Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Strawberry Bed Makeover

We created a strawberry bed in the west terraced gardens several years ago and it was lovely.
Then it got overgrown and messy.  You couldn't find the strawberries for the weeds.  The momma plants had long died off and the babies were unruly, no longer in their beds but instead wandering on the paths.
Strawberry bed mess.
First Timothy pulled the irrigation lines up and I (Shannon) pulled out the worst of the weeds.  I  assigned Timothy the hunt and dig up job of locating the strawberry plants that still existed.  Yes, there were quite a few in that mess.  The reason Timothy dug them up was that he isn't as sentimental as I tend to be, I would want to save EVERY SINGLE ONE, while Timothy got the best ones he could find and the rest were raked out with the rest of the weeds.  We might still be working on it if it was done my way.

Timothy hunting for viable strawberry plants.

Shannon staying out of the way by pruning the raspberries.
Knowing my tendency to micromanage, I took myself out of Timothy's way by pruning the 3 raspberry beds on the same terrace.  It needed to be done, I could still help T if needed and I was not nagging him about missing a plant that I can spot at a glance from 20 feet while he steps on it.  I believe that the arrangement worked out well for both of us.

Ready for new soil
He accumulated a whole line of plants while turning the bed back into something that resembled, well, a bed.  Timothy measured the width of the bed and used his trusty string and tent stakes to line out the edge of the berm he was going to create with composted soil.  His experience learned at his job as a surveyor sure comes in handy.  Our original bed had three rows in it but we thought to try out a different layout this time.

Putting in the plants on the new berm.
Once Timothy had wheelbarrowed in the berm I got to work.  He brought me the plants from his pile and I put them back into the ground.  These are all the ones he rescued from the old bed.

Almost finished!
We finished off filling the new bed with strawberries growing in another spot in our yard.  You can tell the difference between the two groups as the other strawberries were bigger plants.  Timothy mulched the paths and I planted some daylilies and sedum in the corners.

Timothy finished off the bed with wood chips from my Dad's workshop.  We didn't have straw, the typical mulch used with strawberries so we improvised.  I don't know if this will work as well, but at least there is a mulch and I hope it will keep the strawberries off the ground and the ants away.  All that empty space along the retaining wall is tempting me to fill it....  I think some annuals are called for here.

Blossoms mean potential future strawberries!

We have been blessed with more than six inches of rain in the last week.  There has been no need to water the plants beyond the first couple of days.  Lots of blossoms have begun to appear and all the plants seem to have taken well to their new home.  I hope for strawberries later this June!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I have been inspired by sweet friends of mine who do a “picture a day” blog and had hoped to produce a similar one for our garden blog.  Enthused,  I faithfully took pictures everyday of last week in the garden until I got to Friday and Saturday.  I was not in the garden those two days and so no pictures.  Sigh... bombed before take off.  Anyway, I did take over a hundred pictures last week so I will share with you last Tuesday's collection of yellow.  While my color palette in the garden tends towards pinks, purples, blues and whites, my spring bulbs and flowers are definitely YELLOW.  Waking up from winter requires great amounts of bright cheerful yellow!  So I hope you enjoy your stroll through my yard's yellows.

Euphorbia (spurge) plant that I started from a cutting from my sister's plant.  I love how the yellow is so subtle and delicate.  These are tiny flowers.

Double Heritage daffodils that I dug up from my Mother-in-law's farm many years ago and planted in my sand dune.  The people who lived on the farm before them planted them all over a hillside.  She let me dig up a clump.  The clumps at the farm are over 25 years old.  I love how they glow in the sunlight.

Forsythia flowers are so pretty against the blue sky.  I have been told that forsythias are overused and are a sloppy bush unless pruned to within an inch of their life.  Perhaps, but I don't mind their sloppiness because that is where all the blooms are and they are glorious in early spring when you NEED color!

Tarda Species Tulip  I do not have many cultivated tulips because I dislike their short lives.  Rarely do you get more than 2 or 3 seasons from a bulb.  However, this small guy multiplies and I get more blooms every year! 

Unknown variety of daffodil highlighted against a background of Muscari or grape hyacinths in my circle bed.  

My brave crocuses on the end of their bloom cycle.  They are the first to bloom in my yard and newly planted this past fall in my front bed.  I have a flower called Naked Lady or Belladonna Lily planted with them.  I will have to see if the Ladies will bloom for me later this year or take a year off to settle in.

Tete-a-Tete miniature daffodils in the front bed under the Japanese Maple.  I think these little guys are so cute.  AND I believe that I do not have enough of them.  More holes to dig this fall will be put on the to do list.

Bi-colored Flat corona type daffodil in the front circle bed.

This is the picture I see in my brain when the word daffodil is spoken.  Standard big guy for which I do not remember the pedigree.  

Tulip humilis Persian Pearl is another species tulip that I bought from my friends at Westveiw Farms.

I am finishing off my little tour of the yard with my dandelions.  Yep, I eat the leaves and enjoy their bright fluffy sunshine faces.  They are not weeds to me.  However, I noticed the older gentlemen who live in the two houses behind me out spraying poison on their lawns today in an attempt (I'm assuming) to kill all the “weeds” in their nice green monoculture lawns.  Um, I hope that they didn't notice that all my dandelions are blooming and will go to seed soon....