All Things Gardening forum: Excited about Spring!

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Name: Sean B
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
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Whitebeard
Apr 17, 2017 7:06 PM CST
Hope is never so pregnant for me than it is early spring. And this year I think I'm having twins.

I've arrived into the fourth year of gardening in this still newish place to me. Finally, I'm thinking, I'm hoping, I've figured out the soil, the sun, the shade, the water requirements, the pesky grazing, digging, stomping animals, the weeds, the mulch, the compost, and the odd quirks of certain placements...at least just enough to stand a chance at building on what I started and re-shuffling that which isn't working to make it really look like a gardener lives here. I've been transplanting and dividing, and regularly checking for that which did or didn't survive the winter. I've also been planting a few new things. And the best thing is that most of the really hard work is done.

To give you some idea, here's what I began with; the front:

Thumb of 2017-04-18/Whitebeard/62d2ad


Thumb of 2017-04-18/Whitebeard/407f9b


Thumb of 2017-04-18/Whitebeard/94858b

The back:

Thumb of 2017-04-18/Whitebeard/de54e2

These spots are a few of the new gardens I've got going now (and already looking much better!). And I'm just putting it out there, this is the year. I'm thinking it's a bit of an odd thing this excitement of mine, but as to not feel like the only odd ball around, I'd figure I'd put it out there. Anyone else feeling similarly?

Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Apr 17, 2017 7:50 PM CST
You are a bit ahead of me, but there is nothing like Spring. It looks like you have a lot of nice areas to work with.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Apr 18, 2017 6:24 PM CST
And you're both ahead of me... still waiting for weather that really feels nice enough to spend much time outside!

Sean, it looks like you have some beautiful property to work with! Thumbs up
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Name: Sean B
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
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Whitebeard
Apr 18, 2017 7:16 PM CST
Thanks, Sandy! If you check some of my photos, you'll see it's already been way transformed. But it does carry a serious learning curve. I'm excited that I seem to be getting there!
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 18, 2017 7:19 PM CST
35 years ago, when we moved into our 'forever' home, I had a 20 year plan (it was a couple acres after all). At the end of 20 years, I had a 25 year plant. At the end of 25 years, I had a 30 year plan....

It wasn't that I was slow, but that the ultimate plan changed. I was almost there when my husband said "time to get out of California". A pretty bold statement for 2 native borns, the children of native borns.

He wanted to go to Oregon but our children both lived in Reno (only 9 miles from California). We found a house, brand new (again) and started over. We have been here 4 years now and the plan has only changed once. Smiling

I'm getting too old for the plan to change too many times more.

My point is, yards are never forever. The plants grow and change; our tastes change (how many times have you rearranged the furniture?). Don't be afraid to change the plan. Its what keeps us young.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 18, 2017 7:49 PM CST
Thank You! for the acorn!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
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conniepr27
Apr 18, 2017 8:13 PM CST
Sean, I am definitely feeling the same. Last Spring, I was eagerly awaiting my newly revamped flowerbeds along the back yard fence. I think was a huge project (for me) and I really wanted to see it. It was a great success, but still needed a bit of tweaking. Which I did. Now, this summer, I am again waiting to see how it looks. I am also excited about it. I don't have as much space as you do, but I can certainly relate!

Before (although this was already my creation as a beginner gardener):
Thumb of 2017-04-19/conniepr27/e633e2

After (first summer after the revamp -- 2016):
Thumb of 2017-04-19/conniepr27/120fc3

And there are at least seven new plants that will have (hopefully) survived their first winter and will be thriving in there this summer. Definitely excited to see it!

Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
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Weedwhacker
Apr 18, 2017 10:11 PM CST
Daisy, I'm definitely feeling the "I'm getting too old for the plan to change too many times more" thing, too! Sighing!
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 18, 2017 10:22 PM CST
Connie, I love what you accomplished! Lovey dubby
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
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conniepr27
Apr 19, 2017 5:18 AM CST
Thanks, Daisy!
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Apr 19, 2017 5:33 AM CST
That's just beautiful! I'm feeling a bit of envy!
Name: Sean B
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
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Whitebeard
Apr 19, 2017 3:35 PM CST
Wow, Connie, that's lovely. No wonder you're excited. Even the edging is great. Are you dealing with critters there, or are you sufficiently protected to avoid that challenge? And I'm amazed that you got such wonderful results so quickly. Nice job. I tip my hat to you.
Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
Dragonflies Ferns Region: Canadian Peonies Bookworm Clematis
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conniepr27
Apr 19, 2017 3:55 PM CST
Thanks, Sean. I worked hard at studying what plants work in my area and researched a lot for the first five years I lived here (moved here in 2008), then started experimenting, moving things around; then realised there wasn't enough color through the whole growing season, studied some more, researched some more, and then, in 2015, I felt I knew enough to do a big overhaul to get what I wanted. So, it was certainly a long process, it just came together fast once I figured it all out. It's become a hobby for me to see what I can improve. It's an expensive hobby. I've been spending on average $500 a year on new plants and soil improvements, including a lot of bark mulch to keep the cats out and weeds to a minimum.

Critters? Well, in the winter we get deer and moose wandering through occasionally, but they want the berries off the mountain ash tree and they don't usually stick around town much when the weather warms up. Not sure why. There are a few bunnies (or, jack rabbits), but they haven't bothered much either. They chewed off the bases of my mom's Clematis last year, but not mine. So, I can't say the animals are a problem for me. Yet. The slugs found me a few years ago and last year they destroyed my big leaf hostas and some of my Ligularia's, lupins and Columbines. Now, those I'm going to be on the war path for this year! Angry

How about you? You have a larger space, so the animals might wander in more?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Apr 19, 2017 4:43 PM CST
Connie, I agree that your flowers are gorgeous!

However, as a fellow northerner, I have a question about how you did the edging... did you do an elaborate prep of digging, filling with sand, leveling, etc., or did you just do a shallow trench to bury the stones (or blocks, I'm not sure what you have there)?

Maybe I should be asking how much would you charge to come fix my gardens!! Whistling
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
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conniepr27
Apr 19, 2017 4:54 PM CST
LOL, thanks, Sandy! No, my edging is the lazy and cheap man's version of edging! It's leftover ledger stone for fireplace facing! Rolling on the floor laughing I used them and loved the look so much I went on kijiji, an online garage sale type of listing, and bought other people's left overs, as well, and continued to use it in all my beds. There is the black plastic edging buried in there, then the ledger stone edging laying on top. The grass does still try to grow towards the beds and I have to go along all the edges once or twice a summer to clean it all up again, but I find it works for me. Putting piles of cut grass clippings and/or hard cardboard cut to shape under the ledger stone also slows down the grass trying to grow up under there.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Apr 19, 2017 5:11 PM CST
Connie, that makes me so happy!! DH swears that putting any kind of edging around the garden beds is going to require a monumental amount of preparation... Thanks for giving me the "courage" to go ahead and do my own thing. Worst case scenario, the way I see it, is I'll have to re-do it. nodding
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Apr 20, 2017 3:36 AM CST
@conniepr27 I love how your flower bed has turned out. Beautiful. So much color. If you don't mind sharing, what are the tall flowers? Are the blue ones Delphinium?
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Connie
Edmonton, Alberta area (Canada (Zone 3a)
Cat Lover Butterflies Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Daylilies Plays in the sandbox
Dragonflies Ferns Region: Canadian Peonies Bookworm Clematis
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conniepr27
Apr 20, 2017 5:33 AM CST
Thanks, Jeanne. Yes, those are delphiniums, the only thing in that area that was original to the property when we bought it (other than the mountain ash tree), although I have divided the one original clump and another one from the other side of the yard and spread them out along that fence.

Sean, sorry, I didn't mean to monopolize the original intent of your post. I know there are a lot of other gardeners who get excited about seeing their new plants coming up after the long winter. But I wonder, is it just those of us who get the colder winters where everything tender dies right off? The ones who live in the warmer climates where things are green 12 months of the year probably don't feel the same way.
Name: Sean B
Riverhead, NY (Zone 7a)
Plays in the sandbox Xeriscape Herbs The WITWIT Badge Composter Garden Photography
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Whitebeard
Apr 20, 2017 4:48 PM CST
No apologies needed at all Connie! You've enriched the discussion and brought hope and joy. What a treat to have been left the delphiniums, and so good that you left them. Sometimes make-overs have a way of eradicating even the good.

And I sure agree that heightened excitement about spring comes after the barren and cold winters.

Here's the left portion of the slope from last year. Hoping for better this year!
Thumb of 2017-04-20/Whitebeard/432426

Name: Abbey
Eastern New York State (Zone 6a)
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Garden10
Apr 20, 2017 5:08 PM CST
Sean, I'm feeling it in a way I never have. Spring at my old house meant noise and vandalism and anxiety attacks. Here in my new home, first spring here and full summer, it's a whole other ballgame. I love rainy days, and it's going to rain tomorrow, but I wish it wouldn't, because there is SO MUCH that needs to be done with this property, and I can't do too much at one time, so I like to get some stuff done every day. I finally put some herbs in, and I don't want to wish my life away, but man, the 3 weeks or so until the flowers and veggies and all can go in? Can't even wrap my head around it, seems like Christmas will come sooner! Smiling Has anyone ever read Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim? I can't imagine anyone with any love of gardening and good writing not loving this book. I'll spend tomorrow like she spent those long winters and rainy spring days -- planning, planning and planning!
"Every now and then I leave the book on the seat and go and have a refreshing potter among my flower beds from which I return greatly benefited, and with a more just conception of what is worth bothering about, and what is not." The Solitary Summer -- Elizabeth von Arnim

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