April 5, 2008

Lawn Bye Bye! and uninvited but welcomed guests...

First tulips appeared. They grow here since 4 years and ever since they bloom nice without special care or even fertilising. Clay soil has probably enough nutrients and tulip kind is strong enough.

Primula dentata.


... and unexpected guests... mallard ducks... landing on our pond... 'hey honey, let's have a look here. It looks nice..' This is really unexpected event. Previous visit we had 2 years ago and also in early spring.

Hydrangea needs to be moved to a better, more spacious place. I planted them 'temporarily' in certain place, waiting for other places to open.

I had an idea, that this place might be good for them. This spot is the first one I was working on while starting the garden 4 years ago - at that time my knowledge was very limited. Especially the importance of soil was underestimated. While planting Thuja Brabant for hedge, the soil was not improved - it is in that spot clay as you can imagine, getting very hard while drying up. I can see now the difference: thujas planted in better soil at the same time, are 30-40 cm taller after 4 years. When the edge is 150 cm tall it makes big difference.
I decided to remove a strap o lawn, make the soil more soft and add some compost around the base of soil - it is better now than never, right?

If you look at this boring place, you see a thin line along the hedge - that's my trial of cutting the lawn. Usually it is easy to make it straight, but that day the lines looked like the gardener was drunk. I should have used a wire, thread or board :) Third line was correct one :)

I use for it hand lawn cutter.
Sharp enough to cut hard sod. In this, shaded in the summer spot, sod is very weak, so hand removing is not so difficult, but still it is a hard work. I know that my back is going to ache - but then I will take a hot bath with some herb essentials. This way I will 'bake 2 cakes in the same oven' (is there such expression in English? or I just made a great direct translation from Polish?). These herb essentials are great, because they also make you slim down (1 kg after 1 hour bath), believe me or not this herbs show real power of plants. It is produced in Poland, with homeopatic herb essentials obtained from certified 100% organic plantations. Same essentials from fresh (NOT dried before) herbs are used for medicine production. Do you have someting like this in your country?

But I digress.
This is how the spot looks like after removing sod and adding compost.

Then I removed from other places in the garden hydrangea, digitalis, pachysandra and evergreen fern thriving in other spot.
At the end I mulched the soil with the old leaves, which I packed in the autumn into black plastic bag to make them at least half decomposing until spring. Mostly they became a thick layers of organic 'blankets', that I have used to cover the soil opened after sod removal. Maybe it doesn't look beautiful right now, but after plants get more green it will not be attracting attention so much. I already would like to see those beautiful digitalis spikes :)

A ghost of the garden appeard after I have finished the work - it is a good sign, right?

Cats have their own ways and paths in the garden. If you take a closer look at the picture below, you will see a line on the lawn. Sstarting on the top corner, right hand side of the tree, coming down to a soft line of the plant bed. I observe THEM from the window - they ALWAYS go same way. Any explanation on your mind?


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Ewa !
What a nice post .. I want to take up more lawn/grass as well and plant more herbs and xeriscaping type plants .. there will always be an issue with watering now.
I like the cats' path .. my two are playing so hard here, I can barely concentrate to write to posts ! LOL

Jane O' said...

I enjoyed watching how you created your new garden area. I think I'll try the half-mulched leaves for compost. I have put leaves in a black bag over winter but I don't think I used them in the right way.

Our expression here is "killing two birds with one stone." Your expression is much friendlier:)

garden girl said...

Ewa, your new border looks very nice. I like to use leaves as mulch too. This fall I will try your suggestion for composting them in plastic bags. It's a good idea.

I never knew cats make lawn traffic patterns! Our dog George wears a path in our lawn, but he is 80 pounds and he runs. It's surprising little kitties can wear out the grass like that too. You must have a lot of welcomed guests visiting your garden!

Anonymous said...

I have two suggestions for leaves:
a. leave in a black liner but punch some small holes to let air in - speeds up the decomposition process; or
b. add in layers to your compost heap - good compost needs the mixture of old plants, decomposing fruit and vegetables and stuff like leaves.

Never, ever throw leaves out. Save the environment and fertilise the garden!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This is a fun post Ewa. I can see you are working hard in your garden. It is looking very good.

We have a lots of English sayings similar to your cake saying. Like "being half baked" or "killing two birds with one stone"...

There is a book about paths in the garden. I wish I could remember the name of it. It says that animals make the best paths through a garden and you should follow their lead. I forget the reasoning.

The cats in our garden go directly to the feeders. The rotten buggers. If they would sit in the sun being pretty I wouldn't mind them in the garden but they eat our birds.

Just seeing your progress makes me want to get out in our garden and do some work.

Barbara said...

Hi Ewa, you did a good job, creating a new border (for new plants!)! I guess it was hard work (we have the same soil). Your blue primula IS beautiful, I never saw this sort before!
Enjoy Spring and have a good time!

Viooltje said...

Excellent photos. Spring has definitely lit up your garden. Your garden ghost has done quite some work. Well done! ;-)

Kylee Baumle said...

I see Jane Marie and Lisa answered the question about the expression: "to kill two birds with one stone." I like the cake expression better, too!

Your work looks great, Ewa!

As far as the cats go, I notice a difference between our cats and the dog when walking in certain areas. In the places where I have a stone path or a sidewalk, the cats take that way, even if it means walking a longer distance. The dog doesn't pay any attention to the walking paths. She just goes however she wants, even if it's directly through my flowers!

Chrissie said...

My goodness, you have been busy! There is nothing like working in your garden to shift winter blues, and I find it very theraputic to work on something new :-)

Carol Soules said...

This is a great post. Beautiful pictures. I liked seeing how you expanded your garden!