Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Green thumbs...and pinkies and palms

We decided to take a little break from indoor renovations last weekend and focus a little bit on the outside portion of our house before it became too cold to even think about going outside. We haven't really shown a lot of our yard, and to be honest, there really isn't much to see other than a lot of overgrown gardens. Just like the inside, the outside has a lot of work to be done. And, just like the inside, we started out not knowing a whole lot about outdoorsy type work, but hauling into it anyway!

Mum and dad had actually come over the weekend before to help us out by tilling up a patch of yard that we're hoping to use as a veggie garden next year. Hopefully the area they tilled up is within our yard's boundries - we measured in a very technical manner that included standing at the end of the driveway and marching around in big steps and counting out loud in very big voices. Once we were happy with our garden area they had to do a lot of raking and digging through a mess of bleeding heart and rhubarb roots. After an entire afternoon filled with visits from neighbourhood dogs, we finally had a garden patch.

This past weekend, TJ and I braved the weather, which had turned really really cold all of a sudden. Sadly, we had no choice as the Waste Watch fall clean up pick up date was the following Monday and our yard definitely needed a clean up. The lady who lived here before was an avid gardener, and actually had some really beautiful gardens full of a huge variety of flowers. One of my favourites was even in there - Lily of the Valley. Sadly, it hasn't been taken care of in the last few years, and everything has just gone haywire. Plants everywhere. And rocks. Lots of rocks. Also leaves. And about 5 million chestnuts, thanks to the giant chestnut tree that stands in prime position to drop every single chestnut into our pathetic garden.

TJ stepped up and took care of one job that I really hate - piling wood.

I was kind enough to help him load it into the truck. After that, he was on his own. And I was on my own to tackle the backyard.

The largest picture is the view off of our deck. The brownish mess that takes up the bottom of the picture is a giant flower bed. It actually doesn't look so bad at this point now that the plants have all died off for the winter. In the summer you couldn't tell what was in there at all, it had just all grown together. After some excavation, we found out that it had actually been built in tiers. Kind of neat. In the other pictures you can see our little garden shed, as well the the view from the back of the yard beside the pine trees.

In this set of pictures, you can see our tilled up veggie garden. Then, clockwise from the top middle we have yet another weird garden under the pine trees, a poppy garden under the windows of our reading porch, the view looking from our backyard up to the street, the side garden under our living room window, and then another garden beside the shed belonging to our neighbours. A little hard to tell what's what if you haven't been to visit us yet.

And a close up of the tiered garden that I was "fixing" this particular weekend. What you can't tell from this picture is that buried under the leaves and chestnuts is an entire garden full of rocks and a large underground city of iris roots that have somehow all grown together to create this root system maze that will eventually have to be completely dug out of the ground in the spring. Not that it matters, because we'll have to dig out all of those giant pieces of wood that are creating the tiers of the garden anyway. Other garden plans include a bulldozer and a bunch of grass seed.

Actually no, maybe that's being a little hasty. I think I'll keep the lily of the valley and the lemongrass plant.

Anyway, it took all day and then another day, but we finally have the garden completely raked and most of the irises are at least sheared down to just the roots. Despite this, it actually looks worse than before. It could be the abandoned wheelbarrow that's been pushed over onto its side in a fit of coldness and frustration, but then again, it could just be the garden. Right now I'm hoping that the snow comes soon and covers it all up so I don't have to think about it until the spring.

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