a less controversial garden post?

June 2, 2008 at 6:31 pm 11 comments

Man, you guys are tough! But, you’re largely right: our garden is small. That’s what happens when you live IN THE CITY. It’s tricky. So we turned to Mel, but it looks like none of you are big fans of Mel’s technique.

Seriously, though, I am a little doubtful that we will grow anything at all this summer. If the garden is anything like Jason’s compost bin, he’s going to forget all about it in 2 weeks (hopefully the garden won’t turn as stinky as the compost bin has). And, we all know that I am far too lazy busy to go out there and water the garden.

But now that you’ve all commented, I secretly hope we get the best yield ever. Because, ha! That would show you. Right?

(Jason says: I have yet to eat anything grown by your mom! Or uncle Brian and aunt Jackie! And that translates roughly to: who are they to tell me how to garden? Although, now that I think about it, he has never eaten anything grown by Mel, so how do we know whether this by-the-square-foot technique will work?)

Anyways, even though you’ve all ripped on our garden, I’ll risk more criticism in order to bring the world pictures of our other planting beds. Over the weekend, we bought some 4″ x 8″ x 12″ tumbled concrete blocks and created a cute little hops garden, and began construction on a raised bed next to the brick patio.

Remember this?

Well, we got rid of the extra dirt, and lined the garden, as mentioned earlier. Here’s Jason, hard at work

And, in case you missed it, Barley totally helped:

Jason planted some hops, put up some twine, and put down landscaping cloth to block out the weeds. Now it looks like this:

Do you remember this?

Well, we started putting up what will be a little retaining wall. (We still have to go back and get more stones… at 24 lbs a piece, we’re nervous about putting any more than 24 in the camry). Here’s what it looks like now (note that it is still not done):

Here is what I need from you, faithful blog readers:

1. I need perennial clippings! Because now that we’ve done all this brick work, there’s not much left in the budget to buy plants! So, please, if you’re dividing those perennials and have some extras, feel free to just save them for me! Or, maybe if you’re real lucky, I could even help!

2. I need advice on what to plant in these beds (ahem, Mandy). The hops garden gets sun from about 11am-dusk (its facing West), and is about 7′ x 17′. The bed along the fence gets sun from mid-morning (10-11am-ish) to late afternoon (3-4pm-ish), is on the North side of a fence, and is about 1′ deep by 21′ long.

Do you like the new homework assignments on the blog? I am so demanding! But you knew that already.


Entry filed under: Garden, Improvements. Tags: , , , .

gardening genetics i’ll have my cake, and eat it, too!

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Debbie  |  June 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    It is Mel’s fault! It seems as if he only has flowers planted in his little squares and not vegetables as you do. Bad Mel!

  • 2. mom  |  June 3, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Oh where to begin….looks like you will need more shade type perennials along Kevin’s fence. Do you have a theme? (because I know you are all about themes~don’t tell me it’s “simple, but elegant”!)

    Ferns for that tropical look; impatiens for the gardener look (although they are annuals and they won’t get very high); buddhas for that oriental look! That might be a nice area to do flowers and annuals since your patio is right there and you may want it to stay more manicured and have flowers blooming all summer. Perennials can look messy at certain points in the season and they generally bloom for a limited time. You could use a few tall, narrow items in there or how about a fountain…one of those flat wall things?

  • 3. Uncle Brian  |  June 3, 2008 at 7:36 am

    I’m sorry for my comments, I should have been nicer about your garden. We may be copying you and Mel come next spring.
    I absolutely LOVE the cobblestone edging that you did. It looks FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! Would it be all right if I copy what you copied from your mother? That didn’t sound nice, I’m sorry, again.

  • 4. Mandy  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I’m still thinking over ideas. (I forgot to bring my Western Garden Manual with me to work…)

    My initial thought it is that, with the size of the bed and your lighting conditions, that would be a cute little run for daylilies. I don’t know how you feel about daylilies. Stella D’Oros have been way overused in public landscapes (they’re the small, yellow lilies you see everywhere). But there’s a good reason for that — they’re virtually indestructible and have one of the longest bloom times around (spring to late summer). A few years ago, there was a red version of the Stella D’Oro developed which is named (I think) Ruby Stella.

    If you’re not keen on dayliies, I was thinking of these low-maintenance options with long(er) bloom times:

    Geranium (comes in shades of blue and pink)
    Coral Bells (flowers are not showy; very airy but still pretty)
    Dianthus Pinks (low-growing and fragrant but shorter bloom time)
    Penstemon (taller, pink/purple flowers — think Russian Sage only a bit larger flower. Could get floppy in that narrow space, though)

    Veronica (short little compact spikes with dense flowers in purples, pinks and blues. bloom time is shorter.)
    Yarrow (comes in yellow, orange and pink. long bloom time but has a wild look to it.)

    This is just my preliminary, off-the-top of my head list. I’m sure to come up with more ideas by the end of the day. The good news is, it’s a spot with great light — Northern exposures can be versatile!

    And you can always have a mix of perennials — I’ve just found that they look better when planted in groupings of at least three or five. And be sure to take into account their full growth potential.

    (And I wouldn’t add anything to the hops bed — you want those little suckers to gain all the nutrients from the soil as possible — don’t make them compete wtih other plants. Mostly, you should be focused on getting their roots established this year so that they have a fighting chance of making it through the winter.)

  • 5. Amy  |  June 3, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Jen, I’ve wanted a square-foot garden for three years. Unfortunately, apartment life doesn’t allow gardens even that small. I think your error was going with plants that take over giant gardens…don’t give up! There are plenty of vegetables you can grow in a small space.

    Have you thought about composting?

  • 6. tp  |  June 3, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Oops, didn’t I say you could have some raspberries????

  • 7. D  |  June 3, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Plant corn!
    Hey just cruising the web and found Emmett… I could see him on a pedestal in the middle of the back yard.

  • 8. mom  |  June 3, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    WOW! Can Mandy come and help me with my garden!

  • 9. Jason  |  June 3, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Don’t you people work?

  • 10. GGG GpaCC  |  June 3, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    I think I would have painted that side of the garage before I put up all the ropes!?!? And no Jason I don’t work any more than I have to. So what more is there to do than read Jennifers blog!!!!!!!!!

  • 11. jp  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    @Brian – Don’t worry, if there’s one thing I got from our family, it’s thick skin. And, of course, you can copy what we copied from my parents! But only if you give us proper credit for first stealing the idea and then passing it on.
    @Mandy – YOU ARE A GARDENING GENIUS. We will talk more in the months to come.
    @Mom – Thanks for the advice. Will be home to steal your plants soon.
    @Amy – FINALLY! Someone on Mel’s side! Jason thinks he’s composting, but at this point, I think he’s just keeping a stinky pile of rotting stuff. He also wants to make a rain barrel.
    @Dad – Will Emmett keep the neighbors away? If yes, sign me up!
    @Gpa – What’s that? Did you just say you were coming up here to paint the garage? Awesome! Seriously, though, what’s it with you and my dad criticizing that garage?!? He’s all “rebuild” and you’re all “repaint” – don’t you know a classic beauty when you see one!?!?


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