Thursday, September 20, 2012

In the gardens, on the last days of summer...

This summer was a challenging year in the gardens... first the rainy days of June and then the flurry of wedding preparations in July and August... spending time "recovering" from the wedding.... and more recently, and hard to believe, spending most of my "garden time" watering!  Yes, we haven't had much rain in the rainy state of Washington, this past July, August and now September.  I hesitate to go as far as to say I'm hoping for a little rain since it may never leave once it comes back!

We, and by we I mean not me, worked on a number of projects around Red Gate Farm this summer.  First up was installing my fancy wire garden fence that was my birthday present last year, as in 2011.  The garden first had to have a concrete "curb" installed because you have to have something to mow and edge around... and then posts were installed.  The garden gate I had hanging on my living room wall was put to use as an actual gate for the garden...

It had to go in first to make sure the posts were spaced correctly...

Finally, a project to be completed on my July birthday for 2012, was the actual fence installation.... my mom and I were out and about shopping that day...

And my husband didn't like the way the first half was going in.... it was a bit saggy around the top... and being a type A kind of guy, this was bugging him.  So back to the drawing or planning board... the first half is still all that was installed, but actually worked out well since we didn't get the irrigation/watering system in the garden this summer and watering with a hose, with even half the fence in place, was a bit of a challenge!

And that gate that came down?  Well of course I was on the hunt for another one since I really liked the gate  in my living room.... I found another at a local store, Grandiflora, it was very similar but the size was slightly different.  It's a bit narrower and taller than the previous gate....

I think I like it a bit better so that worked out well.... and of course I added a little something to it  for summer....

And now fall...

Another big project, and really what has been the impetus for all of the other projects this summer, has been an irrigation or watering system at Red Gate Farm.  My husband has installed systems at all of our previous homes and I can't believe that he held off for almost 8 years!  Of course this is the first time we've been on a well so that added a challenge and this system is much larger due to a much larger (around 4 acres) yard.

Getting a new irrigation system in place is for the eventual replacing and redoing of all of our grassy areas... this means planning ahead for elevations since my husband loves a FLAT and I mean FLAT yard... think golf green... So he's been busy putting in a new well pump, irrigation systems, concrete curbing (including the veg garden and fence above) as well as a retaining wall for the driveway....  This meant moving an existing flower bed that was full of roses and iris that needed to be temporarily transplanted....


 And you may notice that I did NO weeding whatsoever in anticipation of this project....


 The boys even got to play with the tractor for part of the project...

My son finally was able to usurp my husband's position on the tractor... having a little more tractor experience, I'm sure it was driving him crazy to watch his father try his hand at this part of the project....

 You can see here that our sandy loam soil gives way to straight sand in this location!


And the wall begins.... we installed a retaining wall at a prior home and it was also a huge project... of course my husband spends a lot of time making sure it is PERFECTLY level... I on the other hand spent about 2 minutes time helping fill in the back side of the bricks with sand...

 A string to stay on track...

This part got installed and then uninstalled.... there was a section that wasn't quite perfect and although most people, including me, would never notice it drove my husband crazy!

The roses will return eventually... there will be a flower bed along the front of the wall for roses... with a curb of course in the front for mowing along the driveway!





I think we could have a sand castle building event with all of this sand... what do you think?

A couple of Pinky Winky Hydrangeas have been added at the bottom of the wall.... they are "sun loving" hydrangeas and hopefully will love this south facing spot.  Of course we amended the sand soil here before we planted them


I can't wait to harvest a few of these next summer!

I also liked that the branches/stems on this variety are a reddish color!

And speaking of hydrangeas.... my Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea by the barn has grown quite a bit.  Very similar to the Pinky Winky variety.

And the barn?   Well of course it got "curbs" too.  In the form of flower beds all along the east and west sides of the barn in anticipation of that holy grail... the perfectly flat lawn.

Since we didn't have much in the way of plants to add I filled the bed in with extra sunflowers that I had started from seed.

As always, the Teddy Bear variety is one of my favorites...

I even grew a few tall ones in the garden.

This dry July and August meant beautiful dahlias.  Most of my dahlias are grown in the front of our long chicken coop building.  It faces south and with the roof overhang, this bed stays very dry.  I don't dig my dahlia tubers up but leave them in the ground over the winter.  Most of them come back each year since the warmth of the south wall and the dry conditions are ideal.  My white "dinner plate" variety was unbelievable this year....

This small peachy colored one is perfect for fall flower arrangements and is still going strong.

A large purple variety did very well this summer but is actually next to the garage.

I filled in other spots along the chicken coop with left over zinnias....

And now that I've brought up Zinnias.... check out this one...

It was one of my absolute favorites this year... the petals are so different.  They are a "giant" variety and have very frilly petals.  Although they were to come in many colors mine were just a bright pink, white and a reddish color....

So although the wedding took center stage this summer... the gardens didn't totally get neglected.

This warm, dry late summer... almost fall, weather means I still have time to enjoy the fruits of my labor... and of course, continue to drag that hose around to water...


linking up to

Cottage Garden Party

9 comments:

  1. I am drooling over this post, every bit of it! I had forgotten about your gate that you got for B.day and now you have 2..they really do make a great statement. Love your new retaining wall, such a perfect backdrop for those luscious dahlia's...I could go on and on..it is all so perfect. xo

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  2. Your new wall adds a lot of *cool* to your farm place. I look forward to seeing roses added. I know they'll love the warmth of the sun heated stone behind them. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  3. I am drooling over this post too. Everything is beautiful. "Mr.Type A" might give you testy moments but his results are stellar! Love your retaining wall, Dahlias, Zinnas, Garden gate and fencing . . . I love it all. The two of you make a great team and the photos are proof of what you are creating. Simply Wonderful!

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  4. This is wonderful. The projects are coming along beautifully. Your hubby is talented!
    The hydrangeas, sunflowers, zinnias, all gorgeous.
    Someday I might get a garden gate.....

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  5. Beautiful gardens . I to am drooling over this post . A lot of work but it all looks fantastic ! Isn't it nice to have a handy man around . Thanks for sharing all this with us . Have a wonderful day !

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  6. So beautiful are those vanilla and strawberry hydrangeas!! Your garden is so full of prettiness! Love the new wall! xo Heather

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  7. What an absolutely beautiful place you have there....it looks wonderful.

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  8. How did I miss this post? Amazing!!!! Love everything you did here! curious about the irrigation. would your hubby have any tips on how to design/install? Well issues? With the wedding here next year, we're thinking we need to install a watering system...only 2 acres for us though!!! would love any advice!

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  9. I love the flowers! And am quite jealous of your hydrangeas :)

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