"One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it brings."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Doesn't everyone put fences up in the snow?

I complained in my previous post about the cold and snowy weather that we've had.  We tried to work around it the best we could and are just so happy that we got so much done the previous weekend.  It's frustrating when you have the time and the supplies but don't have the weather.  I'm sure we could have gotten everything finished by the end of this weekend had it not been record breaking cold weather.  But enough of the complaining, instead I'll focus on what we did get accomplished over the last several days.

We have one of the grow lights up (and a heat mat) and started seeds on February 22.  Within two days we had seeds germinating, including the tomatoes and cantaloupe seeds from Diana.  After this picture was taken we started 2 types of Sweet Peas, and Dahlia seeds from Alison.  All four of us have been checking on the seeds on a regular basis.  I plan to get more started in another week or two.

A few days ago knowing it would be too cold to work outside, we thought we'd paint picket panels inside the garage.  We got almost 4 done and decided it was just too cold for that.

 We awoke to snow on Friday.  So of course we thought we'd start putting up the panels.  Doesn't everyone go out and start putting a fence together in 30 degree weather?  We got a few panels up and decided that would be enough.

 At the end of Friday we'd put up three panels.  Saturday we worked in the cold again and got three more panels installed.  Actually two of those had to be custom built by my husband because the slope was too steep to use the premade panels.

And this is how it looks right now.  I'm very excited with how it's turning out.  The slope on the far side of the yard made for lots of challenges getting the fence installed.  Our yard slopes down to the sidewalk and then down to the left when you face our house.

 The view from the "court yard".  Soon there will be a gate and arbor where the tall posts are.

Today it was in the low 40's while we worked.  It was surprising just how warm that felt after the last few days we worked outside.  The rain started pouring after we finished today.  I can't wait until the whole fence is painted.

If all goes well next weekend we hope to get the last panel in, the two gates up and the soil in the beds.  We're still hoping we can have it all finished before the in-laws are here the weekend after that.  The fence painting will have to wait for a couple of months or until we get some warmer and drier weather.
All words and photos property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Friday, February 25, 2011

Give away winner and some snow.

The weather has not been cooperating with us this week.  We had big plans to complete our project by the end of this weekend, but instead we have had snow and record low temperatures for the third day in a row.  We're hoping we might be able to get just a little more done tomorrow, before it's supposed to snow again.  Nothing you can do about the weather I know, but still it's frustrating when it doesn't cooperate.

Since my husband has been working so hard this week on our garden and in such cold conditions I thought I'd let him be the one to draw the name of the CSN giveaway winner.  All the names were put into a colander and he reached in and picked out Shirley of Edmonton, Canada.  Her blog is The Gardening Life.  Congratulations Shirley!  Take a visit to her blog to see some real snow.  Our four inches is nothing compared to what she's gotten.

 The frozen pond.

 Snowy path.

 Daffodils getting close to blooming.

 Blueberry bushes covered in snow.

 Winter sowing under the snow.

 I've been alerted by several people that my blog is one of the ones being copied and posted onto another "blog".  It's very frustrating that there are people that want to make money off of another person's work, especially since I don't make a penny from my blog, it's for fun.  I'm trying to figure out how to report the blog but can only get so far before there seems to be a dead end with the report abuse page.  If anyone has any suggestions on what to do I'd appreciate it.
All words and photos in this post are property of A Gardener in Progress. Pin It

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Northwest Flower and Garden Show - Part 2

Here is part 2 of the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.  I've seen a few posts by other bloggers and have enjoyed seeing what they saw, showing things I missed and their take on the show.  So far it seems that everyone has loved it.  I know more garden bloggers will be attending over the next few days and I can't wait to see what you thought about it and your pictures.
Continuing on the "Once Upon a Time..." theme here are a few more gardens.  There are quite a few display gardens that aren't pictured in either post, as well as smaller displays, container gardens, orchids and bonsai displays.

"Rain, rain, go away...P.S. Come again!" by Artistic Garden Concepts and Van Zanten Landscapes is a formal rain garden.  The rain chains were made from colored bottles that feed into underground drainage systems that will fill up the pond area in the center as it rains.

One of the living arches.

"Alice in Wonderland" by Innovative Landscape Technologies was probably my kids favorite.  There was so much detail right down to the painted floors which led through the display.

The white rabbit in his fancy cage surrounded by Hyacinths.

The tea party scene.

The Queen of Hearts at the entrance to "Alice's Labyrinth" by Cedar Grove Composting.

"Stepping Through a Timeless, Tranquil Forest" by Kinssies Landscaping had huge trees and boulders that felt very much like the Northwest.  This was one of those displays where I wondered how in the world they got everything in and set up.  Really beautiful!

"Once Upon a Thyme" by Wight's Nursery

Another visitor told us these bags the strawberries are growing in are oat bags that are used to feed horses.

Toadstool table and stools were probably the Littlest Gardener's favorite thing in the whole show.  We had to go back to look at them a few times.

"Run Little Pigs, Run" by Susan Browne Landscape design was very fun with lots of creativity. This is the straw house, of course there was a house made of sticks and one of bricks as well.

The Big Bad Wolf's house was in the tree stump to the left.  You had to get down on your hands and knees to peer inside.

"The Frog Prince with 'greenstyle' " by WALP King County Chapter.

The kids play area with a theme of "Charlotte's Web" was so cute.  Lots of projects for kids to do.  All those galvanized containers will full of real vegetables for the kids to put in toy wheelbarrows and cart to different parts of the area.  On the weekend they will have live entertainment for the kids as well.

Of course we couldn't leave empty handed.  A few Daylilies that will be planted in the bed along the driveway.

 A stone bunny for the vegetable garden, a rooster stake made of recycled metal and my husband's new tool called a hoe-dag.  It reminds me of a mini pick-ax.

We ended up with a couple of inches of snow last night and we started painting our picket panel sections in the garage today.  My husband is still determined to get this project finished this weekend no matter what the weather.  We'll have only more weekend after this one to hopefully have it all wrapped up before his family arrives for a visit.  As of right now it's really snowing, hoping this is the last of it this winter.
Here's your last chance to enter the giveaway too.  Click here to enter.  The winner will be announced later in the day on Friday. Pin It

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Northwest Flower and Garden Show - Part 1

After a full day of enjoying the Northwest Flower and Garden Show all I know is that I'm inspired!  The theme this year was "Once Upon a Time..."  We spent about 6 hours there, and definitely could have spent another full day to enjoy more of the gardens and hear some speakers.  Our whole family went and even the Littlest Gardener who is only 4 found something fun to look at in every garden.  In each display garden there is a pig hidden, some were quite difficult to find, but having something to keep the kids actively interested was a brilliant idea by whoever came up with it.
I thought I would split this into a couple of posts since there is no way I could narrow it down to just a few pictures.  There were so many great ideas, even my husband had his phone out to take pictures of things he thought he might want to try.

"Paradise (to be) Regained ...borrowing from Thoreau" was designed by a high school senior for her senior project.  It was just amazing and she had all sorts of things that were "re-characterized" used materials for the garden.  There were street names of well known Seattle streets on and in the house. 

All drought tolerant plants in the garden with crushed gravel paths.  In the background you can see two old radiators used as the entry.   This garden got one of our votes for people's choice award.

Another favorite was "A Day Well Spent" by Christianson's Nursery & Greenhouse.  It was meant to represent the charm of old small family nurseries.

Inside the cute potting shed.

A small greenhouse on wheels full of seedlings.

We spent a lot of time at this one, it was just full of inspiration.

"Wind in the Willows:  A River Odyssey" was done by a favorite from previous garden shows; Fancy Fronds.

Love the daisies in the grass!

Blown glass Cat tails in front of the river.

"Life's Journey in a Garden" by Plantswoman Design had a lot of dark/black plants and golden foliage.  The colors were very striking together.

I love the rusty grid that was turned into a raised planter.

"Wish Shoe Were Here"  by APLD, Washington Chapter.  Can you see the shoe?

I'll share another post with a few more of the display gardens.  Of course it's hard to walk through a garden show without buying anything and there were so many vendors there I could've spent 2 days just looking at what was for sale.  There was also a really nice kids play area with the theme of Charlotte's Web.
By the time we arrived home the snow started and now the streets are white.
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Fence posts are in!

We were able to get much more accomplished than I thought we would today.  According to the forecast this was going to be the last dry day for awhile and then it looks like we'll probably see some snow for a few days.  Now I don't mind if it snows since we still have next weekend to finish.  My husband dug all 12 post holes by hand since we had to be careful of cable lines that we knew were near by.  (Make sure you have all utilities marked before you dig, otherwise you could make an expensive mistake.)  Luckily they were marked correctly and we never found any as we dug.

 There was lots of measuring done between the sidewalk and from post to post so that it will be evenly spaced.  Good thing my husband was in charge of that part because I get too excited to get everything done and forget about spacing.

 Just setting the posts in the holes was exciting to have an idea of how it would look.

 Here are those same posts set in concrete.  At this point we did lots of leveling to be sure the posts were in straight.

 We'll be putting two more posts in on the walkway to the house.  They will be installed with special brackets and screws that go right through the concrete.

 The two tall posts will become an arbor and a gate.  Our yard slopes downhill to the left as you're looking at the house which made getting things even a little tricky.

The fun part of hanging the picket panels and getting the soil in the beds and around the fence will hopefully happen next weekend if the weather cooperates.
The Great Backyard Bird Count finished today, but we really didn't have a day to spend much time counting which is too bad since there were a lot of birds out today.  I didn't get a chance to take any pictures either.  We only had about 15 minutes each day to really count which is the minimum time, but we'll still turn our results in.   There weren't any unusual birds for our area and as I predicted we saw lots of American Robins.  I'll try to put our count up sometime this week. Pin It

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Front garden progress - Raised beds and gravel.

We've had some very sunny days here lately and I've been taking advantage or them as much as possible.  I spent Friday out in the back garden cleaning out the pond and enjoying signs of spring back there.  The string algae has already started taking over the pond, it seems to be worse this time of year.  I got most of the pond plants cut back and noticed some baby fish from last year swimming around.

We are focusing so much attention on the front yard that I don't want to forget to enjoy what's happening in the back.  Crocuses are blooming as well as Daffodils and Bleeding Hearts are quickly growing in.
Now onto the front garden:
I left off on the last post "The lawn is gone" showing that we had removed all of the sod and were left with two big piles.  Luckily I got two great suggestions at the end of that post with what we could do with it and we used both ideas.  Eileen mentioned using leftover sod at the bottom of beds they had put in years ago and it decomposed into nice soil.  We filled the bottom third of these beds with the sod put in upside down.  Tina suggested putting it on an internet listing - she uses freecycle, but we tried craigslist.  We had two people take quite a bit to use for their own projects.  That saved a day of renting a truck, paying dump fees and many hours of moving the sod again.  This is what I love about blogging - all these great ideas I would never have thought of.

 Here the beds had been set in place.  We spent Saturday morning putting the beds together in weather in the upper 30's, very cold but the sun was out

The beds had been set into the ground at this point.  It was a lot of work because the ground under the lawn was rock and then hard clay.  My husband had the smart idea of having the crushed gravel dumped right into place rather than the driveway where we usually have deliveries left.

Whoever says women are bad drivers never saw our awesome dump truck driver maneuver this truck around and then dump the gravel exactly where we wanted it.  She was amazing.

 This was the beginning of Sunday.  It was very cold the night before and everything including the pile of gravel froze.  While we waited for things to thaw we put down more landscape fabric and moved the last big pile of sod to the driveway where it's going to be picked up tomorrow.  I don't ever want to pick up sod again.

We also put in this edging to keep the gravel out of where the fence and soil will be, once the soil is in it should barely be noticeable.

Between the raised be and the edging it's nice and filled in with gravel.

 Here's the muscle moving some of the 7 yards of crushed gravel.  He really lived up to his name today.  This area will have a small table and chairs and lots of planters in it.  We're calling it the courtyard.

 By the end of Sunday that whole pile of gravel was gone!  It was such a relief when it was finally all cleaned up.

Sweet Pea on a well deserved break.  We were able to get everything and then some accomplished that we had planned for the weekend.

My husband has taken the week off in hopes of getting everything finished.  Of course we now have snow and below freezing weather (10 to 20 degrees below normal) predicted for most of the week so hopefully we can still get everything done on the good days.  Our plan for tomorrow is to start some post holes.  We wanted to use an auger but found that we'll have to be careful because of lines that run near where we want to put them.  Then we are taking a few days off to have fun and make a trip into the Flower and Garden Show.
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