can I get a volunteer?

The answer is yes! I already did! After we had the walkways replaced, there was (is) a lot of disturbed earth around them and some weeds and other things cropped up. Some of the plants I’d planted on purpose also got disturbed, so I sort of let things be and figured once any plant got big enough for me to determine what it was, I’d make a decision about it staying or going. When the leaves of this started to get big enough for me to identify them, I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew it looked familiar.

Volunteer ground cherry

And it turns out that it is! It’s a Ground Cherry aka Cape Gooseberry! It will fruit! I’m super geeked! I definitely didn’t plant any seeds for this anywhere, so who knows where it came from. I’ll take it!

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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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pathways and planting beds

I’m still working to put together a plan for what the yard (future gardens) might look like at Firefly Cottage. We have so much space that it’s hard to know where to start! I also know that I’ll change my mind and the plan along the way, but I need something to start from.

Firefly Cottage 2016-03-30

We are getting quotes to redo the front and side pathways (red and blue), so that’s coming along. Those will be poured concrete, and the paths that are marked in grey on this image will be some kind of gravel path that we’ll DIY. I mostly just want some easy ways to get through the yard that won’t be weed-ridden, and some kind of stone seems to be a relatively simple solution.

I’ve added the two existing apple trees we planted last fall (darker green circles) as well as some future fruit trees (medium green) I’d like to plant. I plan to keep all of these fruit trees pruned to a manageable size so we can get at the fruit on the top branches and the trees themselves don’t get too big. Grow a Little Fruit Tree has been an invaluable source for learning about this! There are also light green sections where I’ll do perennial beds. These are a SUPER rough idea of how these will go – I really don’t know what I’m doing with these yet! I think I’ll find some yard accoutrements to accent some of these beds, such as supports for climbers, which might help with focal points. Ideally I’d like to create an overall yard that is filled with garden, has little to no mowable grass, and feels like you’re surrounded by (but not smothered by) plants in that cozy cottage style. I also added a space for two raised beds at the back of the yard. I’m planning to put in one of these this year and wait until the future to add a second one. One is all I want to manage right now but I want to plan ahead for a day when I have more time to devote to veg gardening.

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