Dave’s 2011 Garden Project Review

This post is a post I’ve been dreading.  Mainly because this year has been tough, probably the toughest I’ve ever had to live through.  My garden projects fell by the wayside.  My projects and ambitions just didn’t matter when compared to the situations that the course of life brought us through.  But we’re getting through things, day by day.  I don’t mean to end the year with a downer post but really I don’t think I can write this post any differently. Dad’s death took a lot of wind out of my sails and effected my projects and even this garden blog.  Suddenly things that were important to me didn’t feel that important.  Stuff was set aside and I even stopped visiting many of the bloggers who I read regularly.  Reading fun and interesting articles about my favorite subject (gardening) suddenly wasn’t so fun and interesting and even writing about my gardening experiences became difficult. (To any garden bloggers who may read this post please accept my apology for not visiting recently.)  One of my goals for 2012 is to regain my enthusiasm for garden projects, garden blogging, and all things garden again.  That enthusiasm isn’t gone, but it has been dormant since July.  I suppose in a way I’ve trudged through things with a mindset similar to that of a writer with writers block.  The writer just has to plow his way through it.  He has to write and write and write until the ideas flow again.  That’s what I must do in 2012, garden and garden and garden.

Now that I have mentioned the challenges of 2011 I can review my garden project progress — which wasn’t good…

I always end up biting off more than I can chew – metaphorically speaking of
course.  To a certain extent it’s intentional, so that I stay motivated
and end up getting a lot done even though I know I can’t do it all.  But the 2011 project list was way out of reach for me under the circumstances.

1) Build the vegetable garden fence!

has been on my list for two years without much progress. Alright,
without any progress! The deer have invaded my vegetable garden multiple
times which means there needs to be a way to prevent future incursions
tied in with whatever fence build.

My 2011 Project list began with the vegetable garden fence I’ve been hoping to build for several years now.  Did you read the post I wrote about the fence?  Me neither, I never wrote it!  That fence is still on the list but hasn’t progressed beyond the planning stage. 

2) Finish the new garden beds.

I have three areas in our front yard that need mulching and filling in with plants. One area is around our Yoshino Cherry tree
and is filled in with a bunch of plants already including irises,
coneflower, dwarf crape myrtles,  daisies, and a few other plants.
Another area is halfway mulched but I stopped when I discovered a nest
of ground wasps. I need to figure out how to get rid of them! The third
area is a garden on a slope that will be filled with Russian sage, catmint, salvia and several other favorites that are easy to propagate!

Here’s one project that actually was tackled.  Although technically a garden is never “finished”.  Currently those gardens are filled with plants and mulch which will allow me to claim completeness for the project!

3) Make more stepping stones for our side walkway area.

I made a few last year and I need enough to connect the area around the arbor to the backyard.

Those stepping stones aren’t done yet.  One of these days…

4) Repair a couple raised beds.

My beds are made
with untreated lumber and after 3 years in the weather a couple of them
are falling apart. My plan is to move four 2’x4′ raised beds and place
them together in the location of the 4’x8′ raised bed that is falling

This project is kind of done and kind of not.  I moved the raised beds around and accomplished my plan but as usual my plans change!  The parterre design plan I want to gradually change the garden into is partially in progress and a necessary part of it was the removal of a few beds.  By the end of the 2011 garden season many of those beds were in such bad condition that I simply removed them entirely.

5) Build a central circle raised bed in the vegetable garden.

four beds I’m planning on moving for the previous project will leave a
gaping hole in the center of the garden. I have about 17 concrete
retaining wall blocks laying around that should make a great central

Here’s another project I can claim completion on! The circular raised bed grew lettuce and pole beans this year.

6) Gradually adjust the vegetable garden into a parterre vegetable garden.

layouts are very cool and are both decorative and functional. In the
process I’ll eliminate any grass pathways in the garden and replace them
with mulch – no mowing in the vegetable garden!

I mentioned this a couple projects ago in this post.  The northwestern corner is partially transformed but it looks much more like the picture in this post called Vegetable Garden Layout Parterre Style.  Although after looking at that photo I realized that I changed things again.  As the head gardener here I reserve the right to edit my garden as I wish!

7) Build another arbor.

collected all the materials for a nice arbor to be build near the
garden shed. It will be wide enough for the riding mower to easily run
under and will get covered with a Sweet Autumn Clematis that will be
relocated from my deck – those things need places to roam!

I really couldn’t wait to get this project done.  But I did, so I guess I could!  It’s on the list for 2012.  It looks like that 2012 list will be a doozy.  

8) Fix the deck.

I’m not sure what I can do here yet
but one rail on our deck has warped to the point where the whole rail
needs replaced. Hopefully I can enhance the deck in some way during the
repair process.

 I can rig a simple fix but wouldn’t a new deck be better?  Just musing here…

9) Build the garden bridge!

I’m really wanting to get
my reclaimed deck lumber used for this project and soon. A nice oriental
style garden bridge is just what my garden needs – well not really
“needs” but the garden does want it…

No bridge to nowhere, not yet anyway!  

10) Finish the patio walkway to the driveway.

I built the patio two years ago expecting to add the walkway last year but that got away from me. This year for sure!

Well I have a stack of paving stones sitting out back.  Too bad they won’t hop into place on their own.  If they would I could claim another one down, but alas animated paving stones haven’t been invented yet.

11) Finish the garden shed.

like to paint the inside a nice reflective light color to increase the
light. I’d also like to enclose the roof rafters in some way to improve
the heat retention.

The garden shed is still needing attention.  Painting, work on the reclaimed windows, laying more floor, you name it.  It’s very much still in progress but I just haven’t been able to get to it.  I actually have more paving stones ready to go in, I just need the time and motivation to get it done!

As you can see my ambitious project list fell woefully short of completion.  Perhaps 2012 will be a much kinder year to our family and more of these projects can be completed.  We’ll see though.  One thing I know for certain, that nothing is for certain!

More from Growing The Home Garden

About Dave

Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 4 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave has a side business growing and selling heirloom vegetables and herb plants through Blue Shed Gardens and works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.


  1. So very sorry about your father and I understand. Take time to heal and don't worry about your website–I promise your site is good enough to weather a bit of down time. Took me 5 years to get where I didn't cry every time I mentioned my mom's name. It will get better slowly but it will always be hard. You do start to regain a love for the things you used to do–like your website. It will get better. I promise.

    And congrats on all the finished projects–you do accomplish so many good things.

  2. It has indeed been a bad year for you. Hopefully 2012 will be a much better year and you can get busy in the garden. Sam will be big enough to help out-or at least to eat all those strawberries with his sisters! Happy New Year to you.

  3. Thanks Anna,

    I'm not really worried about the blog it's more that I don't want to let down anyone who is reading it. I'm looking forward to 2012 though, it will be busy!


    Sam loves strawberries and tomatoes! Now that he's running around we'll be sure to spend a great deal of time outdoors. He can already say "dirt"! Now if I can just teach him compost…

  4. You've had a rough year, but your hard work and dedication are still a lot to be admired. All best to you and your family in 2012!

  5. Hi Dave. Kind regards for the New Year. I have been following through my reader. Sorry about your father. Those kind of things definitely put a dint in life. Time however is a great gift and caring about the rest of our world around us also helps make the loved ones life have added value going forward. Happy gardening.

  6. Dave,

    I have only started visiting your blog, but I am sorry to hear of your loss. You had a formidable list of projects even for a good year. I'm hoping that this year will be better for you.

    Have a good and healthy New Year.


  7. So sorry for your sadness in 2011, but hoping 2012 will be much kinder to you.
    I'm intrigued of your garden design. Being in town sure puts a damper on the idea part.
    Happy New Yr to you & yours.

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