Good morning and welcome to Garden Week! This will be a fun week of daily garden-related posts – because why not!? We have only been homeowners for three years this summer, so it is still fairly new to us to have a yard of our own where we can do whatever we want! It has been both exciting and intimidating!
When we purchased our home, the flowerbeds and garden areas that were once probably beautiful were overgrown with weeds. The previous owners had completely neglected the yard. This is especially unfortunate when you can tell the yard was once very well cared for. Lucky for us, this did mean that beneath all the tall and prickly weeds were some really lovely plants! We found hostas, lilies, peonies, daffodils…the list goes on!
This past summer we decided to really tackle the yard! My mom loves gardening and thankfully she has been teaching me a lot, starting with how to divide and transplant. The first thing I did was to divide and transplant all the hostas found around our yard. I was finding them in the weirdest places, let me tell you! Now they are all nicely arranged along one side of our house, around a birch tree, and along the back of our house. Once I found out I was pregnant, gardening came to a halt. Morning sickness and gardening are not best friends.
Later in the summer, mid-August, we set about to create a garden area in the backyard. I found a layout I liked in one of my mom’s gardening books and was very excited to try to create something similar! WIth my husband and mom’s help, we got to work! We didn’t purchase any plants but rather took what we found in our yard along with plants from my mom’s extensive landscaping at her house and created our garden. When choosing what plants to use, I focused on creating a kid-friendly garden. This meant a lot of research into finding out which plants were toxic or non-toxic. I am happy to say that the majority of our garden is comprised of non-toxic plants! Definitely puts my mind at ease in case any of our kids get curious when we aren’t looking! I created a garden plan in Photoshop to keep us organized and test out where to place plants. A lot changed from my original plan, but it was helpful to have a place to start!
We started by clearing the weeds yet again! All the work we did in 2013 and the weeds were back and seemed to be bigger!
We then needed to dig up the area. We removed grass, black garden tarp we found beneath the bark chips, and lots of strange pieces of wood. We found bee nests, rhubarb plants – all sorts of stuff! We moved some of the plants we found to different areas of the yard. We chose to pull all of the weeds out by hand rather than use any chemicals. This made things much harder but we felt it was a safer decision, especially because I was pregnant while we were doing this!
This is where we left off last year. We covered our plants for the first few weeks of frost and then hoped they would all survive our cold winter! This spring we were happy to find all of our plants survived, with the exception of six little lavender plants. Our weeds had started to come back, but this time we were weeding in April as opposed to waiting until July/August!
We laid out our path using as many pavers and rocks we got from my mom and from around our yard. We then got together and made special pavers from cement to complete the path.
We decided not to spend the money on mulch this year, so instead we collected pine needles from under our large pines and spread that. Pine needles are a great natural mulch and it adds a nice finish to the area. Once we added the needles, arbor, bench and butterfly art (more on this awesome DIY project later this week), the area really looks inviting and fun!
So there you have it! Definitely one of my longer posts, so if you’ve made it this far, that’s awesome! You can probably tell I am really proud of this garden transformation! My husband and mom helped so much and I learned a lot about gardening. I still have a lot more to learn, but we are fortunate to have my mom’s guidance and a great backyard! Coming up this week are a couple great DIY project tutorials and some free printables, so stop on by tomorrow!