in the garden :: new trees and more

Shane worked on the landscaping for nearly two solid weeks. Here’s what’s just out the front door and to our right:IMG_6111

He’s planning to put steppingstones in the center of this bed, so that he can better access the porch. Everywhere there’s currently landscaping fabric will be covered with trap rock later in the summer.

Using rock, rather than wood mulch, is a smart investment, in our opinion. Yes, it will cost 30-50% more than a delivery of mulch, but rather than spending a few hundred dollars per year to maintain the mulch (and have to do all that spreading), you will spend the money once, and it’s done. Another important consideration is pest control; mulch attracts ants and termites, and rock does not.

In this photo, you see what is out our front door when we look toward the left. The dwarf spruce replaces a large, overgrown bush under which we, in the past, found Finn to be habitually leaving parts of his supper that he didn’t want. That ended with the hacking of the bush — and when he learned that his mother will make him pick up vegetables covered in soil, rinse them, and actually eat them!IMG_6112Two more dwarf blue spruces were planted along the edge of our property to both provide a little bit of privacy and help hide the traffic in the background.IMG_6107This shady, low-lying corner in the backyard formerly had only caramel-colored rocks around the tree trunk and a manhole cover for a drain. Shane’s moved some grasses and daylilies here, along with a sunken pot for growing some pumpkins, and our fire pit is here, too, for now.IMG_6106The raspberry bush got a trellis to help support its growing branches. (No tying done yet at time of photo snap.)IMG_6113Veggies in the straw bale garden are growing, slowly but surely. Here are some of the green beans:IMG_6102And radishes, too:
IMG_6103We’ve already been plucking little bits of cilantro, basil, and mint as we need them for recipes.

Every short walk to the garden to survey, weed, or pick reinforces my belief that responsibility for even the smallest patch of earth nurtures respect for the the earth’s ability to sustain life. Gardening is such a soul-satisfying process — the hopeful planting, grateful harvesting, development of self-sufficiency, and opportunities to share when presented with abundance.

My book club recently read a book that is all about the gifts of gardening. It’s a memoir by Illinois native Jeanne Nolan called From the Ground Up. Check out Nolan’s website for a synopsis and to learn about her current initiatives helping others begin gardening. Try to get your hands on a copy of the book, as well as into some soil, this summer.



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