Time Spent on the Land

I've been spending a lot of time dreaming about what is to come for our family, our new house, and the gardens. It's easy to come up with ideas but always much more challenging to implement them. I've designed a potential house plan and I know how we would site it on the property. There is still a lot of planning that needs done before we can actually start building. I'm thankful for the opportunity to dream about what we could do there and each time I visit the land I feel a sense of peace, like this is exactly where we are supposed to be. Walking Trails I visited the land a few days ago to fix the driveway a little better. After that I walked the land. Just in the open spaces. One idea I have had is to install a walking trail around the property so I…

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Paving Stones for Pathway Entrances

One of my recent projects was to complete two entrances to our front sidewalk from the lawn.  The openings were already there but didn't have any definition - or at least any good definition that a person walking along would see a clear path to the sidewalk.  I had some paving stones in the backyard set aside for another project (an extension to our patio) that I haven't had time to get to yet so I thought they could be used for these short sidewalk entrances.  I spent a little time with the assistance of my 2 year old son and 4 year old daughter clearing our the weeds and clumps of grass that were in the way.  They had a good time moving the weeds to their wheelbarrow and dumping them! Then I laid out the stones.  Some were 6"x9" and others were 6"x6" which allowed me to create rectangular shapes with sets…

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Something is Wrong With My Front Garden Plan

My garden is made up of a series of island garden beds. Each one is "designed" (I say that very loosely) to create the pathways that appear in between the gardens. To me a pathway is what really makes garden. A good path let's you see everything there is to see, leads you down unexpected turns, and really enhances a garden. Plants are integral for a garden and structures are important too but you don't go anywhere without a pathway. But this post isn't really about pathways, it's about one garden bed in particular that I need help with. You see, there's just something wrong with it. Maybe it's the plantings, maybe it's the size and shape, or maybe it's something else entirely. In this bed I've brought lavender plants from my in-laws garden.  They were the result of the natural layering of several lavender plants. I also have several…

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I Like the Islands!

Earlier this week I spent an afternoon outside with my oldest daughter who had a half day off from kindergarten. She was running around outside and playing on the swingset while her brother (our youngest) was napping in the stroller nearby. Since he rarely ever naps I was not even remotely tempted to tempt fate by moving him indoors and stayed outdoors looking for something to do. Let me just say that something to do is never far away! What I ended up doing was completing a new island bed that I worked on earlier in the summer. I'm a big fan of using multiple island beds to break up the yard into smaller sections. Every time a new island garden is added it creates a new zone along with new pathways to walk down. I've always thought of pathways in the garden being just as important as the plants…

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A Trip Through the Sideyard Garden

One of the lesser shown areas of my yard this year has been the sideyard and corner shade garden. In the past I've featured it quite a bit but to be honest I've been disappointed with it this year. After I removed a cedar tree in the spring the morning sun began to cook the hostas in the garden. They weren't too happy. When you add up the flooding rains in May and the extremely dry and hot summer you can understand why the garden might look considerably less than perfection. I replaced the cedar tree with a dogwood which in time will look great but until its foliage fills out the shade garden will just have to tolerate a little extra sun. Recently I expanded both sides of the sideyard gardens. I didn't do much more than move the border stones but it had an immediate effect. The pathway…

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The White Pathway

In our yard exist many corners that have not yet been cultivated. Most of these spots may never receive more than a cursory attempt at management. While I was mowing today I drove through one such area that completely caught me off guard. Along our back property line is an old fence that I'm sure was there before our subdivision became what it is today and was probably used to keep cattle contained. The back area of our yard, which continues up a hillside and along the fence, was completely left alone and naturalized for several years. Last fall I began to make pathways through the brushy hillside so that we could move around our property. The pathways aren't anything spectacular, just simple cut grass areas through the brush, but enable us to use a little bit more of our yard. It was this seldom cared for pathway tucked away…

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A Hillside Garden Pathway

While I haven't written about it in quite some time we have a large hillside that so far we've left pretty natural. Over the last two years I've gradually cut into the slope in an attempt to cut down on the worst of all weeds, ragweed. Right now the slope has large pathways cut into the top that have natural island beds filled with Queen Anne's Lace, blackberries, and sassafras as well as an vast assortment of other weeds and wildflowers. Eventually I hope to add some fruit trees to make a small orchard on the slope since it seems to be a great location for fruit trees to thrive. For now though I'm tinkering around with a few things like this little pathway. It's located near out driveway and leads up the slope to the larger areas that I've already cleared. Clearing it out was a bit of a…

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