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Gardening at 60 West Main

August 23, 2012

Overgrown house

So remember when we first moved in and we had to cut back everything in the yard, by a lot?  I can refresh your memory by sharing some old photos of that late summer 3 years ago.  When we first looked at the house, the yard hadn’t been mowed. . . and then it was over mowed.  Everything in the mower’s path was shorn down to the wee bits of root.  But the vines attacking the east side of the house grew up onto the second story wall and chimney and covered part of the roof.  The back yard had a large overgrown raised bed and trumpet vine was (and still is) everywhere.  We spent most of our time in the house that first summer cutting things back and just piling at the curb.

Front porch before painting

Each summer since, we have continued to prune and pay attention to what is growing.  Apparently, our house used to have a fabulous garden and it is still evident.  There are mature quince, lilac and hydrangea.  The rhododendron are huge in front and the cypress border is overgrown.  There are small patches of flowers, that are coming back better every year now and I’m anxiously tending to them to see what comes up every spring.  Though I haven’t created any beds of my own until this summer, I’ve been quite pleased to see how a little pruning goes a long way.

First garden bed

First flower bed all grown

We had a great spring for cleaning out the yard and we were able to rake out a lot before the growth started.  In that time, I planned and prepared my first bed.  I pulled everything out over the course of a month of weekends and planted raspberries, french lavender and a small boxwood.  I trimmed back the Japanese quince that was already there and mulched everything.  Then I put in some ground cover flowers, lobelia and phlox, both purple.  So far the raspberries have grown magnificently and I’ve picked a handful this summer, even though they weren’t supposed to fruit until next year.  The ground flowers are weak, but the lavender is quite happy despite Will picking all the blossoms.

Since I worked on this bed, I’ve been planning and plotting what else to do.  For most of the garden, I’d like to plant self-maintaining flowers, fruits and even vegetables and ground cover.  We’ll see what I can learn and come up with.  I’ve moved some hosta out from under the immense trumpet vine in the back and planted it under a flowering tree out front where it will make a nice bed once it fills in.  In another few weeks, I’ll plant some bulbs for the next spring and then I’ll let it be.

West side of 60 West mainOn Bill’s end, he has a new trimmer and edger.  So he has happily kept the little grass we do have in a neat few squares in the front.  Weeds can look quite nice as ground cover if they are mowed and trimmed. 🙂  Eventually we will plant some real grass, but we don’t want to use chemicals on what is there.  And, we’re debating on how to replace the slate sidewalk out front that is desperately cracked and falling apart.  So, it might be a while on that front.  In the meantime, the beds and pruning will just have to do.

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