My place in the sun!!!

All spring I have been looking for a space to capture a little sun when I want to be outside.  I have this lovely area that's like a courtyard. It's protected on one side by the house, another side by the fence and on the last side by the deck . It not only captures  sun. it shields me from the wind. If you look closely you can see I have a tiny table and two chairs there.  It is this area that I "really work" potting, dividing, mixing  soil and fertilizer.  The green bin for yard waste and the composting bin are in this area. It is also where I just sit and think and plan.  And now and then I fuss in my treasured raised beds.  This small area is my paradise on earth.

The long narrow area in the left front was all red rock when we moved in but I planted rhubarb, lavender, perovskia, and sage right in the rock.  I also have all my pots of succulents there for the summer.  All seem happy.

But now the dog days of summer are here and we are at least a a month of 90 + days and I am looking for a place in the shade and find there's very little shade in my new garden The only place is a relatively narrow strip along the fence so I will have to put at least one bench there. Luckily I brought along all my scraps of iron and metal now I have to bring some wood to make the benches.  In the meantime I may have to find a box to sit on here.

  I have just the pieces in mind. This piece has been around so many years I can't remember where or why I bought it.. Someone painted part of it and I was going to remove that so it will be all rust.  It looks like an old headboard but the way it is constructed will make it tricky to attach to wood..  winter/rainy day project for sure.

Also it's a possibility of having a small table and chairs in the far corner right near the thicket,  I'll have to keep that in mind when I'm planting that area and leave a small space I can tuck in a tiny table and one or two chairs. It is only about four foot square and right now I'm using this area as a temporary spot for plants waiting for their permanent spot.

At the farm the small  deck in the front was a great place to sit in January/February when the sun was shining because you were up against the wall and protected from the wind,  I have similar place here on the south side of the house that is somewhat protected by the wind by the deck and captures the full sun against that big wall.   I've always wanted to build an "alcove" bench so this may be the opportunity.  The nice thing about having a small garden that every thing you do makes a big impact.


Hooray for the garage//

When I started looking for a new house for us I thought we could get along if necessary with just a carport since we would only have one car.  How wrong I was!! The place we bought not only has a garage, it is a double garage and even more important it is an oversized double garage.  I don't know how I would get along without it. I am adding a skylight and extra overhead lights.
 There was a workbench already there but it was built by a man who was about six foot five. The top of the bench hits me about mid-chest and would be impossible to work on for me without standing on a stepstool.  Initially I thought I could lower it but it is built too sturdily   to try to take apart. But it is right height  for my drill press and my radial arm saw and  I can use all the storage below and I'll add a pegboard above soon. 
 So I built another workbench my size in the other corner of the garage and it is wonderful. I got to bring almost all my favorite tools and have used it and used it and used it already.    Slowly but surely I'm getting all my tools unpacked and finding a spot for everything.
Years ago I went to an auction of a supermarket that was closing and one of the things I bought were two rolling racks from the bakery department.  I had them in the barn and they were the most useful thing ever for storage because they were mobile. So when we were moving I'm brought them along not sure where I'd put them but they are in the garage and they are keeping the things I don't use all that often  like my big KitchenAid mixer, my bread machine, the ice cream maker , the paper cutter  and my specialty baking pans plus extra cleaning supplies.
Another thing I brought along where a lot of the  bins that I had sewing stuff in.  They were all empty now   but I built a shelf for them and I'm sure as time goes by they will fill up and I will be glad that I brought them.


A tree for Morris!!

Most of the houses in this community have a tree in their front garden and most of the residents have small dogs which they walk around the community at least once a day so all the trees are well anointed with dog urine and all trees are eagerly sniffed on every round.  We are one of the few houses without this feature and so Morris can hold his head (and leg) high with pride I planted his very own tree which was a start from a friend.

I have it protected with chicken wire until it can hold its own against the dog traffic.

There is one house on our street with BOTH a lamp post and a tree. It is the only lamppost on our street.   Dogs get so excited they are not sure which one to pee on first.  And with these two great status symbols, this owner does not even have a dog!!!!

It will take a while but eventually Morris's tree will be lovely.  And what tree is appropriate for Morris.... a dogwood tree of course!!


The BIG project

When I say BIG!!! it is not so much in size but in the massive amount of effort it has morphed into.  I wanted the side garden to be a spot for my collection of peonies...rather a simple straight forward project in the  beginning. 

 I started digging out sod and digging out sod and am finally seeing there might be an end of digging but until the end of summer of the sifting. Same technique with saw and sifting soil except there is just so much of it. It was going to be a small patch on the side of the house and I was going to have the gate moved over eight feet.

The fence company wanted $850 to move the gate so I reversed the way the gate opened, enlarged the size of the bed and added a path.

 The reason it is taking so long to finish is our farm has not sold.  Several people have been interested and even made offers but when the house inspection is done they back away.....so I am watering, spraying, and weeding at both the new house AND at the farm.  We are selling it as is and it is 116 years old and of course it has "issues." And the virus lockdown has added to all the delays... I try not to think about it  before I go to bed as I only fret all night.

On a brighter note is this bit of green.  I took a root cutting from a rose at the farm at the beginning of April and had thought it was never going to sprout but 4 months later this bit of leaf has shown itself....cause for celebration.


long narrow bed

The first grass I dug out was the long narrow piece by the fence.  I use the same technique on removing all the sod.  I cut a grid with the reciprocating saw and take it out with a spading fork. Then I remove any dirt clinging to the grass sift it, and mix it with perlite, potting soil and some dirt from the farm. I sit on the green chair and do it in the evening.

It is filling in nicely and really is a spring bed except for daylilies.  I have added all spring bloomers such as hellebores. doronicum, yellow ranunculus, dwarf iris,  alliums, and lots and lots of daffodils.  Next year it should fill In almost solid.

You can see in this shot how well most of the clematis are scrambling up the fence...some faster than others but all have survived so far.


Had help planting from birds and squirrels

In the winter when we moved here I could see all these small trees between our fence and the post office fence.  There is only about the space of 12-15" between the fences.  I had no idea what they were and how they got there.

But when spring came they were covered with blossoms and smelled heavenly.  Now they are leafed out and covered with little blue berries and alive with birds.  They are serviceberry trees and must have been planted by the birds. If you look closely you can see how nicely my new clematis are growing.  At the last count I have planted 28 clematis along the fence and they will eventually be a wall of blooms each year.

But not only were the birds busy the squirrels were also.. About a block away are several walnut trees and neighbors find walnuts buried everywhere.  And again between the fences behind our house is a young walnut about 8-10 years old and only a squirrel would plant a walnut tree in such an inhospitable spot.

When I started cleaning around and under the deck I not only found buried walnuts I found three that had sprouted and on their way to becoming trees. 

We  put up a bird  feeder for sunflower seeds when we moved in and also a birdbath so  are so pleased to be well on our way to a bird haven.  Today I put up a wren house and it will be ready and waiting for spring....


Obelisk Saga

I had this iron obelisk for the years and tried to grow sweet peas, honeysuckle and clematis on it with no success.  I moved it anyway to the new house and "never say die Gerry" is trying once again.  I decided on a spot  for itand was going to put a circle of geraniums around the base.
But when the circle was dug it wasn't in proportion with the height of the obelisk so I enlarged the circle and still planted the geraniums around the outside and medium tall favorite perennials around the  base.
Everything has lived but it will be next season before it all starts to come together.
 The perennials I planted were iris, daisies, achillea, veronica, salvia and perennial oregano "Herrenhausen"    The geranium is a dainty small leaved mounding one that blooms profusely and remained very tidy.  Unfortunately I can't remember the variety. I planted the clematis Rosalyn and some perennial sweet peas at the base and both are doing nicely....in fact the clematis has some blooms and eventually engulf the obelisk. 
 Lots of plants I moved went into any odd place because I just couldn't get beds ready fast enough.  I have a lovely old iron gate (when I decide where to put it) that will eventually be the host to the perennial sweet peas which will be replaced here with a taller blue perennial at the base to shade the clematis roots.
I am having great difficulty with the camera on my new phone.  I didn't even want a new phone but my old one became obsolete.  I can't figure out how to downsize photos on this new phone and also they do not transfer as easily as my old phone.  No place yet to set up old computer for photo editing and even the new computer is telling me that it too will soon not be supported. When you're old and not going to live a whole lot longer your stuff should just hang in there with you until the end.


Anyone there? and a new project....

It's been so long since I posted I'm not sure anyone is still out there to read it but I will try to catch up over the next few posts.

Things on the new house pretty much came to a standstill when the weather was nice enough to start moving plants from the farm and every time I go I move more.  But now it is getting  too hot to garden most of the day and I am about to get back to an inside project....namely my stained glass divider. Now this was to be the WOW feature in my new house so off I go.  I don't really have a firm plan in place and it will evolve as most of my endeavors do.

 I did graph out how the pieces have to fit together. There will be seven or eight.  I found another piece at the farm today. I will try to work it into the design.

The larger space across the top of the graph is by far  my oldest and favorite piece of stained glass.  I held by breath getting it over here and it is wrapped in a quilt under my bed.  It is about 4 feet long....and fragile

I just love to repurpose things and to be able to repurpose something in to its third life is really special.  I built  shallow shelf units about 30 years ago and we used them for display and a backdrop in our booths at flower shows.  They had shutters attached then. Still with shutters I used them for years as storage in my studio.  This spring I used the shutters in the new house and was left with the shelf units with the back screen still attached.

Today I disassembled them to use as the framework for the stained glass divider.  I had forgotten I had used metal strapping and about 125 screws to attach screen to the back of each of them.  This was originally fencing wood so rustic and so now it is rustic with a lot of holes.  It took all day to get 250+ screws out but I have a nice pile of wood....twice what you see here. I haven't a clue what the bottom section will be and how I will stabilize it but I shall forge ahead anyway.

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