Posted by Rebecca, May 23rd, 2011
On Saturday the clouds finally parted for long enough for us to work on part of our spruce-up-our-landscaping project. We had some plans in the morning, then we headed straight to a local garden center to load up our car with whatever we could fit. We decided to tackle the front for now and we could only fit enough plants for one side of the front. We planned to go back to pick up a couple more shrubs for the other side, but we ran out of time.
First, I finally got to set foot on our patio!
My shoes were super muddy at one point and I actually walked around the patio. Yes, I did not want to get dirt on my patio. We admired it for a bit, then back to work it was.
The word work is an understatement actually. We have the hardest soil ever. Ever. I’ve never said this before because I’ve never had a house before and have never dug holes in the ground before. I knew I hated doing it last year and that many of our plants and portions of our sod died due to the lack of “hearty” soil (a lawn guy who knocked on our door told me that once). But when a team of concrete guys in business for 30 years told us we had the hardest soil they’ve ever seen, we were like hey! we’re not weak cry babies afterall!
I’d describe this “dirt” as peanut butter that was put in the freezer for 2 years. It probably didn’t help that it rained all week and this stuff was a million pounds. Mike and I always blamed our orange soil on the fact that our house is new and was once a pile of construction muck.
Yes that puddle is the outline of our house. We do live very near the Delaware River, but our concrete guys were local and I’m sure they would know if our clay soil was a result of that. Basically the builder took all of this muck and flattened it, then landscaped it one day. Most of our plant causalities were because the plants never rooted. I literally pulled them out of the ground in the shape of the pots they were planted in. We really wanted to avoid losing any plants because of this, so we also picked up two bags of top soil to try to mix in with our clay. You know, like on the commercial!
The only plant we picked up that wasn’t for the front yard was a hydrangea. Right after I saw the walkway leading onto our patio and the curve it produced, I knew I wanted to plant a hydrangea. We decided to get one on Saturday because I knew it would be a rainy week and hydrangeas require a lot of water to get established (hydra… get it? okay a garden center employee told me that last year). Thankfully, larger plants weren’t so bad to dig because we could use the big, leverage friendly shovel.
Here’s the pretty curve from the other side, complete with baby hydrangea.
We mixed lots of topsoil in with this guy to make sure he gets established. The tag said he’d grow to 3 feet wide, so we tried to make sure he had enough room to fill out that curve nicely.
We eventually plan to make this whole side of the walkway into a garden bed with river rock and mulch, but for now we have a random hydrangea planted in our grass. And it looks like a giant weed.
Here are the hydrangeas we planted early last year, who survived a heat wave and a winter full of blizzards. They are planted underneath our bay window and will hopefully fill in nicely some day. This picture was taken on April 8th.
And on Saturday!
The one on the right has really taken off and is ready to bloom!
Hopefully the backyard hydrangea will do just as well in our clay muck as its buddies.
Okay enough about the hydrangeas, next we added some day lilies to one of the semi-circles we have in our landscaping. I forgot to take a before, but this area had some small shrubs that died last year.
This area has so much potential and it was just lacking the color and fullness of the landscaping on the driveway side of the house. We also decided to take this bush that remained by the walkway (it’s 2 buddies died) and replant it over here in the back.
It still needs some work but it’s looking better already.
Hopefully these day lilies, which are reddish orange, will grow in nice and full like the yellow ones we have on the other side.
Next, we had to fill in these holes left from dead/moved shrubs.
We decided to make this area into a place for some seasonal flowers. We have areas on the other side where we planted some summer flowers and some mums last year, but no where on this side to balance them. We picked up some orangey flowers that resembled wildflowers since Saturday marked 3 years since we lost Sunny. Last year we decided to plant some orange flowers on his anniversary weekend and thought we’d do the same this year as a little way to let him know we haven’t forgotten him. We also picked up some tiny purpley white things.
At this point I was shaking like a leaf. Digging all of those little holes, with a little shovel, in dirt that was insanely hard was literally painful. I would rather dig out large plants than do an ice pick type of move to get these little things in. Plus I could not get them to stay straight for the life of me. The purple ones are closer to the walkway than I wanted since I was sitting and they naturally gravitated that way. When I realized this, it had started to rain on me (which felt wonderful!) and Mike tried to comfort me by telling me we could always pick up another flat of these and plant another row in between the purple ones and the orange ones to even it out. The thought of digging 24 tiny holes again is not appealing.
Then the rain came and it forced us to stop right before I collapsed. Though the weather didn’t let us put our patio furniture together, at least it held off long enough to get some gardening done and give our new plants a nice watering! 🙂