Happy Monday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Life continues on here, there are ups and downs but I’m making it through (and asking for help where I need it). After a few weeks full of unusual events (death, wedding, vacation, car breaking down, etc), it has been nice to be getting back into our normal routine — I do well with stability and consistency especially when life is throwing curveballs.
For me, that very much includes getting back to home projects. October is our final month to get work done for the year on our yard, and it’s actually a good time of year to do things like planting. As you may recall, we last left off with planting our dogleaf hydrangea hedge and climbing hydrangea trellis:
When we ordered the hydrangeas, we also ordered the dogwood tree for corner by the shed, but we splurged and decided to have that delivered and installed for us because a) transporting a tree is not easy, b) I’m terrified of immediately killing an expensive tree and the installers would put in all the soil amendments needed for it to thrive, and c) digging in our yard is a real pain with all the roots and rocks. Since we had to wait for the tree to arrive and an opening in their schedule for them to install it, we weren’t quite sure when it might go in.
But last Wednesday, I got word that Friday morning they’d be coming by to put in the tree! My amazing landscape architect friend who has helped us through this process came with them to help advise on exact placement (they work for the same firm as she does; her advice has been generously free of charge but obviously we paid for their labor and the tree itself).
They wheeled it in on a dolly, we picked out the exact spot for it, and then they started digging!
Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of the whole thing because I had to leave to go to work while they were still going, but when I got home it was looking amazing.
It’s 8′ tall right now, and we will fertilize it so hopefully by the end of next season it will already be growing pretty well. And I am totally sold on sometimes paying people to do work for us (like we did with the deck) — they were so much faster and did a better job than we would have, and left it in great shape including ground stakes, mulch around the base, and putting in place our drip hose.
On Saturday, we capitalized on the momentum and took on a few more projects. First, we spent some time planting bulbs throughout the yard. We’ve never planted bulbs before, but my friend always places a bulk order for family and friends so we were able to get 225 bulbs for $75. We got a mix of crocus blue moon and rotterdam mixed daffodils:
We planted the daffodils in groupings of five bulbs in a few places like in front of the trellis, around the tree, and in the side garden bed, and the crocuses along the edges of the lawn. I was very glad to have Sam’s help!
I’m excited to hopefully have some color in the springtime, which we’ve never had in the yard before!
Now that all our plants are in, we also put down a ton of mulch to finally start defining our lawn. Even though eventually we hope to use natural groundcover instead of mulch (ie adding lots of smaller plants to cover the ground), for now mulch will protect our plants and help make the metal edging around our lawn start to make sense.
My friend suggested that we mix compost in with our mulch to add extra nutrients for all our new plants, so I picked up 17 bags of black mulch and 5 bags of compost. Whew!
I used a wheelbarrow to mix up batches of mulch and compost.
Before putting it down, I quickly raked out the hydrangea hedge — this time of year the leaves collect so quickly it’s hard to keep up! Then I got to work putting the mulch that was mixed with compost around the base of each plant.
Then Sam went in and added more mulch to fill in the rest of the space, I mulched the arbor vitae hedge on the other side of the lawn, and then we laid the drip hose back out.
It does look like a ton of mulch in comparison to the number of plants right now, but I think starting to define what will be lawn and what will be planting bed is important progress. Also, we didn’t lay down weed barrier under the mulch because we do plan to plant in it down the road, but I know this will mean grass is ultimately likely to grow through. Again, this situation is fairly temporary, but it helps us feel like we’re making progress!
We still have one more weekend this month with yard projects planned so we hope to cross just a few more things off the to-do list, but this side of the yard is looking pretty done for the year. I’m already dreaming of what comes next, but I have to admit it’s a lot of progress from where we were just this spring! (The “before” photo below is actually from when we bought the house, but it had really only gotten worse between then and this spring….)