Progress As The Curtain Drops on 2014

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Things have been moving ever onward here at the newly relocated Fairegarden. Fall veggies have progressed nicely in the cold frame.

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There has also been progress made in the back yard. We have moved many times in our adult lives and one of the first tasks, always, is the hiring of tree work. It is good to have any wayward trees addressed before gardening begins, and while there are still funds available for such. Renovations are notorious fund-suckers. At the new house, the upper level part of the back yard only was fenced by the original owner, leaving the north facing, steeply sloping 25 feet on the other side totally unkempt. Tree seedlings quickly grew to become chainsaw sized weeds during the eleven years since the home was built. Without at least a yearly cut down, that is what will happen to all wild land. It will eventually become a forest.

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The row of pine trees belongs to us and they mark the property boundary with the fenced yards of the subdivision next door. We love the privacy and wildlife refuge they offer. After the offending weed trees were cut, the view was very much improved.

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But there was more to be done after the trees were felled and hauled away. The landscaper can be seen above walking the area, calculating the cost to accomplish my vision for the land. At one time I had hoped to garden on this large parcel of soil, but wise advisors reminded me of the hazards that steep slopes can bring to aging feet and ankles. We know all about slopes.

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Before the work could proceed on the other side of the fence, the fence itself needed to be replaced. It was falling apart and the weed trees had twisted the lumber and caused general dilapidation on the slope side. A straight across the top style constructed of western red cedar brought a much more attractive sense of enclosure to the back yard. (It can’t be called a garden, yet, although the shed looks rather handsome already.)

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The assortment of bird houses and feeders, containers of various materials, statuary and benches that had been languishing unloved hither and yon were carefully placed to dress up the fence line.  A few climbing roses and some Clematis were planted to bring some greenery someday.  A deciduous azalea, seen just to the right of the raised turquoise container was even planted along there. It was found on the mark down table at a big box store in Asheville, NC. Incredibly, this particular cultivar was the earliest blooming, and a favorite of my signature plants at the old garden, Rhododendron ‘Admirial Semmes’. (You can read about my signature plants by clicking here.)  I was tickled to find this treasure at all, let alone for a reasonable price.  Some things are just meant to be.

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The day after the fence was installed, the landscaper came and cleared the mess behind the fence. Winter rye grass was sown and straw was added to help hold the newly bare soil in place. He and his crew were still packing up their equipment here when  I dashed out and quickly planted the fifteen small evergreens that were to provide color and winter interest over time. “Don’t forget to water the grass seed”, he said as he left. Thanks for the reminder, I thought, the trees will need watering until the winter rains come.

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The rains did come and the grass seed finally germinated. It will not be mown for I admire the flowers and seed heads of rye grass plus we can’t be traipsing around on that steep incline, anway. Happily there is new growth on the little evergreens, too. Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii’, Chamaecyparis thyoides ‘Rachel’, Cupressus arizonica ‘Blue Ice’ and Cupressus arizonica var. glabra ‘Carolina Sapphire’ should all grow tall enough to be seen over the fence from the house and yard but remain narrow enough to not interfere with the pine trees or the pretty new fence. We do hope to live long enough to see that vision come to fruition. Some saved wildflower seeds were scattered back there, as well. The maintenance plan is for a once a year cut down of the ground cover until the trees grow large enough to shade out weed germination.

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After the fence and landscaping work was completed, I gave myself a little present. Six yards of local topsoil mixed with composted horse bedding and some mulch and screened were delivered by a dump truck to the back yard. Merry Christmas to me!

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And a very Merry Christmas to you! Oh wait, somebody forgot to turn out the lights…

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There, that’s better. May you all have the most wonderful of times during the holidays and we’ll see you next year. Onward to 2015!


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24 Responses to Progress As The Curtain Drops on 2014

  1. Alison says:

    I enjoyed reading this update, so glad you’re back to blogging. I’m looking forward to reading more next year. The new fence is beautiful. Putting in a new fence was one of the first things we did here too. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Frances!

    Hi Alison, thanks for visiting. It is good to blog again, even if only once a month. There should be more to report next year, it is hoped. There should be a garden by spring to take photos of. Hardscape is not as glamorous as flowers are, but I am trying to do first things first here. Winter will be a time of planning. May you have a happy Christmas!

  2. Norine says:

    I am impressed with how much you have accomplished already. Love and best wishes to all as the year ends and another begins!

    Hi Norine, thanks and best of wishes to you and yours. I am anxious to get to the real gardening here, but much has been taken care of already.

  3. indygardener says:

    Wonderful to see the progress you’ve made in such a short time. It’s going to be a wonderful garden… it already is!

    Hi Carol, thanks for following along, you are being kind calling this a garden, though. We will keep chipping away at the hardscape and bed layout and continue sticking plants in willy nilly until a garden emerges.

  4. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Frances, one day … not too many years from now … you’ll look back at this post and marvel at the changes you’ve wrought in the new Fairegarden since you first wrote it!

    Hi Cindy, thanks for those encouraging words. Seeing the before and after already gives one hope that a garden is back there waiting to be released.

  5. Valerie says:

    Merry Christmas Frances. Your new garden is underway now. Look forward to reading your blog in the new year. V

    Hi Valerie, thanks for your support. May you and your enjoy a most Happy Christmas!

  6. Barbara H. says:

    I was just thinking about you yesterday, hoping for an update on the new garden. What a joy to see this post today. Congratulations on clearing out the weed trees and the new fence. The area between the pines and the fence looks wonderful now. Even a year or two will bring amazement to you as you look at pictures from the beginning and where you are then. I tend to only see what I want to come and not realize how much I’ve done until I look at earlier pictures. What a difference a year can make.

    Merry Christmas to you and all your family, Frances. I’m so happy you are back.

    You are too kind, Barbara, thank you for your loyal readership. I am so hoping the little trees will grow quickly and was very pleased to notice new growth already. There is still a very long way to go. A year from now seems so far away, but it will be fun to compare. May you have a very happy Christmas!

    I forgot to tell you how wonderful your lighted Christmas balls look! They are splendid in the daylight and spectacular at night.

    Thanks, Barbara. The lighted balls do look right at home in the old rust wheelbarrow. That might become a new tradition!

  7. I am impressed. You have gotten a lot done already Seeing your behind the fence garden I was going to suggest a meadowy once a year mowing type of regimen. You can always add more wild flower seed to the rye grass. It looks like it is graded to be a drainage easement of sorts. Seems to me to save your feet and still enjoy the space, a level narrow path could be made in the bottom of the crease. It can be your wild pollinator walk.

    Thanks, Christopher. We have spurts of busy in between periods of waiting for workmen. A meadow is the idea, until the trees grow too large. There is a gully at the bottom for excess rainwater. It runs from the road at the entrance to the subdivision to the creek at the low end. We are on the upper side and glad that there is level ground to garden upon. The bottom is the only place I can safely walk, getting there is more difficult. I do hope to offer lots of pollinator friendly plants in the meadow to be.

  8. Hi Frances! Time flies so fast… Soon, we’ll look at these pictures as ‘Before’ and we’ll admire ‘After’. The third image from the end, showing two little trees, is very touching and almost made me cry.
    Merry Christmas to you and a very Happy New Year!

    Hi Tatyana, thanks for such a nice comment. The little trees are so very small, but they are healthy and we have had good rain since they were planted so their future looks bright. May you also have a Happy Christmas and beyond!

  9. I really enjoyed the progress report. The fence is beautiful!

    Hi Kathy, thanks for following along. The fence is a bit stark right now, but is supposed to age to a nice grey over time. Plants will help to soften the look.

  10. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh mercy, I do envy your Christmas present. You can’t purchase anything like this around here. Sigh~~ Your garden is slowly coming to the fore. The fence and behind garden is a great start. What fun to have a clean slate to work on. You have so much experience to draw on and know what you like. This will be a real jewel box of a garden. Your Christmas decor looks great with the lights out. Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy Gardening New Year!

    Hi Lisa, thanks for your kind words. It is going to be fun to get this garden planted, one section at a time. I am experienced! Finding a truckload of soil at this time of year was quite the quest. Many phone calls led me to a nearby farmer who has never sold this mix before. He asked me to report back how it works out, he will add it to his mulch and topsoil business. May you have a Happy Christmas and all the rest!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Season’s Greetings from your admirer in Port Moody, Canada. You have been very busy! I just love your new property. It truly was exciting to read about and see in the photos what great strides you’ve made in making your dream backyard. The fence is lovely. It is always nice to fnd a loved plant on sale. That was karma. Enjoy watching the garden unfold and I too look forward to seeing next year’s blog entries. Merry Christmas to you and yours….local wildlife and birds included. How far away from your other home did you move? Be well.

    Hi Elizabeth, and thanks for the good wishes and encouragement. A lot has been done so far, but it seems so little like a real garden to me, yet. I have to avoid looking at photos of the old garden. Comparison is the thief of joy. We are one hour north of the former home. Have a Happy Christmas and all the best to you and yours

  12. Marie Brown says:

    I am very happy to find your post. It is a very exciting time, with your vision taking shape. Happy New Year, Fairegarden!

    Hi Marie, I am very happy you found this post, as well. Thanks for following the saga as we turn a yard into a garden. Someday. Happy Holidays to you!

  13. Kris P says:

    When we moved into our current home on a 1/2+ acre lot almost 4 years ago after previously gardening in a truly tiny space for a long long time, I threw myself into planting my new garden without doing a thorough survey or evaluating what I wanted from my new space. I’ve been clearing much of the space and tackling one area after another over the course of the last 2 years. In retrospect, I wish I’d approached the new space in the thoughtful, methodical way you have. You’ve made great progress already and I look forward to seeing the changes you make in 2015. Best wishes for a happy holiday season!

    Hi Kris, thanks for sharing your new garden experience here. Moving is traumatic, while trying to get the house sorted, making a garden doesn’t always get as much thought as it should. We just want to plant. Experience helps teach us what we should have done rather than what we did. That will be the case here, I am sure, even with all this preparatory work done. May you and yours enjoy the happiest holidays!

  14. Chard, chard, chard! Yours is beautiful. You must have the green thumb on both hands.

    Thanks, Patsy. We do love chard and it is easy to grow here.

  15. Wow, I’m behind hand here. Congratulations on getting things so well underway. I was relieved to read in your September post that the muhly grass would also find a home at your new Fairegarden. Happy Christmas, Frances! Wish we’d be seeing you in Toronto for the Fling (there’s still room), but I can see you have your hands full.

    Thank you so much, dear Helen for the good wishes. It would be grand to some to the Toronto Fling and see you and everyone again but there is too much going on here for the next few months. Someday, we shall meet again! Happy Christmas to you and yours!

  16. Kathleen says:

    You are getting all the necessary but not so much “fun” stuff done Frances! Hopefully the New Year will find you doing the design & planting of the beds!!! Yay. Enjoy following your progress. Will most likely do this myself someday. LOVE the wheelbarrow ~ lights on and off!!!! Merry Christmas to you & your family too! Any time to make something wonderful for them??

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for the support. The work being done now is expensive and not nearly as fun as planting, but we both know it is the right way to begin a new garden. Having level ground to work and just walk around on has already improved my mobility issues. No home made stuff this year, but there’s always next year for that after things are more settled. There are major renovations going on inside the house, as well. I hope you have a delightful Christmas!

  17. You are a dynamo! So much accomplished already. Love the shed and the new fence. Can’t wait to watch the progression.

    HA Layanee, I was once a dynamo but now I am more of an occasional burst followed by long periods of rest. Such is the way of it but we are moving forward. Thanks for visiting.

  18. Michele says:

    So great to see that you are making progress in your new garden. Me and the hubs will be moving in a few years to mountain property, so I will have to temper my desires with the reality of aging backs and knees and slopes! I’ll look to you for inspiration.

    Hi Michele, thanks for visiting. Watch out for that mountain property! Be sure and have some level areas on which to garden and leave the slopes for the views. Best of luck to you.

  19. Rose says:

    So exciting to see the beginnings of a new Fairegarden! You have accomplished so much already, and your Christmas present will certainly make all those new plants happy. Looking forward to seeing how your garden evolves in the new year. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Frances!

    Hi Rose, thanks for following along with this big change. We are doing the stuff that should be done first but isn’t very glamorous. The plants that were brought with us on the move have been stuck in the ground and a few purchases have been made of trees and shrubs, but the real fun should begin next year. May you and yours have the happiest of holidays!

  20. Anna says:

    Oh you certainly haven’t been idle Frances. Slowly, surely like a jigsaw it will all come together. What a perfect seasonal present to yourself. Wishing you peace and joy at Christmas and happy gardening in 2015!

    Hi Anna, thanks for visiting. It is like a jigsaw puzzle, good analogy. Guess we are putting the edges together first, just like a puzzle, with the fence. May you and yours have a joyous Christmas!

  21. Gittan says:

    Hi my friend! I think that that´ll be great! And I love the lights you´ve put in the barrel.
    A very merry christmas to you and the new Fairegarden / Kram gittan

    Hi dear Gittan! I love those balls of lights, too and wonder why I never thought to put them in the wheelbarrow before. They are perfect in there will a little greenery and moss. May you and yours have the most wonderful holidays! Double Kram, Frances

  22. grammapenny says:

    Wonderful to see your posts in my inbox again.. You continue to inspire me. Merry Christmas and may the new year bring you much joy in your new garden.

    Thanks so much, Penny, for those kind words and your support. Happy Christmas to you and yours and happy gardening in the new year!

  23. Heather Hicks says:

    Fantastic ideas! I think I can use some of these. I was given a copy of Fran Sorin’s Digging Deep, I have always loved her as she is fantastic when it comes to garden design. I have a great many ideas for the spring!

    Thanks, Heather. May your gardening be invigorated and you energized with new ideas!

  24. gailae says:

    It’s wonderful watching your new garden emerge…and I love seeing old friends~Containers, wheel barrel and plants! xoxogail

    Thanks, Gail. Yes, the gang’s all here, just waiting for the gardener to figure out what to do with them. The wheelbarrow is serving well as the receptacle for the Christmas lighted balls for now. What next for it? xoxoxo

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