03 July 2008

Oli and the Hostas and the Pavers

Last summer I labored many days in the yard to lay this lovely row of pavers. That was my first major attempt to reclaim the yard. We spent the first four years making sure the house didn't fall apart inside, and the outside was neglected a bit.

So, Mom and I reclaimed these cement paving blocks from the cabin, where they used to surround the swimming pool. This reclaiming is an ongoing process. Basically, I think we had the idea that if we just went down there, cleared the brush, brambles, weeds, and other objects, we would just start hauling these things home. Well. Not quite. It is hard work, and we have realized we must do the work early in the spring before things start to grow. Like the wild raspberry brambles. And poison ivy. Learned that the hard way. Also, it has to be warm enough to work, but still cool enough that we can keep long pants and long sleeves on, and too cold to encounter snakes. Ew. So. Early spring. Temps in the 50s. Not raining. Really narrows down the amount of time we can spend on this project.

This year we had a good rhythm down and I think we put in about three solid weekends of work pulling pavers before it got too warm. Hence the no posting in March. I think we brought enough home for my next project (the back yard, near the apple trees, more on that later). John was nice enough to bring a large load in his truck, so they all arrived at once. Sure beats 12 at a time, which is how we brought them home last year. I don't think the VW Golf can handle much more weight than that. So many small trips last year. When I ran out at home, Oli and I would hop in the car, drive to the cabin, load up, and come home. Of course, everything takes longer with Ol along. He will insist on being let out at the cabin. So many good smells in the woods.

Anyway, I snapped these last year when I had finished my first long run. The pavers serve a double purpose: the line where the grass ends and the flowers begin, and they make a good mowing strip.
I was very proud of this flower bed. The hostas were from the POs, and I'm told they are impossible to kill.
But leave it to me. There were five last year, but only two came up this year. That's about all I started with this year. Then we came up with a plan, did the prep work, and planted the seeds. By mid-May, it looked like this.
See, the biggest problem with direct sowing seeds is that it is hard to tell if what is coming up is a plant or a weed. Until it is too late. One of my gardening books has this lovely piece of wisdom:

"If it pulls out easily, it was a valuable plant. If it is tough, it is a weed."

So true. This bed was almost overtaken with stuff that didn't belong. Luckily, it was mostly grass. Some crabgrass, and clover. I really have no problem leaving the clover, once the other stuff is established, but it was smothering the nasturtiums, and the liatris never did come up. As far as I can tell. But the cosmos is pretty hearty, and came up in force.

I didn't take a picture of this bed when it was overtaken with grasses, but trust me, it was, and it looks a lot better now. I promise to try to keep after it now.

Today, it looks like this:
The cosmos are about to bloom. My replacement hosta has perked up.

And the nasturtiums are filling out nicely, with a few blooms aready, too!

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