Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting My Hands Dirty!

Well, it's been a week since we arrived in Oklahoma.  So, I figured I should update everyone on what has been happening.   Our first morning here would prove to be the start of a VERY BUSY week.  Although, at the pace things started you wouldn't know it.

Chris resumed feeding all of those crazy birds that showed up in three separate flocks during the winter months that we were here.  Every time I have asked if the birds had been fed, he had beat me to it....:-).  I think he likes the little fellows....:-).

I had been waiting for two months to get started doing "something" in my yard (soon to be garden) in Oklahoma and today was the day I wanted to start.  We made a trip to a local store and began to assemble our "goods".  Believe me, by the time the job was done, they were VERY happy that we started in the first place.  We STARTED with 10 bags of mulch, two bags of garden soil, and one bag of composted manure.  None of which I had every used before.  The only thing I had ever used was potting soil.  So, this was going to be an adventure!

While at the store, we picked some plants and flowers that we thought would look nice in our new "garden". We chose a coral colored Honeysuckle to help provide privacy for our new fence that we put in last year as well as this Hydrangea.


I have wanted to plant Hostas for 20 years and never did because I had such problems with cats in the planter box under my office window.  But since we had covered it in plastic on our last visit and doused it with a healthy dose of pepper, I think the cats took a different route and have gotten used to going somewhere else.  The pink and green plants are called Caladium....:-).  I thought the color combo would be nice from the street..

Petunias are also a favorite of mine.  I was running out of room to put anything, so I started piling everything up in the flower box to be sorted for their particular homes in a day or so.  Armed and dangerous, I started my adventure!

I sat the plan

And here is the finished product of the window box complete with black mulch.......:-)

We started in the front of the house and worked our way around to the back.  This is a flower bed in the very front of the house that Scootard turned the soil over and we planted some Petite Marigold Spanish Mix seeds. The package says it takes 5-7 days to germinate.  I think I saw a couple of them peeking through the soil when I checked today.....:-).  Yay!  We purchased a soaker hose the last time we were here which is what you see in the dirt.

this side of the house which faces South used to have Peony bushes and roses. Last year when we had the water line replaced, it was all torn up as the line ran right under where the plants would have come up.  I decided to just plant Peony bushes instead of roses.  The wind was so fierce that I had to stake the plants on place to keep them from being uprooted.  They took a beating, but I am happy to say that they seem to be recovering.

We purchased four flower urns and this is one of them.  this is by the back door and the plant is called "Verbena".  Now, mind you.. I have never had any of these before except for Petunias, Roses and Marigolds.  So, it will be interesting to see if the flower looks like the tag when it flowers.  It should be coming up in the summer it says....:-).

Remember these?  ha....These are the Crepe Myrtle bushes that we cut last year down to the nubbins.  I has second thoughts after we had done it as to whether I had destroyed them or not.  But as you can see, they are making a come back.....yay!

These are Lilies that we put on the side of the house where nothing had ever  been planted in the 20 years of my living here.  So, this was quite something too.  We originally had some Hostas planted here the day before, but forgot that the trees were not tall enough yet to provide the needed shade.  So, we moved them to another part of the yard and put these in along with some Mexican Heather and purple Petunias.

This is the Mexican Heather.  The tag said it was going to be just under 2 feet high and wide.  Looks kinda spindly here, but I'm sure it will be fine when it grows out.....:-)

This is Petunia. This particular picture was taken in a different part of the yard because I forget to take a picture of the one that was in this particular bed.  But the purple is about the same, just a bit deeper in color.

Chris and I found this baby gate at a second hand shop when we went on our scavenger hunt last year looking for stuff for the garden.  But how it was going to be able to stand in the garden was a mystery until we remember the Crepe Myrtle tree limbs that we had stacked in the corner.  We used some of the sticks as stakes to secure it.  the blue flower in front is called a Delphinium.  Poor thing took a terrible beating from the wind and heat.  The temperature has been in the 90's (30's celcius).  And although we tried to pick stuff that requires full sun, it has been tough on them.

Now, I'm sure you don't remember this spot.  This is because the last time you saw it, there was a huge grill sitting there that was in disrepair.  I mentioned having it repaired or taken down.  Well, there you go! ha.  I now have a 6x10 foot hole in my yard that had to be back filled with gravel and rock.  We are thinking of renting a Plate compactor machine which will beat the rest of it into the ground and we can then fill the rest of the space with top soil or something.

Now what!

We also purchased these trellises and sectioned off a part of the garden that the previous owners used for vegetables.  We may do some vegetable gardening next time we come, but it is too hot to plant anything now. We are getting in just under the wire with our timing as it is.

This is another of the four planting urns that I filled with Geraniums and Lobelia.  I know I might want to move these around at some point so instead of filling them completely with dirt, I used two empty water bottles in each urn to minimize weight and help with drainage.  

We were able to get these palettes from a local store here who told us to take as many as we wanted.  We had been online looking at outdoor compost bins and believe we have come up with a design that suits us.  The blue tarp is holding some leftover garden soil that we didn't want the wind to blow away.

 You might remember the gate that I salvaged from the one we had replaced.  I knew I wanted to do something with it in the way of a trellis and decided to stake it to the ground and put some roses in front of it.  Scootard did the staking part.....:-).  He also did all of the digging for all of these plants as well.  Thanks, sweetheart.....:-).  The roses are supposed to be "Knockout Roses" which appear to have been knocked out by the heat and wind....:-(.  We'll see what happens.  I have already lost a new yellow rose bush....:-(.

Hosta and Lily........:-).  Sounds like a married couple....ha.

Remember that little girl that I purchased a few months ago.....?  Well here she is sitting on one of the chairs that I painted on the last trip. She is reading a book and admiring the Geraniums sitting in front of her.

And I was undecided about where to sit these but finally found a spot for both of them after dumping the water out on my slippers....:-(.  Didn't take long for the birds to find it either.  They won't touch the other one.  I think the water gets too hot for them.  I may move it to another part of the garden that has shade.

Here is the other chair that I painted last trip.....:-).  The flower is a petunia and the table was snagged from a second hand shop last year along with the "milk glass" dish that I filled with water and decorative stones for a bird bath.

I found a place for the Hydrangea on the side of the house which is a cooler place for it.  It was perishing in the heat where I first planted it.  Seems to be doing better now that it has diffused light.

I was able to hold on to parts of the grill that I had torn down.  The bottom section was the box that held the charcoal and the top part was the grate that we used to put our food on when grilling chicken and other foods.  I put some Mexican Heather in the center and salvaged a few Irises that were left over from the grill that was torn down.  I intended to paint it white.  Scootard secured the top to the bottom with some pecan wood stakes and zip ties.

 I have also started a new hobby.  Raising worms for the purpose of making my own fertilizer and enriching my soil around the house.  I ordered this worm farm the week we left Canada.  I have one in the US and one in Canada too that I have not started yet.  And of course I had to order the worms to go in the thing as well.


Everything you need to get started is pretty much in the kit, with the exception of some more shredded newspaper, sand and composted leaves from the garden.  All of which Scootard went and got for me.

Well, we actually started shredding the paper by hand when I remember that while doing my research I learned that the smaller and softer the food and bedding is, the quicker the worms will turn it into soil.   We mixed everything together and then it was time to open the package that had come in the mail that morning.

We mixed everything together and then it was time to open the package that had come in the mail that morning.  The mail man looked at us with a chuckle and shouted "Live Worms!"...haha.  I laughed and saluted him.  haha

Scootard is looking a little too comfortable.  I on the other hand was feeling a bit squeamish!

He opened the box and I just about held my breath wondering what I was going to see.  A box of bedding and a bag.....a kinda big bag too.......EEEKKKK!

I knew what was coming now, my skin was crawling!  Scootard dumped the bag and out they came.  One pound of worms in a rich dark compost called "worm castings" .  The castings (rich dark dirt) is what is left after the worms eat your leftover fruits and veggies.  Talk about organic!

He put them on top of the bedding that we had prepared and then added some food into the corner that had been waiting for us in the fridge for about two weeks.  We covered it in shredded paper....

Soaked some additional paper and laid it on top of the shredded paper......

and placed the lid on top.  We are to check on them in two days and see how they are doing.  All 1200 of them!

Since these particular worms are not suited for the heat, we made a place for them in the office.  As they make compost, we will add the needed trays to hold the dirt and house the worms.

I cannot believe I am doing this!  ha

After everything had been completed in the garden and with the worm bin, Scootard began to assemble a combination smoker/grill for the backyard.

And here is his masterpiece.....:-).  Good job, Scootard!

  And that was our week!  At the end of our garden adventure, we had purchased 14 bags of mulch, approximately 77 plants, 2 bags of aged manure, 4 bags of garden soil, and have taken enough aspirin and motrin to cure a city! I'll take pictures as things come together......:-)

Have a great weekend everybody!.....:-).