Friday, May 26, 2017

gardening around comfy house

I think we're a little bit late in the game this year with our gardening efforts. We can blame yucky weather (we've had a lot of rain and cool temperatures), full schedules, and my knee. I still can't crouch down or kneel and I'm still struggling with swelling, stiffness and discomfort after being on my feet for several hours. This is despite still being in PT and doing some exercises at home every day, plus elevating and icing. But, I digress.

This narrow gardening space is on the south side of our house, up against our (nice) neighbor's fence. Last year, Brian planted the clematis and four cherry tomato plants. This year, Brian dug up more ground and so we have from left to right: pole beans (we're using our kid's old crib springs for a trellis!), rhubarb, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, clematis, and a peony bush - which I know is hard to see in this photo. It's tiny right now.

I am thrilled with the clematis this year. Brian bought this plant for me for Mother's Day last year and it was maybe 6" tall. Amazing that it's already growing over the top of the trellis.

The idea of even planting something against this ugly privacy fence came to me last year when Brenda at Cozy Little House said something to the effect of, "If you don't like the view out your window, do something outside to make it pretty." So, we did just that. Much better!

We have a little circular garden in our back yard but it doesn't get a lot of sun. The tickseed that I planted several years ago that came back beautifully every year, didn't appear at all this year. And the rose bush I had here was scrawny and weeds were overtaking it, so Brian dug that up and threw it away. That left two phlox plants and one was looking pitiful, so that got dug up, too. All that remained was one lonely phlox. Brian dug up another from the butterfly garden and planted it in the circular garden, and then we purchased two Bleeding Heart plants and planted them in the circular garden as well. When all these plants fill out and flower, I think this little garden will be really pretty.

On to the butterfly garden...the only thing blooming right now is the Columbine (back, left). Brian dug up (notice Brian has been doing a lot of digging?!) a small area in the middle of the Lamb's Ear and we planted Bee Balm. We planted two more Bee Balm plants near the back, right underneath the bench. I can't wait to see if these do well in this garden...they're supposed to grow tall with beautiful, brightly colored blooms. Most of all, I hope the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to them.

While Brian was busy doing all that digging, I was busy planting flowers in pots. We picked up this two-tiered planter on our last trip to IKEA. They sell these pots individually, so you can make however many tiers you want. After filling up the bottom pot with dirt and flowers, I found it was really heavy, so I didn't want to do the same with the top pot. I found three small, lightweight planters in my garage and planted vinca vines in each. I think this will be really pretty when the vines start growing down the sides of the planter.

We've not set up the patio yet this year except for uncovering the patio furniture and getting it into place. It's been so rainy that the cushions are still in the garage. I did get one large patio planter done - except I ran out of petunias when doing this planter! Back to the garden center for me.

 Yellow petunias hanging on the fence...

Meet my new gardening buddy - the Fiskars Deluxe Stand-Up Weeder. This thing makes weeding so easy; I wish I knew about it earlier. You simply place the pointed prongs over the weed, put your foot on the foot press...

tilt the weeder back as you're pulling up...

and then eject your weed into your pile! It actually makes weeding kind of fun...though my entire yard is weeds, so I'd have to dig up the whole yard to get them all. And that's not gonna happen. I'm just pulling up the ones around plants and the walkways.

I still have more to do...coleus is waiting to be planted and so are a few more herbs.

What's growing in your gardens right now?

Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend!


  1. Your yard is looking so great. I've got to do a little work on our container gardens today. I want something to plant in the front and I think I'll get a butterfly bush! My arm still hurts so planting is hard, but maybe I can con someone into digging the hole for me! Hugs!

  2. Looking lovely in your yard, Melanie! Thanks for the tip on that weeder, I just may have to buy one!

  3. That clematis is so pretty, and it must make you happy to view it from inside the window. I really love clematis and was happy to find one growing here.

    I think you've done a lot considering the weather and recovering from knee surgery, Melanie. And it's easy to imagine how much everything will grow by the hot months of summer. Having a butterfly garden is such a wonderful idea! I hope you'll have lots of pretty visitors there this summer.

    I've written down the name of your weeder! Just what I need.

    Happy Memorial Day weekend,

  4. I sure don't miss having grass and weeds! Looks like you've found a handy little tool there. I have found that I often have to rethink things I took for granted when I was young. For instance, I can't stand long, so I rely on my little 20 year old Walmart rolling plastic cart to maneuver around the patio. You've found your tool so you don't have to bend. Great thinking! Thanks for the shout out, Melanie. I think our sharing with one another really helps us be better gardeners!

  5. Melanie, your garden is coming along splendidly, such variety of blooms. I love your tiered planter and agree that it is going to be beautiful when the vines grow more. You must remember to take another photo. Your clematis is lovely; I had two at our old house and will have to add one here somewhere. I think they are so pretty :) I do hope that your knee is back to normal very soon, it must be hard being limited. Although; it doesn't look like it is stopping you from enjoy your yard.
    Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
    Connie :)

  6. It's fun peeking about your backyard. We've had crazy weather, too, and in fact worked outside this morning to get a few things in before it storms again later today. At least we haven't had to turn on the sprinkler system yet, and the grass is growing like crazy. The clematis looks great! I'm hoping mine takes off this year, too. I put in a butterfly garden last weekend and will get some pictures up soon. The planters from Ikea are cool!

  7. It's looking good in your yard. I bet the bleeding hearts will do well. Mine are enormous and I get seedlings every year that I sometimes transplant to other spots. We have lots of shade in our yard, so like you, lots of weeds too. We aerated this year for the first time and overseeded. I don't think the seed did all that much, but maybe the aeration will help. Hope your knee improves!

  8. oh lol I want that weeder :)

    this year I did just about everything with seeds ( just a few days ago after a hot spell and knowing that a cool-off was coming with rain for a few days ) Meanwhile I love seeing what you have going on there : )

  9. Everything looks so pretty, Mel. The side yard especially. I love clematis and they are so carefree. I hope you get that little bed back soon. Some things just don't come back for crazy reasons. I always try something new.

    It feels so bad to have limitations...I did that two years ago with the broken arm. Thankfully it happened in July and my pots and beds were planted, but the watering and weeding was insane. I just hung on.

    I hope you are having a great holiday weekend. I'm at the lake for awhile and loving it by my lonesome!!!

    Jane x

  10. All of your garden looks so good. I'm hoping to work out in mine today.
    That weeder looks fun! I'm going to look for one for me. It'll get a workout here, that's for sure!

  11. Wow, I'd love to try that weeder. Very cool toy which might make weeding more fun!

  12. The Ikea pots are so cute! Might need to take a trip....

  13. So sorry to hear your knee is still an issue. It must be hard to have patience for it to heal when you are so active. Love that weeder. Have a great weekend.

  14. I enjoyed this opportunity to see what's blooming in your garden. The clematis looks beautiful and was a great idea to plant it along the fence.
    Love your butterfly garden. I think it will be a magnet for the bees and butterflies. My lambs ear is currently in bloom and the bees love it.
    The weeder looks like a wonderful weapon to have in the gardening arsenal ;). I'm all for anything that makes the job easier. There is so much to be done at this time of year. It sounds like you are doing a good job of keeping up with it despite your knee issues.

  15. The clematis looks amazing! What a nice view now from your window!

  16. How clever to use elements from your kids' cribs to help your veggies grow effectively! Wow! I have never heard of such an amazing tool as your weeding gadget; I'll have to look into that as I found it very challenging to get on my stomach to pull weeds from under the cypress and pine trees.

    You've done so much already, Melanie, considering the rain and cold you've had this spring. Kudos to you and your hubby!



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