Backyard Update 2013

I haven’t posted in a long time about our backyard, which is a never-ending project in itself. Sometimes we feel annoyed by it, just the mowing and weeding, and how the plants never stop growing and wood never stops rotting, and its constant maintenance, it can be a bit much. In reality though we love our backyard so so so much. Its our own private (we are so lucky that neither of our neighbors looks into our backyard!) oasis. Our little peaceful nook of beauty that we have worked so hard on. I wouldn’t say either Mr. Gaunt and I are huge gardeners, or outdoor people, but we have put in honest work to our backyard, and we are proud.

Before and Afters are always fun, so I take you back to when we very first moved in, two years ago:

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And to this year, June 2013:

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Now obviously the difference between March and June is pretty substantial here in the PNW, but you get the idea.

A few more Before and Afters for yah, before I let you know what we have going on in our yard this year.

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As you can see we removed some of the garden beds and planted grass. I wish our neighbors would have painted the side of their garage that’s in our yard. We have debated planting bamboo along the whole side there, but I worry it would become unmanageable like some of the bamboo I have seen in our neighborhood.

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The progression of this bed went from a disgusting mess of Morning Glory and Hops, which we had to chemically treat to permanently remove all the MG. Last year it sat empty with a few potted plants in it (and just yard mess), as I wanted to wait a whole year after chemically treating it to plant anything in it. This year we amended the soil and put our one major garden there. So far it seems to be thriving! Next year we may need to replace the boards along the bed as they are getting a little worn out.

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When we first moved in, this bed had 100 year old looking blueberries bushes in them. I was so excited, but alas they never grew at all. Last year I ripped them out and planted sweet peas in them. This year I amended the soil and planted more sweet peas (which are sadly not doing well), purple potatoes (that had already been living there, I saved them when I amended the soil) and all my squash, which I’m sure will take over the whole bed and spread across the yard, but that’s ok with me.

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There isn’t a huge change between last year and this year. The grass is nicer in June than March, and we cleaned up a little. It’s so easy to start piling up potted plants and tools and furniture, its important to keep your yard nice and not just a dumping ground for stuff.

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Obviously the patio looks way different from two years ago. More recently the crazy creeping time has gotten very thick, and we have some new to us patio furniture and such. This was absolutely the best thing we did for our backyard, we love it so much.

Now onto just a ton more photos of our current yard:

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I planted a lilac tree right outside the nursery window this year. It will be really special to smell the blooms next spring while rocking my baby. Plus its a sweet little reminder of how we grew this lilac and our baby at the same time.

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Don’t forget the Raspberries. I over trimmed them a little last year, so they aren’t quite as crazy as they were last year, but still very hearty and filled with berries that will be ripe so soon!

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As adorable as this tin planter is, I don’t think the strawberries really like it that much, Oh well.

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When people try to convince me that Morning Glory is beautiful, I should show them this photo. It’s so insane and wild and evil I just don’t even know what to do with it. The only REAL way to kill it is with chemicals. Ugh.

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This apple tree was a stick in a pot alone in the yard when we moved in. I planted it here in 2011, and it has grown just a little bit. Last year we got one apple, hoping for a few more this year. It seems happy and healthy. No bugs.

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This years we let this bed grow over and just mowed it down. Next year we may add some grass seed to it too. We decided what was best for us was to reduce the sheer quantity of gardens so we didn’t feel so overwhelmed. Next year I picture a baby pool here for the summer! Eeek!

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Grapes going strong! Every year I cut them back a ton, and every year they go crazy again. There basically all that is holding that fence up. This year we priced out the cost of a new fence, and realized we didn’t want to drop a grand on a house we rent…yeah. Maybe when we buy it….some day…maybe.

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So that is the 2013 backyard tour! Sorry for so many photos, but there is a lot going on back there! We hope to haveĀ  a few BBQs there this summer too when the weather gets a little nice.

 

 

 

 

When Spring Comes

I love spring.

Mostly I just love the light at the end of the tunnel. The mud drying up, the trees budding, all of it. It makes me motivated and happy, and ready for NEW and CLEAN!

Sad thing is, it’s only February 11th, it’s still like a month and a half until winter is over, but I see the signs! There are most definitely Crocus sprouting up in my yard, and the sun has been showing its beautiful self more often these days (even though everyone says it’s not gonna stay) and I am taking full advantage of it!

On Friday my mom, Mr. Gaunt and I went to the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. It’s a huge yearly convention for gardening, I’ll blog about it probably tomorrow. Anyway we bought a few awesome new gardening tools, and today I decided to use the morning sun and put those new tools to work.

I wont lie, the summer burned me out on gardening, and we have hardly touched the yard since we got married. Needles to say, it looked like crap. So today we did the following:

-Raked all the pine needles and weird pine cones off the front lawn.

-Weeded the front beds.

-Dug up the 3 gross rose bushes from the front beds.

-Hacked back the big nasty corner bush (we need to rent a chainsaw to get the stump out)

-Edged the sidewalk

-Cleaned up the porch

-Pruned to side roses and cleaned up the brush

-Pruned our big evergreen tree.

On top of the front yard we also did a ton of work to the NASTY back yard. It was kind of a disaster. There was like old dead plants, wedding milk glass succulents everywhere, rotting pumpkins, garbage, oh lordy, embarrassing!

Things we did:

-Weeded all the beds, and completely cleared out the larger center bed. We actually have plans to lay grass over this bed this spring (more on this later)

-Cleaned up the mess of wood my brother left when he moved out.

-Transplanted all the Succulents from their Milk glass into their barrels, and drilled drainage holes in said barrels.

-Pruned the grapes.

-Pruned and tied up our prim rose-bush on the fence.

-Cleared out old dead Morning Glory vines from the fence.

-Threw away garbage, leftover pots, and other such nastyness.

-Hosed down the patio

-Hacked back the old dead blueberries (this will also be removed when we rent the chainsaw)

So yeah, the yard is looking way better. I mean, November-May everyone’s yard looks like muddy crap, but at least it’s cleaned up now, and we have a good start for Spring. We have some smaller scale plans for the back yard this year, but what we really want is to focus on the front lawn. I’m planning on re-shaping the front beds, edging, mulching, and planting some new shrubs. Also replacing the stepping-stones to new non broken ones. I would also loooove to dump some gravel on the driveway, as it’s a slip and slide mud fest right now, but we can’t afford that.

I also have two big blisters on my thumb, which is the only way you know you worked hard in your yard…duh. (:

 

Yard Work

Nothing too exciting. These are from last weekend when my mom and sister came over and helped us plant more stuff (tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, pumpkins). I also ripped a bunch of the Morning Glory down from the fence and we cleaned up the back corner a little.

Our Poppy finally bloomed!

Eating weird brocolli that didnt really grow

 

I think I prefer plants that produce more than one item (like squash over lettuce) and plants that come back every year like fruit.