Repaving the Path

Sug has been pulling weeds on the path below the Cottage.

Looking up the path on a previous clean-up.

To neaten the path we usually cover it with corrugated cardboard or newspaper topped with wood chips.

Chips are on the driveway at the top of the path.

Our neighbor has a lot of farm animals — chickens and pigs — and so she has wood chips delivered regularly some of which she offered to Charlie.

A small pile of chips.

Charlie hauled a few cartfuls of chips down the street and dumped them on plastic tarps at the top of the path.

The clean-up is in preparation for the dedication early next month.

Now Sug has another chore.

How are your paths paved?

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Matching the Right to the Left

Charlie worked on the left side of the front foundation planting, the side nearest the driveway.

The driveway side.

Then he started moving the firewood and forgot about the front of the house.

As usual, layers of newspaper to deter weeds and then mulch.

Sug took up where Charlie left off and worked on the right hand side of the foundation planting.

The stepping stones need to be sunk into the ground.

While she worked on the mulch, Charlie and I carefully space the stepping stones which are approximately 24 inches on center give or take.

A gallon of Miracle-Gro.

The center shrub in the front row — Helleri Japanese holly — is not thriving so Charlie mixed up some Miracle-Gro liquid fertilizer. After the area was fully mulched he applied some to the front shrubs.

The right side of the house is less formal with stepping stones instead of a walkway.
Waiting for some growth.

Now both sides of the front plantings have been fully cleaned up and mulched.

Do you fertilize?

More Mulching and a Surprise in the Mulch Pile

Sug has been systematically pulling weeds and mulching the beds.

The potager in front of the fence has become quite weedy.

Tonight’s project was the area in front of the potager which has a few perennial flowering plants and some herbs.

The front of the potager is more decorative than practical.

Just like the west side of the house Sug laid newspaper then topped it with mulch made from wood chips.

The egg is shaped like a Tic-tac but larger.

While she was digging in the mulch she found some oval eggs.

Snake eggs from the web for comparison.

When I looked them up I realized they were black snake eggs.

I hope never to see this scene in real life.

I guess we’ll have plenty of snakes.  Hopefully they’ll take care of the mice and moles.  And stay away from the birdies.

Do wild animals creep you out?

The West Foundation

A month ago Charlie planted and cleaned up the west side of the house foundation under the kitchen window.

The west side of the house is planted with perennial plants but very nondescript.

Unfortunately the area had become very weedy since early June.

Mulching makes the area appear neat.

Sug to the rescue. She pulled the weeds then covered the area with layers of newspaper to inhibit future weeds.

We often use newspaper to deter weeds.

She covered the paper with mulch (rotted wood chips) from the pile at the bottom of the yard.

These plants should eventually fill in and cover the foundation.

I don’t know how she has the patience for this but it looks beautiful while we’re waiting for the plants to mature.

What jobs are you patient to do?

Charlie’s Mid-June Garden 2018

We’ve had lots of rain this month so the vegetable garden is growing well.

The esthetics of this year’s garden is wanting — no mulch yet.

Unfortunately the rabbits that live in the woods have been nibbling heartily at everything Charlie plants.

This year’s pea crop is snow peas. Usually we grow sugar snaps.

He has built his bamboo trellises and surrounded the crops with all sorts of wire barriers.

The peas taste good there are just not many of them.

I’ve eaten the few snow peas that the rabbits missed.

It won’t be long now.

On the bright side, the cucumbers are starting to gain some size. Charlie says we’ll be eating them within the week.

Do you preserve garden vegetables?

The Doggie Elimination Area

The east side of the house where I am cultivating a hydrangea hedge has been designated “the elimination area”.

The elimination area is behind the dog run in the east side of the yard.

This is the place where we take Dash to “do his business”.

The east yard is away from the main part of the back yard.

Charlie has come up with a system to help us avoid stepping in the remnants from earlier visits.

The markers are kept in a nearby urn with an olive tree planted in it.

When the dog has a successful outing we mark it with a skewer.  Charlie felt the plain skewers were not visible enough so he spray painted the tops red.

A marker in place.

Every couple of days Charlie polices this area.

Do you have a clever pet managing device?

My Blue Hydrangeas

I have always wanted a blue hydrangea hedge at the side of the house.

The hydrangea cuttings are planted.
The hydrangea cuttings were planted in September, 2015.

We have the perfect spot where hydrangea flowers turn a vivid blue and last a long time.

The hydrangeas were merely one-leaf sprigs a year ago.
The hydrangeas were merely one-leaf sprigs in 2015.
This year the blooms are profuse.

Now, not quite 3 years later, each leaf has grown into a full-fledged bush.

Looking down on the hydrangeas from the second floor deck last year, 2017.
The change in annual growth is exciting to witness.

The view from the upper deck shows great improvement. The space between each bush is filling in nicely.

This year’s blooms are slowly turning from cream to blue as the weather warms.

Surely we will be using some hydrangeas flowers in arrangements to brighten the house inside.

Nikko Blue hydrangeas.

And maybe giving some away.

I visit this area numerous times daily.

Turns out that I see this far side of the house often. So does the puppy.

What’s growing better in your yard: cultivated plants or weeds?