prehistoric

I recently transplanted some hostas to the garden area on the north side of the garage. Hostas always make me think of ancient plants – they just seem sort of old school – so I decided that they could use some accessories to really bring that feeling.

Dinos in the garden

At one of the yard sales we visited last weekend, I picked up a ziplock of assorted plastic toys for a quarter, and these three dudes were in there. I think they fit in quite nicely and I’ll be keeping my eye out for some additional dinos to go with them. You can also see here that a bunch of the dollar store seeds I planted are sprouting!

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veg update

The raised bed is doing well despite my not giving it much attention – wahoo!

Raised bed growing (and in some cases being eaten)

Some of the lettuce seeds grew and are ready for me to be harvesting them. I’ve got to remember to actually do it one of these days.

Raised bed growing (and in some cases being eaten)

Some of the carrot seedlings show signs of having been nibbled on – I’m not sure what did it, but I thinned them out anyway so hopefully a few will grow.

Raised bed growing (and in some cases being eaten)

The cukes are off to a good start. I need to give them some tomato cages pretty soon so they can have something to cling to.

Raised bed growing (and in some cases being eaten)

This pumpkin plant seems to be very happy!

Raised bed growing (and in some cases being eaten)

The cauliflower looks like it has been a delicious snack for something, too. More thinning required here, obvs.

I am excited to see if I get any actual edibles from this garden this year. I’ve been trying to be diligent with watering since we’ve had such a dry month of June. Here’s hoping!

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milkweed

The milkweed that was here when we moved in has survived! It’s been mistreated – nearly dug up and/or run over while the walkways were being put in, not to mention the jostling it got when we pulled out the wisteria last year.

Milkweed

I’ve got three good-sized plants of it growing, and they’re even flowering this year!

Milkweed

The blossoms are looking pretty droopy here due to the extremely high temperatures we’ve been experiencing.

Milkweed

I haven’t seen any monarchs or eggs yet, but hopefully they will come eventually!

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Spirea Spreading

This Spirea next to the garage has gotten too big for its britches!

Firefly Cottage - Spirea

It needs to be moved or divided – I’m wondering if I could just split off some bits from around the edge to start as new plantings elsewhere, so I wouldn’t have to dig the entire thing up? I’m guessing that I should wait until fall when it’s done blooming before I do anything to it. Anyone have suggestions or advice to share?

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walkways complete!

I’m back from a week away at a conference in Bozeman, and while I was gone the walkway project was completed – at least this portion of the work. As you’ll see, there’s still some things that need to be done (grass! gardens!).

Firefly Cottage

Out front, we have a lovely red stamped concrete pathway that goes all the way from the street to the front door.

Firefly Cottage

It leads right up to the front steps and the patio area up here is now slightly larger than it was with the pavers.

Firefly Cottage

On the side of the house, we went with a regular concrete (less spendy!), had the pathway moved out farther from the house and widened, and added a horseshoe-ish path going on either side of the garage to the existing slabs.

Firefly Cottage

We also had all the downspouts buried (in the yard [dirt] you can see the green pop-ups where they’ll drain when it’s raining) while we were at it.

Firefly Cottage

This horseshoe-ish shape means that when we have folks over, they can park on the slab in front of the garage and have a walkway to get to the house instead of having to traverse the alley (which is dirt) or the grass. The areas between the garage and the horseshoe will be gardens rather than grass.

Firefly Cottage

We also have a much better walkway to the back gate. The gate was moved over along with the walkway, so it’s all farther away from the side of the house – before it was so close you felt like you were going to run into the house with your elbow if you weren’t careful. And the window well back here was a huge hazard! No longer!

Firefly Cottage

That window well is now well back from the pathway, hooray! I’ll also be planting in this area between the walkway and the house. I need to decide what to plant there. I don’t want anything that will climb up the house (remember all the horrible tenacious vines that we cleared off the house? Remnants of the roots are still clinging to the brick!) or be too bushy – but I do want perennials that pretty much take care of themselves once established. Any suggestions?

Firefly Cottage

Great news! Despite being dug up/disturbed over the winter when we had the basement/exterior drainage system installed, and being disturbed again during this project, the roses are thriving! I had expected them to die, but they’re looking amazing. I’m so pleased!

Firefly Cottage

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surprise sprouts

The seeds I planted in the raised bed are sprouting! We’ve had pretty great weather for this – warm (hot!) and with a good amount of rain (we’ve also been watering with the hose as needed, of course).

Raised bed sprouts

I’m excited to see that things are growing, anyway, though. Growing things from seed is always fun for me. I also wasn’t sure if any/many of the seeds might get eaten by critters, but so far my fence seems to be working. There are some blades of grass making their way up through the soil (I really should have mowed it lower before starting! oh well) that I will need to continue to pull out, but not a lot of weeds yet. Hooray for that!

The surprising bit is this:

Actual leaves sprouting on the thought-dead tree!

There are a couple of leaflets poking out on the thought-to-be-dead Harrow Sweet Pear tree! These were definitely not there last week, so maybe my paying extra attention to this tree (though I didn’t actually take any action aside from lamenting its inactivity) helped spur it to growth?

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seeds in the ground!

Last week I did not get time to put the seeds in the raised bed in the evenings as I had hoped – and then we had a freeze warning! In May! Bleh, Michigan. Luckily after the snow stopped on Sunday morning, it turned into a beautiful day and I was able to get the seeds in that afternoon.

Firefly Cottage

To recap, the things I’m growing this season will be somewhat limited – living with the means of the space I have here, and I’m not feeling ambitious enough to care for more than one bed this year. Even as it is, I’ve packed in a ton of stuff into this one bed! The list:

Bean ‘Blue Lake 274’
Cabbage ‘Early Golden Acre’
Carrot ‘Danvers Half Long’
Carrot ‘Scarlet Nantes’
Cauliflower ‘Snowball x’
Cucumber ‘Marketmore’
Lettuce ‘Iceberg’
Pumpkin ‘Connecticut Field’
Romaine lettuce ‘Parris Island Cos’
Spinach ‘Bloomsdale long standing’
Sweet pepper ‘Marconi’

Most of these seeds are from my big Dollar General seed sale binge last fall – the seeds were marketed for last year but I’ve always had good luck with using seeds over many years past their original selling date. The Marconi Pepper seeds I received from a swap from someone who had saved them from their own garden – I can’t remember who sent them, but thank you, swapper!

Firefly Cottage

I found these plant markers that I had picked up at the ReStore quite a long time ago, and they work very nicely! I think I still have some similar ones left from my previous garden downstate, but I am not sure where they are right now. I think these look nice and hopefully the Sharpie will stay legible. I’m so looking forward to growing edibles again!

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rabbit proof

I hope, anyway! This weekend we did a ton of work getting the raised bed ready to go. I had a bit of a rough week last week because I had to work a different schedule with extra hours and I was really burned out by the end of the day Friday.

Raised bed with rabbit fence installed

I finished filling the bed with soil, and then we installed a rabbit (and other critter) fence. I dug a trench down in the soil so the fence goes underground to hopefully prevent them from digging under it. We used our new pneumatic staple gun (with the new air compressor) to attach the fence to the posts. It was a nice project to learn how to use these tools.

Raised bed with rabbit fence installed

By no means is this project perfect, but it is functional and will work just fine, I think. The roll of rabbit fence was a bit taller than necessary (I want to be able to step over it myself), so I cut it down a bit. By happy accident, combining two layers of the cut off part was just the right length to make up for the slightly-too-short-ness of the roll itself. I used zip ties to connect the two sections so there aren’t any gaps big enough for something to squeeze through.

Raised bed with rabbit fence installed

Finally, I filled the perimeter of the inside-the-fence area so that I can easily walk around and kneel next to the bed and there won’t be unmowable grass inside. I used our trusty smothering method of laying down layers of newspaper, wetting it, and then putting a generous layer of mulch on top. I don’t love the color of this brown mulch, but it was on super sale so I was willing to compromise on aesthetics (especially as the rabbit fence itself is not gorgeous). I may plant some shorter-growth-habit climbers on the fence to pretty it up a little bit.

I’m getting excited to actually plant some things here! I was going to yesterday, but then we got a frost advisory (and I had a bunch of other things I needed to get done) so I decided to wait. Hopefully I can get things planted in the evenings after work this week.

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April showers

better bring some May flowers! It’s been super gloomy the last few days and I’m hoping for some sunnier (or at least drier) weather so I can get my raised bed all set up and filled with soil.

We did have a spot of sunshine earlier this week which brought out more tulip blooms in our yard:

Bright red! #FireflyCottage

Fingers crossed for more lovely sunshine soon!

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