Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spring Surprises & Working in the Yard

I have been enjoying the slow discovery process of what is already planted in our new space. Spring brought many a surprise, some identifiable and some unknowns. While I may not have been posting, I have been taking pictures and we've been busy when the weather allows it!

A batch of red tulips popped up amidst the Creeping Jenny
 by the back deck stairs leading to the yard.

Left: Unidentified bulb that my MIL calls "star flowers"
 scattered in the south lawn and beds. Right: Detail of a delicate
 daffodil of unusualy coloration. There are a few of these on the south side.

The large front beds (and lawn) become drowned in bluebells. There are
SO many that I will toss any bulbs I find when I work on those beds.
 The dark blue are most prevalent but there are a few pinks
 and even fewer whites here and there.

Mysteries! Left: Some kind of stoney crop that amazed me with this profusion.
 Planted by the basement door, almost hidden behind the sage/mint-like bush.
Right: Unknown flower in Lilac Bed.

Good thing I didn't finish weeding these beds on either side of the stairs
leading to the driveway!  Turns out these are pretty flowers, not buttercups
or Herb Robert like we thought. Left: Dicentra, native Bleeding Hearts
left of the stairs. Right: A variety of California Poppy right of stairs 
(I'd only ever known of the orange kind with silky petals).
 We have been very busy focusing on our outdoor spaces and several times, I have found myself questioning the insanity that led us to want a large yard. Oh sure, it's wonderful to have enough space that we can have flower beds, vegetable beds, grassy play/lounge area, plus grilling "living" area, but it IS overwhelming to try and take care of all that! It is constantly getting away from us. Two months ago we made our front beds look BEAUTIFUL and now, they are a righteous mess again. Sigh. As is often true of Seattle early summer, we get a few days of sun that we can try and get some work done and by the next batch of sun (separated by longer stretches of misting rainy gloom), we tackle a new spot but the old spot is already looking shoddy! It's bad enough that I am now willing to forgo a completely organic yard space. I just can't keep up with the weeds. So I think I'm giving in and going to give Preen a try, but ONLY on the front flower beds that contain no edibles. Although, in searching for a link to tag this with, I just discovered they offer an "organic" version made for your edible plants that's safe for kids and pets. It's a little more pricey, but I would rather spend a little more money to use a less toxic version in our environment.

Bottom: Approximately 2 weeks after weeding, a few crept in but the
bluebells exploded and made it hard to keep it up. Top: Around 4 weeks later,
weeds exploded even worse! Circled bush is to provide a comparison point.
Around mid-May, we ordered 4 cubic yards of dirt from Cedar GroveCompost to use for our raised veggie bed and spiral herb garden. After filling our bed we realized we had WAY too much dirt...and then realized our miscalculation was based on the mistaken brain-hiccup that our bed would be 3 feet deep, not the smaller 17" deep. J ran off to the store and bought more wood for a second bed, which ended up being needed once we started planting our baby Tilth starts. We still have plenty of dirt, more than ample for the herb garden once we can get that built.
Left: Tearing up sod for area under bed 1. Why is grass such a pain?!
Right: J shoveling up new veggie dirt delivered from Cedar Grove to fill bed 1.
After painstakingly weeding the bed containing the lilac tree over the course of two days, I had J spring for a nice big bag of the cocoa shell mulch. I wanted to surpress the weeds in that area and hey, it might as well smell super-yummy at the same time! I was so happy looking at my hard work until about 4 days later, some little creature dug up a pile in one spot and created a little heap in another. I smoothed it back out, but now I can see the dirt mixed in with the shells in those two areas instead.

Lilac Bed: Weeded area spread with cocoa shell mulch to help
supress weeds while the ground covers fill in. The plant in the
center front is a strawberry and it's acting quite prolific!

Sneak peak of logo sketch
In other news, I am working on two freelance projects. The first is a redesign and rebuild of a website I built about five years ago. The second is designing and creating the logo for a friend's fledling cupcake company. I'll share those projects once they've been "released."

P.S. I have unfortunately proven my suspicions correct: I am not a consistent blogger.  I have all these planned posts in my head, but somehow, I can never seem to do all the photo editing to accompany them! (However, I always TAKE all the photos to accompany the post.) I think I need to teach J how to photo edit, then he can do the pictures and I can do the text. Bam! Family teamwork, right? Right!


  1. I love the rockery thing you've got happening there. Will you be adding on to it to make it more rockery-ish? The unknown flower and the bleeding hearts are my favourites, followed by the yellow poppy! I have to admit; I also have a weak spot in my heart for bluebells; I adore them!


  2. The two large flower beds in the front of the house are raised about 16" using those rocks. I've started moving some of the sedums here and there to tuck into the nooks to grow instead of the weeds that find their way in. We bought more rocks that look similar to use when we build our spiral herb garden. That unknown flower has lightly heart-shaped leaves that get a gorgeous red blush on the edges...and the flower looks inside out but is NOT Inside-Out flower.