April 25, 2005 – Trimming, New Herb Garden, Vegetable garden – Garden Journal entry

April 25, 2005

Spring clean-up. Weather was unseasonably warm early this year and the yard is abloom before it’s seasonal. So getting an earlier start this year, as everything in the yard thinks it’s spring in March already.

Trimmed the Harry Lauder Walking Stick tree because it grew new limbs rapidly, and I didn’t trim the shoots that sprouted last summer. Then I went after the wild fushia bush vigorously. I love it and it draws the hummingbirds, but it has grown so much as to consume a large amount of yard space. It is threatening the close-by lilac tree and spreading right into the garden area. Sadly, now, it is but a memory of what it was last year, but it is wild-growing and intended to take up a lot of space.

I’m Sure it will grow back fairly rapidly. I did leave some tall middle branches left over from last year to leave the hummingbirds something for this year. After this summer though, I will trim those back also as there should be enough new growth on the overall bush for next season.

The Lilac tree suffered this year and it has 4 seperate growing trunks. One trunk leaned so far this year, that it was in danger of lying on the ground. I had Sweetie pull it up and another trunk was weakened and came out with it. So there are now 2 trunks left and half the tree it used to be, sigh. But now that it is done, it actually looks better and even more healthy.

The rock garden is growing well and looking very good this year. I’m glad I did that planting last year as it is almost professional looking this year. I need to tend to the one end where the peculiar christmas tree was planted. Overall though, I am most satisfied with the rock garden. So much so, that I’d like to do another one sometime.

Now the hard part, yuck….edging out all the beds and hauling sod. I do this in spurts as it is back-breaking work for me. Ambitiously I have cut and hauled sod out of the entire sidewalk section with an eye towards having a herb garden there. I am so lazy that when I want fresh herbs, I want to walk out the kitchen door, down the steps and have the herb garden right there so I can snip and get back to the stove.

I like the herbs planted around the yard, but once I get outside, I tend to get lost in my wonderment and lose track of time. That doesn’t work well when I’m in the middle of cooking, so a quick run out the door, snip, and back to the kitchen.

For the herb garden, I used some cast off wood strips from the neighbor’s yard to inset areas for planting different varieties of herbs. I put a pathway down the middle, using the mulching set on top of plastic that I pinned down. So far the herb garden has:

parsley (I moved some of the parsley that was growing well where it was..hope it transplants!)

oregano (I had some growing in a container, so transplanted it into the ground)

chives (I transplanted the entire clump, hope it survives)

sage (again, transplanted froma container pot)

rosemary (transplanted from container pot)

lavendar, 2 small plants. It will take them years to get big enough to be a problem.

creeping thyme (a new tiny pot plant)

marigolds for color

eunyomis (gold and green varieties. These are creeping ground covers of evergreen genisis and might not have been wise to plant in herb garden. But I hope to contain them as sidewalk border edging..we’ll see)

mint In container pots as I hear mint grows rapidly and takes over and is wise to keep it contained.

catnip, but I didn’t plant it in the herb garden as I don’t want our cat, Lance bothering the other herbs. I planted the catnip in a side bed along the brick wall. Lance, an older cat, enjoys the catnip and gets all goofy playing around with it. Treat for the cat!

last year’s plantings of flowers, perennials, and not sure what will come back this year, so whatever does is a bonus to the herb garden.

I had dug out and hauled sod at that spot out of curiosity as last year when I was doing the flower bed, I kept hitting hard objects (bricks). I was curious to see if there was an entire brick patio underneath, so patiently over many days and weeks dug it all up. There were bricks alright, but not an entire patio’s worth.

Since I now had a big mud patch, I decided to make a pathwalk from the sidewalk to the edge of the yard. I laid down plastic and edged both sides using the bricks and then poured the three bags of lava rock that my daughter had purchased for me last year.

It was intended to make a small walkway to the flower beds using lava rock, but I could never quite figure out the design without interfering with the overall look of the yard. So, this seemed a good use and an experiment worth trying. It looks very handsome so far, and I will need to finish it off now for continuity all the way to the edge of the yard. I will need more lava rock though, and that’s a purchase that will have to wait a bit.

The front of the house, where the Oasis garden is located has a slab of concrete that may have once been a driveway or ??. It has grown over with grass and I was curious about it’s original shape, so I began edging and digging and carting off sod. Sweetie saw me hard at work and came over to lend a hand. When finished, it wasn’t a driveway but a rather incomplete patio.

Some section was finished and smoothed, but other sections were raw and unfinished. I’m not sure what the original intent was, but it is disappointing in that it looks exactly like a project started and left incomplete. Now I have some serious designing to do to disguise the rough outer edges. But otherwise, we have a nice, small patio area, perfect for a little bistro table and 2 chairs and many container pots of flowers.

Okay, now some serious work on the garden bed. It fared well enough over the winter and while there are some weeds, it’s not too bad. So pull, turn, cart off more sod pieces and rake up the bed. The railroad ties that outline the garden bed work well enough, but the natural grass and weeds that insist on growing are encroaching from underneath the ties. So more back-breaking work to dig out all the growth and create beds around the outside of the ties to keep the grass (and weeds) at bay.

Once the garden bed was cleared and turned though, I was able to pour out the compost I’ve been mulching for 2 years and in the spirit of a garden, I decided to go ahead and plant some of the vegetable seeds in seedling containers, using the last of the topsoil bag I had left over from last year.

There was enough soil to plant these seeds:


tomatoes (cherry)




There are seed packets still to plant, but as it is, I am taking a risk to be planting so early as it is only late April now. Yet it has been unseasonably warm, and to wait till May or June, the seeds may become confused than think it is early summer, so I’m taking a risk by going with nature’s intuition this year. I’m taking my cues from the everything blooming and growing early this year and hoping there will be no surprise late spring frosts.

I’ve started edging out one side of the garden railroad ties, and Sweetie came out to help turn the garden bed, but he isn’t much for the edging and pulling out sod work so I’ll be picking away at that for weeks to come. He had in mind a serious pruning job on the front Oasis garden and he really got in there and took down a lot of the overgrowth. In one year that area can sprout some serious wild growth!

Between ivy and natural growing blackberry brambles, that is one area that could go wild easily. He trimmed the seriously mature rhodedendrom back into it’s ‘tree’ shape only this year it looks like Edward Scissor Hands visited the front Oasis and did some trimming. It’s cute…un-natural but cute. The top is too tall now for him to reach, so that will entail getting out a ladder to trim the top.

Well, we are off to a super-early (for us) great start on the yard and gardens this year. I did manage to get the 3 rose bushes planted late last summer, and they seem to be weathering well. One is showing a bud already. These are climbers, and yes, I want to get those old-fashioned trellis ladders for them to climb. I placed those at a rather unfinished part of the house, by the kitchen window.

At one time there had been one of those tall antennae for television and so it was a rather raw spot. Sweetie took the antennae down last year. He actually climbed out of the upstairs bedroom window and walked across the roof to unhook the top holder. He didn’t tell me he was doing so as I would have freaked, but he managed to get it done without falling off the roof.

You have to understand that Sweetie can do a lot of things, but also things happen to him when he is doing so and I’ve learned to get nervous now about the projects he undertakes. He’s not clumsy, really, but he does fall down a lot, or pull muscles a lot, or other odd things that happen to him when he is at work on a project.

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