Archive for the ‘Composting’ Category

Rain Barrels

Last weekend I went to a truckload sale that was being hosted by the Newport News-Greencorps as a way to improve the environment.  I picked up these really cool 55 gal systern barrels as well as a kitchen scrap collector bucket for veggie scraps etc…  They also had Earth Machine Composters and compost turners.  The prices were very reasonable, I got these for $57 a piece (tax included).  The Scrap bucket was about $7.00 I think.  All of these products are made by Norseman Plastics.  We have to do some assembly as far as connecting them together and attaching the spigot.  My hubby plans on making a platform to raise them up so I can get a watering can under the spigot.  The color is nice since it blends in with my vinyl siding and there is even a screen on top to keep out debris.   The sale was suppose to run from 9-3 but I’m sure they were sold out before noon, since the turnout was amazing to say the least.  I got there about 9:30 and the line was quite long already.  Watching people walk away with 3-4 of these including a composter or two, I was starting to think they might run out before I got to the front of the line.  Thankfully I managed to get what I came for and headed home in no time.  :)

Early Christmas Presents

 Every year I make it easy for my family to find the perfect gift to give me.  It’s a no-brainer on what I want, it’s always for the garden of course.  This year was no exception either since I knew I had to have these natural compost bins that I saw in the  Gardener’s Supply Company catalog.  On cyber monday  they offered free shipping plus $10.00 off each by ordering 2 or more, so hubby said what are you waiting for?  Yay!!!  They came within a few days and I set them up this past weekend with the help of my oldest son.  No tools required, just a little muscle to help me get the unwieldy boxes out to the work area.  I love how they slot together like Lincoln Logs (remember those?)  Now to fill them up with all kinds of yummy things like leaves, coffee grounds, egg shells, green stuff etc….  Just think how happy my veggie garden will be next spring when I give it a layer of black gold.  I got my idea for this post from Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings, she did an entire post dedicated to Gifts for Gardeners.  Thanks for the inspiration Dee.  :)

Great timing pays off

Yesterday I worked on the Woodland Garden which is located on the side of the garage in my front yard.  It gets morning sun and has a variety of shade loving plants and shrubs.  My timing was impeccable today, because when I finished it started raining. 

Woodland Garden Before

Woodland Garden Before

Here is a photo showing what the garden looked like yesterday morning before I started moving plants around and amending it with compost.  It looks a little tired after our long hot & dry summer. 

Woodland Garden After

Woodland Garden After

Just adding a good layer of compost did wonders for this garden bed.  I was going to sweep the sidewalk afterwards, but once it started raining it kind of resolved the problem.  :)

Woodland Garden (left side)

Woodland Garden (left side)

I trimmed the bottom branches of the Nandinas up to make them look like small trees.  This way I can plant a ground cover under them or other perennials.  There are Daffodils and Wood Hyacinths planted behind and between the Liropes.  I still would like to replace the Liropes with something else.  Any suggestions?

Woodland Garden (middle)

Woodland Garden (middle)

This is where most of the transplanting took place today.  I removed 3 overgrown Lirope, divided some plants to be transplanted elsewhere, and moved some ferns to the back of the border.  My Goatsbeard  was being swallowed alive by Lirope and a huge Hosta.  It has its’ own space now between the two small Euonymus.  In the process, I uncovered a large patch of Sweet Woodruff hidden under the overgrown plants.

Woodland Garden (right side)

Woodland Garden (right side)

The area where the three containers are sitting used to be the home of my TV Antenna turned trellis.  There is still a huge block of concrete under all that soil,  therefore the containers.  The large Hosta to the left is a division that was moved from beside the Goatsbeard.   Looks like I picked the perfect day to rework the Woodland Garden because the rain really helped settle in all the new transplants & compost.  Well that’s five beds completed and three to go!   Oh I have one more picture to show you……….

Arbor Bed 2008

Arbor Bed 2008

I have put the finishing touches (for now, lol) on the Arbor Bed.  I moved one Nandina from the Fountain Bed over to the far right front corner to balance out the height, moved a Dwarf Pygmy Barberry to behind the bench and planted some spring bulbs under the Nandina.  And I moved my Nelly Moser Clematis to under the new trellis on the fence.   I am happy with the way it looks.  What do you think?

I see the finish line in sight

Well the Arbor Garden is almost done anyhow. There are a couple of shrubs that need to be shifted and then planting the new bulbs & perennials that were ordered over the summer once they arrive.  My hubby hung my birthday trellis on the back fence and I’m wondering now if it needs a deeper stain to make it pop.  What do you think? 

 Another bed that is almost complete is the Fountain Bed.  Today I cut back the ‘Royal Standard’ Hostas & burgundy Cannas because they looked pretty ratty.  Then I put down a nice layer of compost and trimmed the Nandinas back, they were pretty wild.  Two of them will be removed to be replaced by the Viburnums. (which are sitting in their pots in front their prospective new homes).  The Rhododendron in the back makes a nice anchor for the corner and has a pretty lavender bloom in the late spring. 

The next bed to work on is the border bed out front.  I’ve been moving things around in here too.  Two of my birthday plants are residing here.  The seed heads on the Rubeckia will be left for the birds to enjoy this winter.  This bed definitely needs some compost, it gets so dry and the soil looks tired.  It’s nice to change things occasionally, gives the garden a whole new fresh look.

A work in progress

Some projects take time to complete and the arbor garden is no exception.  I’m still moving things & putting compost in this area.  The process is taking longer because of the revamping of this area.  Here are some more areas I’ve somewhat completed thus far:

This limb has been sitting in my garden for years now.  I found it sitting on the side of the road when walking with my hubby one day.  I liked the interesting shape & thought it would be a nice organic addition to the arbor garden.  I dug up this area yesterday (including the plants) & ammended the soil.  It was very dry & tired looking.  Then I planted some Snowflake Candytuff that I moved from the new bed and some of the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy” that was originally here.  I cut the sedum back & divided it into several smaller clumps.  Behind the branch is a Verbena Bonsariesis on the left & a Monarda on the right.  Behind them I am still considering what to put here.  I need something yellow or orange to compliment the purple.  The Sweet Autumn Clematis is in the backdrop of this corner of the Arbor bed. 

This area used to have the Spirea that I moved up to the front of the bed.  I moved a Peony that was growing under one of the Nandinas to this area so that it would get more sunlight.  It’s never bloomed and I think the light conditions are the culprit.  If you enlarge the picture you will make out the cut back stems growing under the grid support.  This Peony was given to me from a neighbor who was dividing up a large bush she had in her yard. I didn’t even realize you divide Peonies, so this was interesting.  I’m not sure, but I think the color is a reddish pink.  I intend to move the daylillies (after dividing them) that are to the far right to another location and planting a red rose in this area.  I would also like to place a trellis or two on this part of the fence to grow vines one.  I’m considering moving my Nelly Moser & the Pink Bonita Rose from the Arbor to this area.  Neither one of them bloom for a long period so I thought of growing an annual vine on the arbor next year instead for a longer season of bloom.  Maybe the Cypress vine which I purchased a packet of seeds for last month. It is a mixed variety that has flowers in pink, red & white. 

This is the new open space under the ‘Limelight’ Hydrangea that I created after pruning it into a tree form earlier this month.  I have already planted several varieties of shade loving plants here.  This area gets dappled morning sun with afternoon shade.  I have the Gentian, Hostas, Ferns, Solomon’s Seal and a Skull’s cap Hyssop planted in this area.  In the upper right hand corner one of the Forever & Ever Hydrangeas is happily  situated here as well.  I had to prune off some of the foliage that had gotten burned or damaged and it is putting out new foliage as we speak. Some things just need a new location to be happy productive perennials in the garden.

It is the perfect time of the year

revised-arbor-gardenThis is the perfect time of the year to divide plants, move things around & just basically rework the garden beds.  That is what I’ve been doing while I’m putting down the compost.  So instead of staying focused on the task at hand I’m trying to do three or four different things at the same time.  I actually only have one wheelbarrow full of the first load of compost & my hubby is going to get me a second load tomorrow.  So if anyone out there was wondering where my post was today this is why.  This is the inside of my arbor bed.  I moved the small Spirea on the left to the front of this bed to act as a living border of sorts.  Then I dug up some the ‘Colorful Summer’ Daylillies (which needed dividing badly) and put them in here between the Gerber daisy & the Siberian Iris ‘New Wine’.   I also need to divide the Irisescenter-of-arbor-garden which I will put on the opposite side along with some of the daylillies.   Can you see a different between the bed area & the path area?  That compost is really a rich brown color. My husband ripped the huge boxwood out which was in this bed off center from the birdbath.  I have rearranged some of the plants in this bed so that it looks more uniformed from all sides.  It used to be a perfect circle, now it kind of looks like a pear shape. :)  Things look ragged now but wait till next spring when the bulbs come up & everything is fresh again.  My husband also ripped out the boxwood that was under the Pecan tree for me.  Sorry Tina, but it was for the best.  The roots were girdling the trunk so it was just a matter of time anyhow.  I put one of the Forever & Ever Hydrangeas that was getting too much sun in the new bed in the spot where the boxwood was planted.  I also put in some pansies around the edge for a punch of color this fall & winter.  The hostas are starting to die back as well as some of the ferns.  August was just too hard on most of the shade plants.  I put in a nice layer of compost & divided some of the plants up to be put elsewhere (like under the Limelight Hydrangea).I also cut back the Obedient plant since there was only one stalk blooming still (I brought that one inside) and planted  yellow, white & mauve pansies to fill in the void.  There is a lavender mum in the center.  So as you can see I’ve been a busy, busy bee this week in the garden.  But I’m loving every minute of it. :)

I am going to need more compost…

Sometimes I forget how many garden beds I have in my yard.  Plus the majority of them are quite large ranging from 20′ long and 5′-15′ in depth.  I knew going into this fall project that I would need more than one load of that wonderful rich compost, but now after completing more of my back garden beds I realize that I will probably need at least two more loads before it’s all said & done.  As you can see in the picture to the left I really put a dent in the pile and the funny part is I’m not even done with the back yard let alone the front garden beds. Luckily my son & his girlfriend were here yesterday and gave me a hand.  My son loaded up the wheelbarrow while his girlfriend helped me spread it out.  Here is what I’ve completed so far in the garden and I’m pleased with the results:

This is part of my new garden bed that I added in May of this year.  I gave this bed a really good layer of the rich organic matter, since my natural soil is a heavy clay.  Everything has done pretty well here this year. The Purple Fountain Grass (along the fence)  is really stealing the show at the moment.  I like the way the wind catches the plumes & gives the garden some life.  Susie from Digging in the dirt asked me to post a picture of my Blackeyed Susan vine.  It has really started to cover the TV Antenna trellis.   I ordered seed for the white variety for next year.  The white post in the lower right corner is the frame to my swing.  It’s a nice place to sit & look at the garden after the sun goes down. 

In this picture you can see the entire corner of this new bed.  Some plants that have really done well here are the Salvia ‘Mystic Spires’ (to the left), the purple Angelina (in the front), and the Purple Fountain Grass.  I also have some spring blooming plants & bulbs such as Daffodils, Crocosmia, Alliums and Candytuff plant here too.  I still need to clean up the edge of this bed & mow.  The Clematis on the trellis & Periwinkle in the hanging pots give the shed wall some interest.  I’m considering painting the shed a warm shade of tan to match the siding on my house.  It may help blend it in with the garden too. 

This last shot shows the part of the new bed that runs along the fence and connects with the existing Hydrangea bed.  The Forever & Ever Hydrangeas are not happy here and will be moved into a partial shade area this fall.  The ‘Black Adder’ Hyssop & ‘Miss Huff’ Lantana seem to be perfectly content in this hot & dry area of the garden.  I also will plant some daylillies & Liatris here to replace the Hydrangeas.  I think the mixture of orange & purple will be a vibrant accent next year.  Well this is what I’ve completed so far, I still have 2 more beds in the back to complete and 5 to complete up front.  Wish me luck!  :)