The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion

The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion
These kids know how to have fun!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fixing up: Flowers, Firepits, and Flagstone

Last Fall I developed three new flower beds, transplanting day lilies, columbine, yarrow, marigold maximus, Russian sage, and zebra grass.  I also planted about 100 bulbs in those areas east and south of the garage and along the east fence line. They are beautiful this spring, and almost everything lived through the winter, even the plants I bought in October from Four Corners Nursery. I got them for 75% off: peonies, herbs, succulents, and clemantis.

 Last year Anthony cleaned out the Choke cherry trees, so that section looks better too.  The pansies did beautifully as well, blooming in the late fall and again this spring.  I need to remember to do that in the future! The evergreens I had buried didn't root, (as seen next to garage) so I pulled those out this week and transplanted forsythia there.   Steve had trimmed back the lilacs severely so it was easier to side the garage, but they are leafing out well, and we'll have beautiful bushes by next year again.

 I moved several heavy cement dividers to edge the south bed, and then Steve helped me haul rock from the reservoir to line the other two beds.
Our next project was deciding how to develop and design the area south of our new patio, with an area for a fire pit and horse shoes. (Deciding is no small task for us!)

First Steve trimmed back the Rose of Sharon, and built a new set of stairs, and then put in a raised planter where he hopes to raise some tomatoes on trellises. This also entailed downsizing the original terraced planter beds he built some years ago, and attaching a new side wall and removing the irrigation pipes.  We planted our early crops there this year: radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale, and some herbs.

Steve leveled the ground, which sloped quite a bit, and then we used a hose to outline the edge, though I think this hose is watering strawberries!

 I was able to find a pallet of flagstone (via Blanding's 24/7 FB garage sale) out at Bert Jackson's, so that became the backbone for our pathway across the top of the garden.  I finally convinced Steve to use gravel around it, though that wasn't his preference.  It was a major breakthrough when he ordered a whole truckload of gravel and had it delivered to our barnyard.  That was a great birthday present.  I was so excited when it came, I could hardly sleep that night, anticipating all the fun of putting it in.

We bought bricks from Tri-Hurst for .62 cents each.  Steve leveled the walk way, and put the edging down, meandering it across the top of the new strawberry and raspberry patch.  Once he had the edging in, I put down the heavy gauge plastic, and we placed the flagstone.  Then we began hauling gravel.  This shows phase #1.

When we took the old green pickup out to Jacksons to get the rocks, we got it all loaded, and then it wouldn't start, so Brother Pincock was kind enough to tow us home, and there the green mean machine sat for two weeks, until we learned our lesson, and then one day it started up just fine, and Steve moved it back into the barn yard!
We were thankful again for the riding lawmower/tractor the kids got Steve when he retired, as he used it and a little dump trailer to haul the heavy rocks, as well as the gravel to our work site.

Next we tackled the fire pit.  We moved in the benches to help us decide the right distance for placement.  We got long joined bricks for the framework around the metal pit.  (We also keep one in it when not in use, so it doesn't blow away!  Hope we don't ever have a tornado, and end up with a brick in our window!)  This section took longer to do, as we had to experiment with laying the flagstone in some sort of a pattern, with the larger pieces by the benches.  These pieces were dang heavy and it took both of us to lift and  position them

I don't know how many loads of gravel we shoveled, but we had 4 cubic yards of gravel delivered, and only have about a wheelbarrow load left.  That was our weight lifting exercise for a week!

 Dad bought over 125 bricks and used all but four on the edging. 
This is how the first two-thirds looked when we got the first big section done.  I really love it, especially when I think about how trashy that corner has looked for three decades.

The last part entailed wrapping around the apple tree, and the long walk way to the chicken coop.  I'm glad we did that too, as it looks much more finished and clean.  I think we can better irrigate the apple tree too, as we've never gotten a good crop off of it.  We put porous netting under the gravel there instead of the heavy gauge plastic.  (We did get a much better crop this fall because of the increased water.)

 Another decorative garage sale find with a little water fountain.

One of our neighbor's cats posed by the lilacs, which have been so beautiful this spring. 

Love our flowering crab apple. How can a person be crabby with that in their yard?

Double Tulips!

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