unidentified growing objects

Now that the weather is really warming up and we’ve had a bunch of rain, things are starting to really get growing. As they do, we can see what’s there at our new place and that helps with my in-progress plan for the yard and future gardens.

Some of the plants look familiar, but others I’m not certain about. If anyone recognizes any of these, please let me know!

These mushrooms popped up in the corner of the fenced-in section of our backyard – they look like morels, but are they really the edible kind?
Look what's growing in our backyard! Is this a morel, a false morel, or something else?

This planter in the corner of the back yard has, I believe, some kind of Sage/Salvia and on the right, a hosta.
planting bed in back yard

Next to the garage, there’s a shrub of some kind and a lot of what look like lilies.
behind garage

Does this shrub look familiar to anyone?
close up of shrub behind garage

On the side of the garage, mixed in with other stuff, is this:
unidentified plant growing next to garage -  keep or junk?
It’s not clear to me if it’s a planted-on-purpose or a volunteer. Anyone recognize it?

Further around that side I found some milkweed! I’m so excited and I hope we’ll see some monarchs!
milkweed growing next to garage!

From the thorny wood on these plants up front, I’m assuming they’re roses:
by the front door - roses, I think

These are also up front (other side of the door), and I believe might be Coneflower/Echinacea:
unidentified plant next to front door - maybe coneflower?

And on the east side of the house, there are a couple of shrubs that seem to be doing quite well despite being planted REALLY close to the house:
unidentified shrubs on east side of house

This one has huge buds on it already! Anyone know what it is?
close up of shrub on east side of house

If not, we’ll be able to tell soon when it blossoms.

These two things are nearby, and both of these look like they could be weeds? Or maybe the one in the rear is an ornamental grass of some kind?
unidentified plants (weeds?) on east side of house

This small tree (or is it a shrub?) is out front, struggling to get sun while competing with the very large maple tree:
unidentified tree in front yard

Anyone recognize these leaves?
close up of unidentified tree in front yard

We measured everything out so I can make an aerial view plan and decide where future garden beds will be. All in all, I’m so excited about the possibilities! For now, there’s FAR TOO MUCH grass to mow (and our current mower is on its deathbed, so we’ve been eking out what little juice the battery will hold, mowing section by section, until our new mower arrives), but it does look pretty nice! It will likely be quite awhile before we can afford the adorable white picket fence (having a double lot is awesome! but it’s big!), but I can certainly plan my plantings around that so that when we do have it installed, we won’t wreck anything. I’m going to go for an English cottage garden style while using predominantly native plants from this area – any suggestions for things I should grow?

New home

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vines be gone

We are making progress on removing the vines from the side of the house in preparation for the new roof!

My first reaction when we saw the vines was, “kill it with fire!” but since we can’t use bluebell flames (or Lumos Solem, if we’re talking movies) on these, we’re going old school with loppers, pruners, and a hand saw.

As you can see here, they were pretty out of control (this pic is from a previous year but the growth is not too different):
realtor 23

I was super surprised at, for the most part, how easily the vines came off! I started snipping really carefully, but then K just started grabbing and pulling and – to my (happy) surprise – they came off without a huge amount of hassle and they didn’t bring any chunks of mortar with them. Some of the roots were formed into the shape of the bricks they were on – there were little square shapes where they went along the mortar lines (but thankfully did not invade the mortar).

Vine removal day one

I recognize most of these vines as some variety of wintercreeper (Euonymous) – the same plant I used to cover the ugly metal back fence at our home downstate! Its aggressive vertical climbing and clinging habit was great for that setting, but definitely not ideal for use on a structure like a house. Part of the vines are something else, though – the section on the left hand side are something that has much thicker trunk/stem, some of which is nestled tightly into the corner where the kitchen nook juts off the back of the house (just to the left of the electrical box). K successfully sawed through the thickest part so that the upper part is now completely severed from the roots. Hopefully both parts will die a bit and make it easier to get it off the brick!

vines on house

We don’t have a ladder yet (had one, but it’s still in storage and won’t fit in our cars, so it will have to wait or just not come back – a new ladder is on order and should arrive soon) but there’s only a bit of stuff left that we’ll be able to get down once it’s here. So far only one of the screens was significantly infested with vine roots and we’ve had that fixed, so we can now open any of the first-floor windows and get a nice breeze going. Which will be important, since we move in less than a week and there’s no central air (yet – someday)!

vines mostly cleared away

We now have some big piles of branches that I need to trim and stack, but it’s been super rainy so I haven’t gotten to it yet. I did take advantage of the wet weather to pull out the roots of the vines, so I need to figure out some mulch or something for that area so it doesn’t sprout a million weeds.

vines somewhat cleared away

I also need to figure out a plan for what we want to grow in this area – I’m thinking maybe we can borrow some Pachysandra sprouts from my folks, since they have a lot of it and it won’t grow too tall or climb. This area may prove to be too sunny for it – but we’ll have to wait and see.

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review: The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden

We are getting pretty close to being homeowners again, and one of the main things I’m excited about it having room to garden again. Apartment living has been easy and low maintenance, but I miss being in the garden and the exercise I get when I have yard work to do. So of course I’ve been making mental plans for things I can grow in our new yard and how to lay it out and what makes sense. Aside from a few gigantic old trees, there isn’t a lot of existing landscaping to speak of (and what there is consists of vines and stuff growing directly on the house, so that will be coming out immediately as soon as we take possession) so it’s close to a blank slate, just waiting for me to do something with it. This means, of course, that I want to have a clear plan in mind before I start putting things in the ground. Part of that plan will be vegetables, which led me to finding this book: The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb.

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden

Having started some pretty ambitious garden projects at our previous house, I want to try to keep things manageable this time. I can always expand later! So the idea of a smaller veggie bed is appealing, even if it’s not exactly a postage stamp (the new house is on a double lot so I’ll have a lot of room for various types of gardens). A lot of the content in this book is perfect for the stage I’m currently in: planning. Taking the time to think about what you want to get out of the garden is useful in making priorities and determining what will fit well in the space you have allocated. There are some nicely illustrated example garden beds included here ranging from 4′ x 4′ to 8′ x 10′, as well as ideas for using containers instead of beds. There’s also some great basic information here about preparing your soil and other tips on creating a conducive environment for growing veggies. A large portion of this book is devoted to heirloom veggies and herbs, with growing tips, typical pitfalls, and other basic information. The final section is related information on companion planting, natural pest control, and composting. Good stuff all around! I’d for sure recommend this book for someone planning a new veggie garden, especially if that person is a newb to gardening, and I’m finding it useful myself as I plan for our new place!

Full disclosure: reviewed from a complimentary copy provided by Blogging for Books.

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