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Chris and I have been rocking out the outdoor projects for the past couple of months. We built a short fence out of cedar (which smells just like pencil shavings) around our A/C units with a gate so we could access the water faucet back there but also dampen some of the noise from the machines. It seems to work on both counts and gives us a little hidden storage and a nice clean look there. It also makes our patio seem a little more enclosed and private and so we've been contemplating not building a deck on top of it but rather tiling over the concrete (because I've seen it done and it looks super easy) and maybe later installing French doors in place of the dining room windows and building a covered deck over there. Regardless, we have got to rebuild our back steps ASAP. They're rotting and falling apart and they were a hazard even when they were brand new because of the odd angle at which they were built, so that needs to be fixed.

In building that little fence (by the way, we feel like total experts on fence construction now), we had to move the ornamental grasses that were there in front of the A/C units before and after much contemplation and consideration, I decided to create a new garden there that would envelope the little Japanese maple we had planted out from there before. I rearranged the grasses so they curved around creating a backdrop for the maple and I really like how it turned out. It needs more plants, but for now, it looks great! We finished it off with some mulch this past weekend while Chris' parents were here to keep Jonah entertained. I have a strong desire to plant some hardy ornamental banana trees there.

Also, on Saturday, we mulched and weeded the garden that's under the dining room windows and now borders the new A/C fence and this new garden. I need to get some summer annuals in there pronto, but it looks good for now, as the gladioli and cannas have risen and are thriving in all this rain (as is everything else). Just before dusk, we managed to get two flats of veggies and herbs planted into our now six 4'x4' plots for such. We went to Flowers Nursery out Briley this time (they've supplied All Seasons with their heirloom tomato plants in years past). They sell all their stuff in 4 packs of plants, so we wound up with 8 types of tomatoes, 8 types of peppers (though we missed a habanero and will need to remedy that), 2 types of eggplant, 1 each of zucchini, straight neck yellow squash and cucumbers. We planted the 4 packs little clusters that we'll sort of grow as one plant. I've never tried anything like this before, so we'll see how they do. It sure was much cheaper!

We picked up basil, tarragon and dill to put in our herb bed along side the peppermint, chocolate mint, thyme, oregano, parsley and sage we had there last year. Last year's basil plants turned into a huge shrub that crowded out our blueberry bushes. We'll see if these do as well.

Apart from all that, about a month ago I planted seeds in rows for 4 types of lettuces (a romaine, a bibb, and two types of leaf lettuce), a mix of 3 types of baby cabbages (red, green and savoy), a baby bok choy, cilantro (yes, a whole row of it) and green onions. I'm going to try to do successive plantings of those until it gets too hot for them to thrive.

We didn't get around to moving our raspberries, so I'm just going to have to be vigilant about keeping them contained. They really need their own space. They triple in size every year. I'd also like to start an asparagus bed.

Also, have I mentioned how much I absolutely love our garden shed!? We picked it up the weekend Chris bought his truck and got it all set up and stocked and I just totally love having it there. Again, it's really provided great storage in a tidy package, just like the fence around the A/C units. I sure hope I have before pictures of our yard when we bought this house somewhere. There was seriously no landscaping done when we first bought the place. We now have 7 gardens and we've planted 6 trees, 6 crepe myrtles and 15 shrubs, not counting the ones we've lost or the blueberries and raspberries.

I absolutely love this time of year. All the leaves are in, the growth is exponential with each rain and everything is still lush and new before the summer heat and drought comes.
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mellymell

May 2011

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