Primary Earth-friendly Gardening Tenents:

*Tolerate minimal damage to plants and lawn from pests. *Build and maintain healthy soil by using compost and natural soil amendments. *Use chemicals as a last resort. *Use native plants when possible. They are adapted to the climate, soil and area pests. *Attract Beneficial Insects to increase pollination and decrease harmful pests. *Conserve water by using responsible watering methods.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Another lovely day in the garden center.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Looking Back: Garden Projects 2012

2012 was our first spring in the new home, new state, and new hardiness zone. As I look back I now know that the weather was a complete fluke. We completed a lot more projects than I remember. Most of these projects involved clearing and hardscaping.

There was no path from the driveway to the back door, so we added a walkway
We used 24" river rock pavers that would match the use of river rock in the overall plan. 
There was no usable patio space, so we deconstructed the old patio and reset a new patio in a more usable location. We reclaimed the sand from the old site, and initially reused the canopy frame. 


The new plan has the back deck, sidewalk along the house and new pathway from the driveway all intersecting near the new patio space to improve flow.


Frech drains were added along the west side of the house where we had observed overflow during storms.


Reclaimed wall stone created a planter to divide the living space from the kitchen garden. And a small sitting area and bird feeding station were added.

The drainage areas were covered with river rock.
We pulled the broken pieces in the sidewalk along the house and offset them to their original location.
Next we filled the area with river rock to connect the overall look with the drainage plan.


We cleared, we transplanted, we reclaimed materials all over the property.



Many of the materials reclaimed from other areas of the yard where then reused in the new plan.

The perennials were transplanted into the new plan.

We brought in river rock to fill in the french drains and border areas that needed additional drainage.
We brought in a topsoil compost mix to establish the kitchen garden.


Cuttings and starts filled pots, awaiting their new homes.
And soon the plan came together.







Saturday, August 2, 2014




Year three, it is starting to come together.

Entering Year 3 in Zone 5

We are now entering our 3rd gardening season in zone 5.

The first year, 2012, was primarily spent removing invasive species, clearing rotted timbers, planning flow and soil building. We had a small vegetable garden and established blueberries and strawberries.

2013 was a building year. We added fruit trees and built up the habitat space with pollinator plants and berries. The vegetable garden was larger and the composite site was fully operational.

Inspired by the Chicago Flower & Garden Show we walked out this morning to assess the winter damage and look at spacing for a few new ideas. The bitter cold drove us back inside very quickly. This has been a harsh winter and we feel the difference 3 zones make. As friends in Portland post photos of their garden and discuss their new projects we are still covered with snow.

We are still waiting to see what has survived the winter. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

pathway flow and planning

After demolishing the old, decaying ramp style stairs we added a pathway from the garage to the back deck. There had not been any pathway connecting the sidewalk along the yard to the back driveway, or the deck stairs. This view shows the old patio space, which was also pulled out and salvaged. 
We used sand from the old patio to level the new pathway.
And I chose a broad 2 ft square river rock paver to set the pathway. The style blends well with river rock areas for transition.
Salvaged brick was used for setting the step down.
The photo above shows the transition connecting the driveway entrance to the back deck entry to the house, the sidewalk and the new patio space.

The pavers were set and sanded in before the last of the patio space was removed.
Next, the patio space was converted to garden space. The new kitchen garden was placed in the area with the most traffic flow to the kitchen.
Topsoil and compost was brought in to build up the beds.

Above is a view from the driveway.
A oomplete transformation from an unused patio space to usable garden space.


This final picture shows the transition space between the back deck, patio and kitchen garden. The area now flows from both the back driveway and the pathway along the house.