs into some vases, again hoping some would grow.

plants7

They all did.

In my area of Colorado we can get frost through April so I really can’t plant these outside until May…which means these may bloom in their vases inside rather than in the pots on my patio like I had planned.

So, while I’m glad that I’m having so much luck growing things this year, I’m hoping I can keep all of these alive until it’s time to put them outside!

todo1I’m going to keep this green-thumb-streak going and check another item off my list tomorrow….can you guess which one??

-A

Tree Lawn, 2015 Edition

Last year I talked a lot about my tree lawn.

You can catch up on what happened in 2014 in this post where I introduce you to my puncturevines and in this one where I tried to kill everything.  Then I finally finished laying down the fabric and finally, this is how it looked last fall.

Remember how thick those weeds were?

treelawn1

It was like waking across a carpet of nails.

While the fabric didn’t kill everything, it kept most of the puncturevines away.

treelawn1Some weeds crept out at the edges and I really can’t think of anyway to keep that from happening.  I may resort to poison to get those sneaky ones that find a way out from under the landscape fabric.

Last year’s fabric did its job but I wanted another layer.

When we sanded my kitchen floors I bought thick black plastic to cover the cabinets with the plan to reuse the plastic out here.

treelawn2

It’s really thick and easier to work with than the landscaping fabric was.  It doesn’t tear and it’s heavier so I’m hoping that fewer holes and tears will help my cause.  I also ran it the opposite way-side to side rather than lengthwise and it was much easier!

treelawn3

It’s also so much darker!  Leaning over it, even though today was fairly cool, felt like standing right in front of a fire.  Hopefully it’ll be that hot (or hotter!) underneath and really fry all those seeds!

treelawn4

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned around here and instead of running out of plastic, I ran out of pins to keep it in the ground.  I ordered a bunch of heavy duty ones from Amazon and thought I’d have plenty but noooooo.  So, those lighter spots around the stumps will get covered this weekend….as long as Wal-Mart has some pins.  Dang!

I also have tons of those flagstones around my house and I think I’m just going to fill this area with them.  My plan is to start at the edges and then just fill it in.  Maybe that will keep some of these creepers from getting out the edges!

While working on this project I spent a lot of time staring at the post that my mailbox is on.  It wasn’t pretty.  It was rusty and spotted.  While I wanted to paint it a pretty aqua color, (I still may!) I went with oil rubbed bronze since I already had it on hand.

mailboxCan you tell?  I should have painted it aqua, right?

This will probably be the first of many posts about the tree lawn this year but if we’re all lucky, it’ll be more about making it pretty an less about trying to kill everything.

-A

I Wet My Plants*

It was almost 70º here today so I ran out after work and grabbed a bag of fertilizer.  I threw it down on the front yard and then watered.  That grass was drrrrrryyyyyy!

plants2The irises my mom planted last fall are doing well, despite not having been watered this year (until yesterday.)  Check out that cracking dirt.

plants4This guy came back from last year….growing in the only clump of grass in the front yard.  Once it dies it’ll get mowed down and I’ll forget about it until next Spring.  I love surprises!

plants7I also MOWED today!  While I’m grateful for this stretch of grass, it’s the area of my yard that I have spent the absolute least amount of time on….and it’s by far the nicest.  Sigh.

plants9Then with this storm looming I threw fertilizer down in the backyard

plants10

noticed some leaves coming out on the apple tree

plants12and ran inside.

That was an hour ago and it still hasn’t rained….

-A

*I wish I could take credit for how clever that is

Super Simple Trellis

It’s Sunday and the dirt under my nails, piles of sawdust in my backyard and snoring dog tell me that this has been a successful weekend!

henry1See?  He’s so tired he doesn’t care that he’s half on the bed and half off.

Poor guy had to guard the front yard, backyard and house today!

outside4That’s my house from last summer.  It’s not terrible but also not awesome.  I want awesome!

So on my trip to Lowe’s yesterday I picked up some lumber to make trellises for both sides of the door.

trellis1I had a general idea of what I wanted to make and being the expert beginner carpenter that I am, I figured I’d just wing it.  Luckily, this time it worked!

I started out cutting all the pieces for the frames first.

trellis2Then I made the frames.  I had the stakes on hand and thought it would be easier to just use them rather than make little pointy legs myself.

trellis3I needed some braces for support and, you know, so it would actually be a trellis rather than just a big frame.  I wanted a little interest (and to practice some mitered cuts) so I went with this.  I’m going to see how it goes this year-that might not be enough for the clematis to climb up so if it’s not, I’ll add more for next year.

trellis4Not too shabby!  (never mind the other nails there, this board was re-purposed from something else)

trellis5Both trellises got a coat of white exterior paint which dried in no time thanks to today’s gorgeous weather!

trellis6I made a little bed to the right of the door with some bricks left over from making the patio.  I also relocated the flower from the other bed to one of the big pots on my patio.

trellis7Hello little baby clematis!

trellis9I cleaned up the bed to the left of the door and took out the railroad ties and also used bricks on this side to border the bed.  I read that I shouldn’t trim back the clematis so I didn’t last fall.  Now it’s a jumbled mess around that little trellis and since it’s already greening up I didn’t want to mess with it.  I think next year I’ll cut it back and remove the old trellis but this year I’ll just live with it.

trellis10The trellises are just over 5 feet tall, which may not be tall enough.  I figure that this will be a good learning year.  If they’re too short, I’ll add longer legs for next year.

The only thing I didn’t get done this weekend is the project for the front stairs and right now, I’m so tired that I don’t even care!  Since I still have the lumber for it, I may work on it in the evenings after work but don’t hold your breath-they probably won’t get done until next weekend!

-A

DIY Raised Garden Beds

My day started out like this:

planter1And ended like this:

planter10My plan was to build railings around my front stairwell, trellises for my clematis, and some raised beds.

Guess which ones got done.

Raised Beds inside fence...love the look of this!!! And the Dogs would stay out of the flowers when they are running!

(from Better Homes and Gardens)

I used that one as my inspiration but decided to use cedar so my beds would match the planters my dad built.  

I knew I wanted at least 2 so while I was at Lowe’s today I picked up more of the cedar fence pickets that he used.

planter3

I decided that three pickets wide made the perfect height and that I would have the planters be 6 feet long so I wouldn’t have to cut any of the boards for the front.

planter4I had the other boards behind my shed-I like how weathered and worn they are and thought the contrast with the shiny new cedar boards would be nice.  Since I was using the supports on the outside I was able to just put those dog eared corners to the back and not spend the extra steps cutting them off.

I know right now you’re doubting me but don’t worry!

planter5I put one board on each end and one in the middle to keep the front together.  Then I used one picket, cut into thirds, for each side.  The plain edges were screwed into the front panel and I put another board for stability on the end of the side piece.

I didn’t put a back on because they’re going up against the fence and I thought a back was pointless.

planter6Because I wanted this planter against the back fence I had to dig out a little trench to put one end in.  The fact that I live on a hill isn’t usually noticeable in the backyard but the big gap around the bottom edge wasn’t pretty.  I also started putting down a little border of flagstone just to make weed eating and mowing easier.

planter7I made the second one the same way except put a strip of plastic across the back.  This one’s going against the fence I share with my neighbors and I didn’t want dirt and water to pour through the cracks in the fence into their yard.  I’m thoughtful like that.

planter8These two planters were less than $15 a piece and only took about an hour to make so I’m thinking I might do a few more…after I get all those other projects done!

-A

And Now For Something Completely Different

I’ve spent the last several months working away inside and now it’s finally time to move outside again!

I thought the first weekend of spring was an appropriate time to tackle two projects in the front of my house:

spring8

I have a plan in my head that I think will solve two problems with my stairwell-there’s no lighting and it’s dangerous.  I’m determined to make it work, you know, so nobody gets hurt.

spring6Project #2 out front is to make another flower bed by my front stairs so I can plant

spring3this brand new little baby Clematis.  When I got it from Wal-Mart it was just a tiny white vine in dirt.  After a week in a pot in the window it’s now growing leaves (!) and turning green!

spring5The clematis to the left of my front door is doing great:

spring7And while I was checking out my Clematis I noticed this:

spring4I don’t know what kind of flower this is but it’s blooming!  This little planter is a success-everything came back from last year!

In other areas of my land (ha!) there is real grass growing in my backyard

spring10REAL GRASS!

spring1And my planters are ready for planting…now it just needs to stay above freezing at night so I can put these in the ground:

spring2

It looks like I’m going to have a lot of squash, beans and basil, which I’m excited about!

So unless we start getting torrential down pours, I probably won’t be doing much inside over the next few months-get ready for planting, watering and, hopefully, growing!  Sure I’ll show you some more baseboards and crafts but I’m looking forward to sprucing up the outside so it’s not an eyesore anymore!

-A