Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Best Jobs Pay With Joy Not Money

Over the last two years I have written many, many stories about my gardening experiences – failures and successes. I believe strongly that if a person has a desire to make this world a better place then they must ‘touch the Earth’ and what better way than digging and planting in your garden!

It’s been a great pleasure for me to create the flowerbeds and vegetable gardens in my new home. I’ve found that most of the work simply involves me thinking about the plants that already exist here and determining if they should stay where they are or if they should be moved to find happier homes in my yard. In 99% of the cases I’ve moved the plants into more suitable locations.

Here’s one small gardening adventure to share with you…

This is how this area of my garden looked when I first examined it this Spring. I may not know the name of the bush near the bottom of the photo, but I do know that I’m not its biggest fan. It grows a bit like a vine and I simply didn’t want it here – taking up space from other flowers I wanted to grow here. I dug it up and moved it to the side of my house where it can grow crazy and be happy. The patio stones simply cover the ground and waste this space. I removed them, placing them in storage until I can find a better use for them. The bush that flowers with yellows in the Spring is too close to the fence and it looks squishy here, so I removed it and found it a new home where it can spread out a bit more.

I’m not sure where the small cedar tree came from - my yard is surrounded by cedars so I decided that I just didn’t want it. I transplanted it (guerrilla gardening style – LOL!) to the outer edge of a nearby community tree lot.

So… now that this space is relatively empty now, what should I do?

On the other side of my yard, there’s a small flower garden. You can see the dead growth of three tall clumpings of some kind of flower.

I cut off the dead stalks and cut each clump into four separate chunks. Whenever I split plants I always split through the middle to make ‘pie’ shaped pieces. This allows each new chunk to still have a part of the main root in it.

I transplanted all 12 of these smaller flower chunks to create a wall of flowers along my side of this fence. I filled in a large area in front of this ‘wall’ with more Day Lilies that my friend at work let me dig out of his garden. The other three plants were added for variety and for me to learn more about them. I’m not sure what they’re called – I know a little about one of them – so I figured that this would be a great way to learn… by watching them grow!

After a couple of weeks, this garden is beginning to fill in and look great!

These are the reasons for my desire to plant a ‘wall of green’. My neighbour’s dogs are nice and friendly; they always come to say ‘hello’ whenever I go into my backyard, but sometimes they will sit and stare at me for long periods. I’m hoping that this ‘wall’ will cut down on their stares. I get rather embarrassed easily – ha ha!

Now… this wall of green will grow and later in the season it will flower, with the flowers being at the top of the plant, but I have an experiment that I want to try. Have you ever noticed that if you have dandelions or clover in your lawn that they will still flower even though the plant has been cut short many times? That’s the idea that I’m experimenting with. When these plants get to be about 18” high I’m going to prune them in a unique way. The part of the plant that is closest to the fence will be left alone. The next part of the plant will be trimmed four inches shorter. As the plant fills into my yard I will progressively prune more steps into it, about four inches for each step. I’m hoping that (like the clover) each part of the plant will still flower. Since the plant will be cut into a step-like fashion, I’m hoping that the entire plant – from bottom to top – will fill with flowers. My ‘wall of green’ could become a wall of flowers! We’ll have to wait and see how this works out!

This photo shows more of this entire area. The area near the bottom of the photo was sparsely filled with a few hostas, so I simply split them all and replanted them so that this entire area will now be filled with many more flowering hostas. Oh! Did you notice the flowering yellow bush in the background?

As I mentioned, this bush needed to have more space to grow, so I moved it to this area. This round space was like this when we moved in – with a dead tree in it – so I decided to make a few improvements.

I pruned the yellow flowering bush and then transplanted it. It’s important to remember to create a trough around the bush’s base so that when I water it, the water stays concentrated in one area and doesn’t flow away with the slope of the ground.

Then, I added a lot of other flowers. I won’t see too many flowers this year, because the roots, bulbs and tubers need to heal… but next year I will witness an explosion of colourful flowers. I’ve added orange and yellow Day Lilies, Daffodils, Tulip, a hosta and another plant that I’m curious about. They all flower at different times of the year so this area should always have a little colour on the grow!

This is what this area looked like two weeks ago. Next year, the bush will fill in with more flowers, too – this year it’s healing.

I always have a bit of fun with my camera on ‘macro’ settings… especially when the flowers are so small.

All the flowerbeds that I’ve been building and working with already existed – for the most part – before we moved in. My veggie garden will be a long process in creating, as I have to remove the lawn and so on before I can plant. I’m experimenting with blending my flowers with my vegetables. This is the beginning of my veggie patch. I thought that it would look nice having a decorative area at the one end – filled with flowers – with the rest of the area filling in with things for my belly!

As you can imagine, I have a lot of work ahead of me so that I can have this garden ready for planting – in a little less than a month’s time.

So, if you’ll please excuse me, I’ve got some more digging to do…


No comments: