In the garden
We are in full-on garden planning mode here these days. Our yard will be featured on a local garden tour late this spring and we have a lot of work to do to try to get things presentable to the general public. While they might be impressed with the kids’ large digging pit and multiple stick forts, we are hoping to have a lot more to show within a few months.
We have a huge project on our hands this year as we have decided to add a small orchard to our yard. Previously, we have been sneaking edibles within the established landscaping beds and building a raised bed vegetable garden, but we had been feeling a little restricted.
So this year, we are clearing out a small forested patch previously full of thorny invasives and poison ivy, and we are going to try to turn it into a little permaculture paradise. We spent most of the weekend trying to get the area ready for planting. We had the chipper/shredder running almost continuously and made a nice mulch mountain for the kids to climb. They also got to enjoy the amazing warm weather by getting out every outdoor toy we own, spilling bubble solution all over, and whittling sticks (with one minor pocketknife mishap). I will add photos of this area soon. It looks a little like a bomb went off.
The past few years, we have seen our little acre transformed. We added the vegetable garden, a wildflower meadow, a grape arbor, and a fire circle area. We built a composting fence. We hung a swing set between two trees and put in a hill slide. We could have put in a hundred hills slides; almost the whole yard is a hill.
We have tried to make the yard very kid-friendly with loose parts and places to make messes. We are going to try to preserve that freedom for them while trying to clean things up a bit and make sure no one on the upcoming garden tour breaks an ankle in one of the holes the kids have dug.
The owner before us worked at an arboretum and had landscaped most of the yard amazingly, with something constantly in bloom year-round, but the gardens then sat neglected for a while. The first few years we were here we spent in awe, trying to rapidly ID everything so we would know how to care for it and be able decide how to manage everything that was overgrown. My dad, upon looking around the yard one summer, asked “Aren’t you ever afraid nature will just take over?” I had to laugh at that. It definitely is not your typical lot in an subdevelopment with an HOA, but we have managed to pull it off so far. If only we could talk our HOA into allowing chickens or miniature goats, we’d be all set…
I will probably have a lot of gardening and nature study posts this spring as we’ll be spending an inordinate amount of time outdoors working on our projects. Hope you return to see our progress!