Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tubs of roses

The Hedge Roses arrived today! Here they are soaking for 12-24 hours per the instructions.
I dug 26 holes in 2 days. I thought I was way ahead of schedule since the roses were not due until next week but as it turns out I'm right on time. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Terminator

This is a rose bush that reminds me of the Terminator, as in Arnold Schwarzenegger. I swear this thing grew out of the darkness. I know nothing about it's history, but here are a few things I do know....

  1. I did not plant it
  2. I do not recall seeing it EVER since I've lived here
  3. 2 years ago the wood fence behind it was an ugly chain-link one, which was ripped out violently by one of those big ass tractor/bull dozer things. I told they guy to save nothing except one shrub which means this rose must have suffered much abuse in the process.

Monday, May 28, 2007

How I spent my Memorial Day weekend

I can't believe it's already time to go back to work.

Here's what I accomplished this weekend.

This is where the Pink Hedge Roses will go but as you can see it's very overgrown.

Here's what it looks like after removing most of the weeds. Of course they are already growing back, so I'll be working hard to keep the area clear until the roses arrive on June 6th.
This AC unit was just installed last summer but it looks like years of weeds to me. Having this stuff so close to the house causes all sorts of problems. These Day Lilies had grown UNDER the house! Sooooo, they had to go.
What should I do in this space now?

This is the first tree I've ever purchased. It's a Belle of Georgia Semi-Dwarf Peach. Notice how overgrown the fence is.
Wa la!
The Day Lilies have taken over the back of the garage too. Since this is what I see from my kitchen window, I really want to make this a focal point. Any ideas? This thing is really ugly!

Bye Bye Day Lilies!

These things can really be pretty but they were simply out of control.

Here is the huge pile that I dug up JUST from the back of the garage. I'm thinking of putting them on the curb with a big sign "FREE DAY LILIES!"I have a whole new respect for farmers. I don't see how they do it.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Yesterday it rained all day in Chicago so I decided to go plant shopping.

I purchased a Belle of Georgia Peach Tree. The funny thing is that I went to 4 different places looking for 1 Peach and 1 Japanese Maple and ended up buying this homely little peach tree at the store closest to my house. Bad move at these gas prices!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ohhhhhhhhhhh - my acheing back

I gardened for 4 hours today!

It was 65 degrees outside and a perfect day for it.

Can I just say that somebody needs to write a book or a freakin magazine article about what tools to use for different gardening activities?? I was using one of those narrow rake things to clear out my fence line to get ready for the roses and after complaining about my back hurting, garden buddy realized what I was using and informed me that I should be using a pitchfork. OMG this is so much easier!

Man I feel stupid...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Getting ready for roses

I've spent the last 2 days clearing out the fence line where my 26 pink Simplicity hedge roses will go. I've only done 26 feet and I've got 46 more feet to go before I can even start digging the 26 holes. I'm so nervous about not being able to finish this on time.

Surprisingly I've gotten up every morning and worked in the garden. I've found that this works best for me for the moment since I'm in no mood to do this when i get home from work. I wake up, watch whatever corny gardening show I can find on TV for a few minutes, then get to work. I've only been spending about 30 minutes working in the mornings but it's better than nothing, right?

Tonight I went to buy a new garden hose (ours has a hole), a wheelbarrow (I'm sick of dragging heavy bags of weeds to the alley), a sprinkler and the stuff to water seal the privacy fence. The wheelbarrows that were available were so damn big I couldn't buy it because I have no place to store it when I'm not using it. The garden hose that was on sale was sold out. Got the stuff for the fence, though! I'm really nervous about sealing the fence because my neighbors have bushes all over their side and I have a feeling this sealer will kill them if we are not careful. Ah -the joys of home ownership.

I've been looking around for plants and sketching out where the gardens should go and as usual I am really just wanting to pay somebody to get the beds ready for me to plant because I'm very impatient. I keep telling myself "it's about the journey" but I'm sick of pulling weeds already and my hands are a mess! I'm not use to this! I'll probably end up renting a tiller for a few hours to prepare 3 of the 4 gardens since there is mostly grass there and I haven't the slightest how to get that up without hosing it down with chemicals.

Still looking for the perfect tree for the southwest corner of the backyard. I'm really leaning towards a dwarf peach tree or some sort of small magnolia because I suddenly feel like I should inject some of my southern heritage into my garden, but I'm afraid the peach either won't grow and I'll be sad, or they will grow and the birds will eat them, and I'll be sad. Do birds like peaches?

Food garden update: the red bell pepper is doing the best and the strawberries look pretty good too. The rest seems like it hasnt grown a bit. I think I need mulch and I'm sure I could load it up with fertilizer to boost the growth but I'm still in organic mode.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My first garden

We bought this house about 3 years ago and although it's not the backyard I'm use to, everyone says "wow this is a big yard!"

I've always wanted one of those backyards that you walk into and you never want to leave. One that so inviting and peaceful that you feel like you could sleep there.

We installed a privacy fence 2 years ago and I thought that was the beginning of something beautiful. Instead, it's just a fancy backdrop for ugly weeds. Last summer I was so motivated to create my masterpiece gardens that I actually paid a service to prepare the beds for planting and clear out the old stuff. Then, I sat and watched the weeds grow back...

I've been on this kick to be more "green" lately and according to all the shows I've been watching I should shop at my local farmers market because it takes less fuel for the food to get to me than if I buy it from the big chain grocery. So, for the past few Saturdays, I've gone there to purchase better-for-the-earth tomatoes. The problem is that the shit is so expensive! I know I know, its worth it in the long run but screw this - I'm growing my own!

Here's my food garden, bless it's heart. It really doesn't stand a chance with me as the overseer because I'm one lazy bastard.

I dug all 11 holes by myself and man oh man was that hard work. You can't really tell but I planted this thing smack in the middle of my backyard - right by the patio. I know this is quite a conspicuous place for a vegetable garden but I read something that said if you don't place your garden near your house you will be much less likely to take care of it. Remember, I'm a lazy bastard.

Plant list: 2 Big Boy tomatoes, 1 Sweet 100 tomato, 1 Roma tomato, 1 Grape tomato -
you guessed it, I love tomatoes. What can I say, I grew up in the south where we eat tomato sammichs for meals and whole tomatoes as side dishes. 1 Broccoli, 1 Red Bell Pepper, 1 Jalapeno pepper, 1 Sweet Basil, 1 Greek Oregano, 2 Strawberry, 2 Cantaloupe, 1 Watermelon.

I feel like I gave birth! I'm obsessing over things bothering my garden. We have a resident rabbit who has babies in the middle of my yard year round. For the first time I've actually considered putting a hit out on him so he wont eat my babies. I don't think that technically breaks any of the organic gardening rules, does it? Don't worry, I'm exploring eco friendly options for keeping that thing outta my garden but I make no promises about her or the millions of squirrels.

I can see why they say gardening is good for the soul. I've been so stressed out at work for the past year and this afternoon of planting and digging was the first time that I can remember not stressing over work for that long. I think I'm hooked. Matter of fact I know I am since I've drug out my Property Survey and started drawing out my entire backyard landscape plan. I'll be taking on this project by myself which should be interesting since I'm scared of bugs and hate dirt.

Yes, I've notice my tomato cages are up-side-down and they have been fixed.