Two summers ago I put in a small bed of sedum around them mailbox. The ones right next to the street didn’t survive. I’m pretty sure the salt the village uses on our streets killed them so I’m leaving that spot empty.
A friend of mine moved into a new house and is changing out her landscaping. She offered rocks for free so we made two trips and loaded up the van. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but I ended up doubling the size of this bed and putting rocks all the way around. There are a few more from our favorite island on Birch Lake, but the rest are from her.
That tiny tree is an oak that the village planted last year to replace our ash tree. It’s ridiculously small and since oaks grow very slowly, we probably won’t be around to see it as a proper tree, but at least there’s something there.
I added more sedum from the nursery as well as more stonecrop from the Master Gardener’s sale. The flowers are all annuals. I’m hoping that miracle starter helps them perk up a bit. They’re looking pretty anemic.
The very first tomato!
After a lovely breakfast in bed served by the kids, I had just enough time to plant tomatoes before we had to shower and go to Emma and Andy’s orchestra concert.
Quick tour of the rest of some of the garden.
This thistle-like thing is gigantic. I have no idea what it is and we’ve never had one growing in the yard until late last summer when it showed up in strawberries. I dug it out, but couldn’t pull the root so I chopped it off below the surface. It started growing again this spring. With so much going on getting the garden ready and making a couple of unplanned trips to Iowa in April, I didn’t get it to when it was small.
Neil dug it out with a spade, but not before I took this photo to document this alien thing. For perspective, that mess fence is 15 inches tall! See what I mean? HUGE! He dug down about a 8 inches and then I doused the root with Round Up. I’m normally not a fan, but I keep it on hand to deal with stubborn thistles, nightshade vine and the little mulberry trees that pop up along the fence. (Thanks a lot, birds!)
If you know what this thing is, please let me know in the comments. This is our 12th spring in this house and it’s a new one to me.
Since I didn’t post while the cold frame was in progress, we’ll just pretend that I intended to do this as one big post instead of in progress.
I am so excited to have a cold frame. I have wanted one since I started reading gardening blogs, but I wasn’t sure where we would put it in the yard and I didn’t want to spend money on the windows. Since I scored windows from the farmhouse, it finally seemed like the time to convince Neil I “needed” one.
We pulled out some bushes on the south side of the house and the frame fits perfectly between the stoop to the laundry room door and one of the air conditioner units. I have a few things I want to do before it’s 100% finished, but it’s usable as is now. Neil replaced the broken glass in the painted frame so I need to paint the caulk so it matches the other windows because OCD. I’m adding stepping stones in front of it and planting some sort of ground cover. We have to come up with some kind of brace to prop the windows open on warm days.
Anyway, without further ado, the cold frame process…
Theoretically, I should be able to extend the growing season by a month or two with this. Imagine fresh lettuce and basil for Christmas dinner!
For years, I’ve driven past Lizzie’s Garden to and from the salon where I get my hair done. I was driving by today in the rain and decided on a whim to stop and check it out. From the street it doesn’t look like much, but inside was impressive! It’s huge and they had a lot of unique flowers that you don’t see at the big box stores. I didn’t really need anything so I just wandered around and looked, but I will definitely be back when I finally get around to changing the front landscaping.
Neil and I made the trek to Woldhuis Farms today. It sounds a little crazy to drive over an hour (one-way) to a nursery, but this one is definitely worth the trip! Not only are the prices absolutely amazing, the selection is unreal. I wish we would have taken more photos throughout, but I was too busy obsessing about what to buy. This is the second year we’ve gone and I was smarter this time. I had some idea of what I wanted to buy and I knew to grab it when I saw it because it’s a long walk back if you forget something. If you go, make a list and plan to spend at least a couple of hours. We were pretty focused on what we wanted and we were still there three hours. OH! And don’t go on a Saturday. Apparently the crowds are huge.
Some of the things we bought today:
Did the spring clean up in the front yard and flower beds while Neil pulled out the weigelas on the side of the house for the new project. I definitely got the easy job. We had to make an emergency run to Home Depot after he broke the pick axe trying to dig out the stumps. Any trip to there are this time of year can only mean one thing: plants! This trip was no exception. Despite not planning to plant yet, I couldn’t pass up the sale on early veggies and came home with two kinds of lettuce, broccoli, basil and a new variety of tomato.
While he finished digging out the stumps, I started scraping off several layers of what I’m sure was lead paint from the window frames. These windows were original to the farmhouse I grew up in, which was built in 1920. They were replaced when my parents remodeled the kitchen sometime around 1990. All of the other window sashes are original, although they replaced the exterior storm/screen windows while I was still a kid.
I’m painting the windows and since they’ll be outside, I’m not too concerned about perfection. The glass from the one on the left broke in two pieces on the drive back from Iowa. It should be an easy fix with some glazing caulk.
On Sunday I transplanted a bunch of the seedlings into cups so they can grow stronger roots until it’s time to plant outside, about another month in northern Illinois (zone 5).
Neil also got the plastic up on the hoop house so the seedlings are now happily living in there. I also planted the lettuce and broccoli in there to get an early start. The basil is in pots and I’m already drooling over the idea of our first caprese salad.
Just a quick update with snaps of the seedlings. I sprinkled cinnamon on the trays to keep the fungus that tends to grow in these conditions.