This is Riley. She is 95 pounds of self-appointed yard protection. No bikers, joggers, walkers, or trash men are safe from her ire. She’ll race from one end of the yard to the other to get a good bark in.This is the war path. Nothing can grow along the fences where Riley chases her prey: not even weeds. I’ve had to get creative in trying to mingle my love of the pretty with Riley’s habit of crushing everything in her way. Here I built a little planter against the fence to reclaim a bit of earth.I have lots of these three-foot fence pieces (thanks, mom!) I use them to trellis pretty vines and to “steer” Riley away from areas I am trying to protect. Grouping works wonders. Here, the combination of the planter, birdbath, and hosta is just too much trouble. She’ll go around rather than through.Lastly, I’ve been able to train her to stay out of the vegetable garden. Unlike the rest of the yard, it’s an obviously defined space. The walls could never keep her out, but they do give her a visual boundary. So far, so good.
When our children outgrew the swing set my husband made, we pulled down the kid’s swings and replaced them with a swing everyone can use. I planted wisteria on one side and after just a few years we are getting nice shade.
I go through birdbaths like Snickers bars. I try to remember to empty them before a hard freeze, but the water containers always seem to leak after just a year or so. I’ve learned that a big dish from Goodwill and a rock is all it takes to bring back the bathers.
My yard is a nice size, but gourds and cucumbers and all of those sprawling vines seem to take over everything. This year, I let the birdhouse gourds overtake the trellis and continue right up a nearby tree. The garden stayed neat, and this totally appeals to my love of the quirky.
And the solution here? . . . Keep the birdseed in a metal container from now on.
My yard is bursting: with birds, animals, flowers, vegetables. Sometimes July can feel parched, but not this year. We are ripe with all of the things I love.Zinnias I planted from seed are in their full glory. When they no longer look pretty to me, I will leave them as a meal for my goldfinch friends.The cherry tree is overripe to me, but it is alive with blue jays, red-breasted woodpeckers (and a fledgling – the first I’ve EVER seen), robins, brown thrashers, finches, cardinals, flickers, and titmice. The hummingbirds spend a great deal of time perching in it – but I have never seen them eating the fruit in any way. There are also a crazy amount of bunnies beneath the tree. Are they eating the cherries that fall?The bird house gourds are happy to climb the trellis I made to keep them off the ground. I have big plans ahead for these, but the hummingbirds love their blossoms right now.But of all those things to love, beautiful tomatoes, just days from being ripe, are my current favorite things.
I’ve been reading about Permaculture, and that gave me the idea to incorporate the stump into a planting bed.I used some cedar shims and bricks I had lying around. I hammered the shims deep into the ground so they would support the bulk of the soil. I just stacked the bricks around that to pretty it up. It was easy after I got the bottom layer level.Here’s how it looked at the end of April, before soil and plants.After I planted it with a sedum and flower seeds, I added some Native Sedum plants to the cracks of the planter to see if they’d grow.They did grow. Just wait till the zinnias bloom!
I finished my main vegetable garden excavation and rebuild (pictures soon) using untreated scrap wood my husband has saved from our many house projects. That kind of got me loving the idea of using up the rest of the scrap wood by making structures for the garden.
Here’s my first little project – a trellis for my Heirloom Cardinal Climbers. I’ve read two biographies of Frank Lloyd Wright lately and am feeling quite architectural. Who knows what else I will come up with?
I got the Cardinal Climber seeds from the great library seed bank we have in my area: Library Seed Bank Can’t wait until they get growing!