Friday, October 9, 2009

The Great Outdoors


DSCN0566I did some more work in the backyard today. Mostly I just pulled some more wood chips up the hill from the huge piles behind our house. The wood chips give the backyard a slightly more manicured look, and hide the fact that nothing will grow for a foot from the house … all around the entire house. So the wood chips are more there to keep down the dirt than to keep down the weeds. DSCN0568

I think I’m just about done with getting the yard how I want it. I think I would like to spread some grass seed in the backyard to help the lawn grow faster and thicker, but I’m debating how much money I want to spend on this house since we’ll be moving in 5 months anyway, and we’re just renting. If I had to sell it (first off let me say that I would NEVER buy this house… ever…) I might do more improvements… but like I said, I would never buy this house. Oh yes, so we’ve decided not to put up a fence. By the time we get around to putting it up, we’ll only be here for about 4 more months. I can’t believe it’s gone by so quickly.

That said, I’m loving that our backyard is looking more like a nice place to play and less like the African savanna.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Other Plants

I’ve been so focused on the fact that I have iris flowers blooming that I have neglected to mention the progress of my other plants, the peace lilies and the torch lilies.


This is the a picture of the largest peace lily plant I have so far. I have about five peace lily plants, and they are all doing pretty well. I can’t wait for them to get big enough to bloom. The peace lilies have the most beautiful white flowers.


I don’t have a really good picture of the torch lilies. I have about 20 bulbs, and only 4 of them haven’t sprouted yet. The others are doing surprisingly well. Their leaves look a lot like the iris leaves, so you may not be able to pick them out in this picture, but the plant that is on the top left hand corner of this picture is the beginnings of a torch lily.

Hopefully all these plants will flower before we move in April. Thankfully, things will bloom all year round here if you give them what they need, so I’m pretty confident that by the time we leave, my flower garden will be in full bloom!

And did I mention that I’m taking all my plants with me when I leave? I need to start researching how to move bulbs and rhizomes (the iris is actually a rhizome, not a bulb, did you know that?)

Veggie Tales


Here’s an updated picture of our vegetable garden. The beans/peas need to be staked soon, and the spinach and carrots need to be thinned. I can’t wait to eat a fresh salad straight from my very own garden!

BBY (Better Back Yard)



We’ve been watering the back yard like mad, and this past weekend, DH mowed for me – it looks AWESOME! We’re going to put up a fence next month so our Little Guy can run around and we won’t have to worry about him running away or getting lost. It’s going to be so much fun! The little tiny thing in the far corner of the yard is my compost pile I wanted one, but I wanted to make sure it was plenty far from my house. I didn’t want to attract bugs and critters. Well, it’s far enough away, and full of grass clippings and food bits. I’m going to add some wood chips one of these days. I have a few other outdoors projects to do, I just haven’t found the time to do them!

Soon we’ll really be able to enjoy that backyard! I can’t wait!

White, Purple, and Golden Beauties


The hard work is still paying off. Three blossoms just appeared this week. And it looks like we’ll have two or three more in the next few weeks. I’m hoping some of the other plants start blooming as well – this is all from the same plant, and the same plant that produced the first blossom.



A Poinsettia’s Journey


This is my poinsettia that I got from an HOA party at our last house about two years ago. I enjoyed its red bracts so much that I decided to try my hand at reblooming a poinsettia. I figured it could be done, I just didn’t know how easy it would be!

Well, I was very busy last fall, finishing school and visiting my DH who was away for job training. My mother in law took pretty good care of it, but it was kind of scrawny from my lack of attention throughout the year, and so it didn’t bloom very much – however, it DID bloom! Well, this year I plan to do things differently, especially since it looks so healthy this year! I had to put it outside for a while because we got a fruit fly infestation, and I think they were spawning in the soil of this particular plant. I hope to be able to bring it back in tomorrow and I will start the reblooming process.

After it blooms, I will start blogging my reblooming journey for next year, so any readers can follow along and try their own hand at reblooming a poinsettia! This poinsettia will also probably follow me on some road trips that I am making across the US next year, but I will be staying put come fall 2010, and that is when the hardest part happens. Maybe I’ll even get another poinsettia this year and try to rebloom TWO! That would be fun. And I bet I can find some cheap ones after the holidays.

Start checking back in January to join with me in reblooming a poinsettia!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Single Flower



My iris is a-bloomin’. The first flower on my front-yard flower garden has finally appeared! I was so ecstatic when I noticed that my iris was budding (only three even have flowering branch things right now).

The irises were blooming in the backyard (that’s how I found out they were irises). When we first moved in I thought the big clump of irises were just some kind of grass. Turns out once I started watering the backyard, the irises came to life!

It looks like we’ll have a few more blossoms on this iris before long! It makes all the hard work feel worth it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Quest for a Backyard


When we moved in, our backyard was a jungle of sorts. The grass grew knee high (or chest high, for my two year old) and it didn’t seem like the best environment for our little guy to go exploring. Just before we planted our vegetable garden we decided to start watering the backyard to see if we could get anything to grow back there. Lo and behold, below the tall, dead, African safari-type grass grew little grasslings, springing up to the sun.

So when we planted our garden, we weed-whacked the whole backyard, and this is what it looks like now. We hope with more sun and water we’ll have a lawn to play on before Christmas.

things are growing


There’s something really special about watching plants grow. You sow these little seeds in the ground, and with enough sunshine, good soil, and water, little plants start coming out of the ground. It’s hard to imagine that I will be harvesting food from these little plants in a matter of months.



I sometimes find myself feeling emotions for my plants that I usually only feel toward my children. Interesting, eh?

Monday, September 7, 2009

my free flower garden


This is the front of our house. The management company advertises these house as having “landscaped front and side yards.” Well, let me just tell you what this looked like when we moved in. There was no lawn, it was just dried, old, patchy, weedy front yard. They mow the… weeds, but not very often (once every 2 weeks, if we’re lucky). Close to the house, there was nothing but dead grass and dirt – the pest control company sprays about a foot of the ground around the perimeter of the house to keep out the bugs… yes… a whole foot. In the front by our little carport lived a hideous, spider-infested bush.

This past weekend we did some major improvements (we’ve been watering the front “lawn” for a while now, and it’s starting to look much better, despite still being mostly crab grass, and the patchy appearance). We had a friend pull out the ugly bush in the front, we transplanted some irises from the back yard, and covered the front flower garden with wood chips from huge piles of woodchips that were heaped just beyond our backyard. The irises were all clumped up in one big bush, having never been separated for probably several years. They had a fungus, but I just chopped off the affected leaves, and they are doing pretty well. The friend who pulled out the big ugly bush also gave use a few peace lilies and torch lilies from their yard. The peace lilies were decapitated when they were pulling a huge aloe vera plant out of their yard, and the torch lilies had died a while back. I think they also had a fungus (from not being separated), but I’m hoping now that they are separated and have proper drainage, they will start growing again.

Total cost for our front flower garden?! Nothing!! All found, donated, or relocated material. And it looks SO much better. And by the way, our management company had nothing to do with it. So much for their landscaped front and side yards. And I’m taking my plants with me when I leave.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Starting a Garden

We planted our very first vegetable garden as a married couple this fall. I know it sounds weird to say that we planted a garden in the fall, but in our part of the world, the growing season is just about year round.

100_3192 And here it is. The garden is inside boxes because we have a problem with some kind of root-eating rodent. The jury is still out as to what exactly the rodent is. Some say gopher, some say prairie dog of sorts. None of that is as important as the fact that it eats the roots of plants and digs up gardens (and lawns) and is the biggest nuisance around. To thwart the little animals, we planted our garden in old bookshelves we bought from our local waste management facility’s “store” – they sell just about anything that anyone could even dream of reusing. Kind of like a second hand store, but a little more trashy.

We got three bookshelves for $7, and then paid $20 for five HUGE bags of the dump’s delicious compost. Did I really just say delicious? You bet I did. Yummy yummy compost. I was seriously about to eat a handful while we were filling up our bags at the dump.

We planted beans, peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli, spinach, cilantro, romaine lettuce, carrots, green onions, and yellow onions. We also started bell peppers (four different colors!) and two types of tomatoes. We should be having a bountiful harvest by Christmas!