Clearing Up the Outside Clutter

Charlie had thrown the undecorated Christmas tree out the front door.

Charlie hacked the tree apart and threw in the clearing near our compost bin.
Charlie hacked the tree apart and threw in the clearing near our compost bin.

Yesterday he finally broke it down and put it in the compost pile.

Charlie had promised to clear out his tools under the steps before winter sets in.
Charlie had promised to clear out his tools under the steps before winter sets in.

I also asked him to clean out the tools and cardboard from under the back steps.

This is the same view from another angle -- cleaned out.
This is the same view from another angle — cleaned out.

My theory is that piles like this up close to the house encourage rodents to make nests.

I wonder where they'll start.
I wonder where they’ll start.

And Charlie received a phone call yesterday from the shower door installer — they’re coming TODAY!

What one thing needs to be cleaned, and cleaned NOW, at your house?

2014 Garden Planting and Layout

Back in March Charlie started cleaning up the 16 four foot by four foot raised garden beds.

The 2014 garden in March before spring really got in gear.
The 2014 garden in March before spring really got in gear.

Now at the end of May half of the 16 4-foot by 4-foot squares have been planted.

Although we view the garden from the house along the 4-8-12-16 side, the squares are numbered left to right as you enter the garden gate.
Although we view the garden from the house along the 4-8-12-16 side, the squares are numbered left to right as you enter the garden gate.

Charlie has been planting seeds and seedlings.  He protects the young plants from chilly nights and birds with old windows that he lays on the squares.

Last year I painted these old window frames to use as portable cold frames in the garden.
Last year I painted these old window frames to use as portable cold frames in the garden.

He has also begun the bamboo trellises that keep the vining crops growing upward instead of spreading in the paths.

Radishes in the foreground don't need support but when the trellis over the vining cucumbers (behind) is finished it will be about 10 feet tall.
Radishes in the foreground don’t need support but when the trellis over the vining cucumbers (behind) is finished it will be about 10 feet tall.

Even the entrance to the potager which took a hard hit this past winter will soon bloom with purple iris and English lavender.

I love spring in the potager before the weeds take over.
I love spring in the potager before the weeds take over.

The “surprise me” squares in the plan above are saved for overplanted seedlings our friend with a monster-sized garden shares with us. We never really know what to expect – onions, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, etc.

Standing at the entrance to the potager peaking over the blue iron fence into the garden.
Standing at the entrance to the potager peaking over the blue iron fence into the garden.

We can’t wait to harvest the first crop which will probably be radishes and radish greens.

How does you garden grow?

Lost in Winter

I have had a small herb garden near out Wee Little House for many years now.  Generally the perennial herbs planted there come back year after year.

The herbs were growing in September, 2012.
The herbs were growing in September, 2012.

There are garlic chives, regular chives, thyme, catmint, sage and rosemary.

In September of 2013 the very same herbs were doing well and had never been replanted.
In September of 2013 the very same herbs were doing well and had never been replanted.

Alas, due to the unusually frigid winter, the rosemary did not make it.

Unfortunately the once lush rosemary is death and ready for the compost pile unless someone knows of a use for death rosemary.
Unfortunately the once lush rosemary is dead and ready for the compost pile unless someone knows of a use for dead rosemary.

We can replant it though, right Charlie?

What herbs are you planting?

Garden 2014

For the past 10 or so years Charlie has had a garden.

The garden in 2010
Garden in 2010
Garden in 2011
Garden in 2011
Garden in 2012
Garden in 2012
Garden in 2013
Garden in 2013

This year even with snow at the end of March Charlie took a day to prepare his 16 garden (I call it potager) squares.

Preparation of the at the end of March, 2014.
Preparation of the garden at the end of March, 2014.

A day of raking, hoeing, and  adding compost.

We still have some piles of debris to remove and lots of landscaping in addition to the vegetable garden.
We still have some piles of debris to remove and lots of landscaping in addition to the vegetable garden.

We’ll be happy all this is ready a month from now.

What are you planting?

On the Outside

East View of The Glade

Here is a layout of our property known as The Glade.  (Double click the picture to enlarge and read labels.)

Layout of The Glade

The whole thing is about two-thirds of an acre.  The house sits towards the front and the rest is garden, grass or woods. Note the desperate need of landscaping from the street view which used to be hidden by a fence.

Street view of The Glade

In the spring the trees and azaleas bloom profusely followed closely by iris and day lilies.

East Side Yard

Looking at the house from the east side yard are some bushes, trees and groundcover that will be removed or repositioned after the renovation.

East side of House and garden

I have a lilac bush which is green and lush but only puts out a few blossoms. The daffodils and primroses are almost gone.

Narcissi

In addition to the house the stationary structures include Glade Cottage.

Glade Cottage

The Wee Little House (shed)

Wee Little House in Morning Light

and the Woodshed.

Woodshed

Sort of semi-permanent are the vegetable garden

Vegetable Garden Layout in the Landscape

and the compost bins.

Double Compost Bins

In a couple of weeks we’ll add a rain barrel to that list. In the photo below you can easily see the shed but the compost bins are hidden under the trees.

Back Yard with shed and compost bins

Looking back toward the house is the eyesore of our heating oil tank which really needs some camouflage.  I have always meant to at least paint it to match the house but only got as far as the primer coat which looks like rust. Ugh. This view is from deep in the back yard.

House (left) Cottage (right)

Back in the west side yard we’re working on a shade perennial garden. This is the part of the property you see as you approach the house from the street.

West Yard Shade Garden

And another view.

Shade Garden viewed from the West

And that is the comprehensive tour of outside of The Glade.  We are really set in a clearing in the woods which, I believe, is the very definition of “glade”. Thanks for taking the tour.

Have you appreciated your yard lately?  Share a few photos, it’s lovlier than you remember.

I’m in the link party here.

Getting Ready the Garden

15 Square Garden

 Charlie has already started getting the garden ready for planting.  He follows the principals of  Square Foot Gardening set forth by Mel Bartholomew. This year Charlie finally has a full area of fifteen 4 foot by 4 foot squares.  He built these squares from old fencing that we snagged for free one day while driving down the road.  A former neighbor was having a new fence installed and the installer was happy for someone to take the old fence off his hands. So we took it apart and hauled it home. This is the last of it.

Newly Made Compost Bin in 1998

 

Compost bin in use

Charlie tops off the squares each year with the rich compost he nurtures in the compost heap. 

Garden as seen from the Driveway

 The garden is really Charlie’s baby but he tries to grow the things to please his family and friends.  I know on the list this year are Sun Gold (cherry) tomatoes, haricots verts and cukes.  The green plants in the foreground of the above shot are leeks still growing from last summer.  In the black pots are seedlings of Japanese red maple trees. Can’t wait until the garden starts yielding.  We’ ll have an update on planting and tending the garden later in the season.  Here is a look at a past garden (much smaller back then) just to get you excited.

2006 Garden with Bamboo Trellises