Saturday, May 11, 2013

Progress is Messy--An Honest Look at the Garden

We have approximately 50 people coming to our house in August.  They're staying in tents and RVs and in every available space in our home.  To accommodate the influx of family, there will be a large outdoor dining tent, hay bale seating, an outdoor shower, and of course, port-a-potties.  It will be an experience, to be sure.

Two years ago when we volunteered to be reunion hosts, we made a long list of things we'd like to have done by August of 2013.  We had all the time in the world.  Now it's only 3 months away and of necessity, our list has become more realistic--and mostly it involves finishing and cleaning up what we've already started.

But before I show you the messy, I'll show you the cool.  Three years ago Lyle built the wisteria walkway.  We bought two new large wisteria vines for the entry of the arbor, transplanted two that had been continually hacked back because we'd put them in too small an area--those went in the middle, and then planted a tiny wisp of a vine at the end.

The tiny wisp is slowly making its move, the transplanted vines are full of foliage but as yet have no flowers, and the two we'd put in the entry have had a few blink-and-you'll-miss-them flowers over the years.  But this year.....

oh be still my heart.

I never knew wisteria smelled so heavenly.  

Or could be so magical.

It will truly be something when the whole arbor is covered with blooms.  
I'm sure I'll get nothing done inside.

I love how from the front porch it's framed by the lattice window Lyle made.

And speaking of gardens in this hodge-podge of a post, do you see the not-so pretty hillside behind the arbor?  Well, it's been a bit of thorn in my side for the 9 years we've been in our house.  It's precarious to mow, it doesn't grow grass well anyway, and without irrigation, it's a brown weedy mess every summer.  But I've always thought that this negative could easily become a positive.  I've earmarked many photos of what I'm envisioning--a rock garden (using the huge rocks we already have on our property), and filled with drought tolerant plants that will cover the ground completely.

Something like this.

The problem is, our hillside runs the length of our property and fronts the road.  I've struggled with where I start and stop and how I can shield the road from the property without ruining a view we have to the west.

You see my dilemma?

Finally, after 9 years of pondering the options, I called a professional.  She immediately offered thoughts and suggestions and we've drawn out a plan.  In the plan, we've also included something Lyle's wanted from day one in our house--a waterfall cascading down the hill.  As much as he wanted it, I was against it.  Our landscape designer convinced me that I'd love the water feature, and so that's happening also, most likely at the end of the month.

And so now onto the messy.......

This will be seriously amazing, but right now, it's not quite family reunion ready.   Lyle's built the arbors and fencing and they'll weather to a silver-gray like our other arbors.  The raised planting beds are done, and potatoes, strawberries, herbs, corn, and tomatoes have been planted.

This is looking from the strawberry beds toward the barn.  The brick walkways may or may not happen before August.

Each arbor will have a gate--the large one will have two gates that meet in the center.  The gates will curve and mimic the curved arches in the upper corners.  This one leads to the compost bins.

And this one leads to the pasture.  The curved pieces on the left side show where Lyle will drop down the fencing.  I love the barn and didn't want the fencing to cover it, so we're making a plan modification.

And if I'm really going for honesty here, I'd step back and let you see that I have a sink sitting in my yard.  At least it's not a toilet.
Lyle plans to install the sink in the garden for washing off vegetables before they come in the house--a suggestion from the landscape designer.

And even though the sink was a great idea, one of the very best pieces of advice our designer gave us was that we should add irrigation directly into each one of Lyle's concrete forms.  She said it would be a shame to have hoses draped all over what will eventually be a really cool garden.  I'm so glad we followed that advice and we can now easily manage each individual bed and use our water more efficiently.

Something that IS done, which we've loved, is the pickle ball court.  Lyle finished the trellis and we've planted it with clematis armandii which will eventually shield the propane tank and cover the wire trellis.  We'd moved the basketball hoop last year and expanded the concrete and just finished painting the court.

I'm still peeling from the sunburn I got in the process.

The line of compact strawberry trees will eventually form a hedge to screen the court from the driveway.

And it will also be screened by our orchard, which is looking pretty spindly right now.  Lyle did finish the swing set and we installed the trampoline, both of which have been getting lots of use.
Because as cool as wisteria is, it can only hold a 5 year-old's interest for so long.

And I guess I can't say this area is completely done....
Do you see the pipe coming out of the ground on the ride side of the trellis?  And a slab of concrete with a circle in the middle?  Lyle's making a water fountain.
Great idea, but again, it's in progress.


And over on the wisteria walkway, despite the gorgeous flowers, you'll also find various not-so-aesthetically-pleasing buckets of rocks.  This is Lucy's summer job--she's filling in cracks with rock mosaic.  It will look great--eventually--the operative word in all our projects.

But we are progressing, and at least for us, progress is always messy.

I look forward to the day when the pictures on the computer will match the pictures I have in my head!