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Where I am so far.

Category: My journey into Gardening | Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:03 pm

Ok, so let me start by saying I live in Auburn, AL just to give you an idea of my gardening challenges, also I just got married back in May and I moved into my husbands house that he shared with his previous wife. She must not of been much for gardening because I pretty much have a blank slate. This is my first house where I can do as I please. I am focusing my attention on the back yard which is where we find ourselves spending all of our time. We have 2 big trees a tulip poplar and some sort of maple, not the kind I was used to in Virginia, growing up. But I digress, due to the shade under the tree there was no grass and the yard slopes down toward the back left corner. So there was a lot of bare roots and just dirt. My husband wanted a new shed and we both thought a deck would be nice. So we built a 14X20 ft shed onto the back of the house and a 28 ft octoganal deck around the Maple tree. We now have a wonderful place to relax, have fun and entertain.
While I enjoy gardening so I can reap the benefits of the scenery, I am not one for spending lots of time with upkeep, and neither is my husband. I am trying to fill the yard with plants that are relatively self sufficient. I love hostas and hydrangeas. Hydrangeas are my favorite plant of all time, and I love taking care of them, pruning them and talking to them. I'm aiming at having a yard full of many different varieties. Behind the deck is a big blank area where there is/was a lot of privet (I hate this stuff). There is nothing there because there was no light. My husband told me there used to be grass back there but since the tree grew bigger and the privet grew up it died off. So for years there has been leaves and a few weeds. We recently cut back all the privet, but still have to cut the stumps and try and halt their growth (please wish me luck). So now the sun comes in more, but its mainly filtered all day long. I hope this will be ok for the hydrangeas, I don't see why not, I read an article about a woman who had them naturalized behind her house on a hill side with lots of trees, she said they got filtered light all day and they seemed to be working well for her. I was torn on rather the ground would be rich, due to all the leaves that have been decaying for years or hard clay like the rest of the yard and Alabama. Earlier this year I tried planting a hosta and could barely break the surface. Well I finally got my hands on a hand me down tiller and had my husband get out there and chew up the ground. It seems to be nice soil that has a mix of clay and organic material. I am planning on planting Hydrangeas along the fence line, creating a path around the deck for eye appeal and to aid in pruning and plant care. I figure that whatever I plant will get plenty of natural mulch from the leaves. I would like to naturalize the area as best I can. I figure close plantings, and letting the leaves fill in the gaps to keep weeds from taking over.
I have already planted three hydrangeas along the front side of the deck
I have also put in a bed around the Tulip Poplar, I edged a 10 foot circle around the tree with large stones and I planted hostas, ferns and I just planted bulbs for the spring. I am hoping to plant more hostas and ferns in the spring.
We are planning on planting monkey grass (the clumping kind) by the side of the shed to cover the gap between the shed floor and the ground.
I like the idea of different varieties of the same plant. Different types of ferns, hostas, hydrangeas, etc.. So thats where I am so far. I will keep you updated as my yard progresses. I have many ideas, some I have executed others I found I could not do because of certain limitations. My husband has some ideas I don't exactly like but I'm tying to incorporate his style into the yard as well.
Well thanks for listening to my rants.

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Frank wrote on Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:49 pm:

Welcome to GardenStew faunsnyder and congrats on your new blog. It's a great way to share your garden experiences and knowledge with us. It's wonderful that you have a blank slate to work with, many would give their right arm for that :D

// Frank


eileen wrote on Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:57 am:

Hi there Faunsnyder. It was really interesting reading your blog about how you have started to 'tame' your garden. I would love to see progress photographs of how your garden is shaping up. Good luck with getting those privet stumps dealt with.

miss rosie wrote on Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:50 pm:

bless your energy !!!


Sjoerd wrote on Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:54 am:

I would like to second what Eileen said.
Wow... If your ground is that hard clay-type stuff you probably should mix some compist in with it after it's been tilled once... then till it again (to mix it). One thing that would helpo immensely is to add structure to the soil. A rough (partially, but not totally composted) compost to mix with the clay would be really good. The type that I'm talking about here is the kind that still has little bits of stick and stem in it. After you have done the above mixing, then rake it and cover it with a layer of humus. It would also be a good idea to add some manure on top of that. If you put it on now by late spring, it will have aged and you can mix it through if you want. Generally it's best to put manure on that's at least one year old at least... but the weather elements will age it during the time between now and spring.
Addendum: An alternative to using stall manure is using dried manure pellets, or....using "green manure", like comfry,lupine

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