February Mid-Month Meanderings

This was cross-posted at the Urban Farm Hub on 2-26-10.  Check out the Hub!

It has been bizarrely and fantastically warm and sunny in Seattle and I have some wicked spring fever.   Walking around my yard I am amazed at how much it will change over the course of the next 7 months or so.  This time of year is so full of garden hope & promise!    I decided to take some pictures and update them monthly and you can enjoy right along with me.  (*I plan to do this closer to mid-month… but I’ve been outside working as much as I have been able to given the amount of snot I’m also wiping off one toddlers face.  Stupid ear infections. Stupid colds!)

So, let’s take a tour shall we?   Let’s see how the garden survived over winter.

But first a disclaimer:  We have been in the house  only 3-1/2 years and when we moved in it was solid grass weeds and some scraggly, poorly pruned foundation plants.


Yep, that is what the yard looked like when we moved in–except the fence wasn’t there.  We had that installed.  Such a waste of a lot of a large city lot.   Since then we have done a lot of designing, planning, hardscaping & planting.  It has been a bit of a whirlwind.  A partner in a PhD program.  Work.  Pregnancy & baby.  Both of us training for and completing an Ironman triathlon (when the babylady was just 8 months old).  It has been intense.  But I love, love, love it.    I’m having a blast learning and trying new things.   Plus, being able to feed our family and friends food grown from our garden rocks.   I love that it is both gorgeous and productive by mid-summer!

I never got around to winterizing (is this a word?) the yard for winter this past year.  No mulch/protection.  Nothing.  I haven’t done any weeding.  It is in pretty rough shape.  It is “Dissertation Time” at our house and my lovely ladyfriend is down to her last few months of hell PhD program.  With a busy 2-year-old, trying to hold things together on the home front and all the crappy winter rain we had, I haven’t gotten much done.   But I’ll snap it into shape quick.

Mid-February 2010

Ready?  Here we go!

Come on in!  Walk through the entry gate.   We have only just begun planting in this area.   It was solid clay and we needed to jack hammer it to even break ground.  There are a bunch of random things I am trying to root in pots.   That is a Contorted Filbert (“harry lauder’s walking stick”) off to the right and just some black mondo grass to the left and a young Paper Bush.   More stuff will go in this season.  We aren’t sure what yet, but I’m thinking mostly non-edible perennials in the bed to left and for about the same length on the right.  It is a morning sun only strip.

Coming in a bit further.  Just some bulbs and a lopsided lavender redbud (though for some reason this picture makes it look even worse than it actually is.)    Why the hell is it leaning so much?  I have no idea.  Nothing I have done has mattered.  But it drives me batty.  In the area beyond we’ll plant edibles.   Past the birdbath is a newly planted plum tree.   To the left you see a bit of the bed with the garlic and beyond that, the raised beds.   Against the far fence is a paperbark maple & some perennials.

A little further in and you’ll find asparagus to the left in the picture and garlic to the right.  Some garlic is interplanted with the asparagus as well.  The area with the asparagus was also solid clay that got jack hammered & amended.  The asparagus is starting the 2nd year, so hopefully we will get to harvest a few yummy spears.  The area behind the garlic was dug up last summer and has had a cover crop overwinter.   Beyond that little patch of cover-crop-green is a covered up area we will put in a small patio this summer.

Another look at the garlic, cover crop and future lil’ patio.  In the back of that are a few aspen trees and a perennial bed.

From a bit further back.  The awesome raised beds.  We had friends and family mosaic them for us!  We still have more to do…wanna come over??    The kale from last year is still producing.  You can see the basic hoop I put up….and then promptly forgot.  I am not even sure what I put in there.  Best intentions…

Looking from the raised beds toward the rest of the yard.  We had this area covered all last year to kill off all the weeds (fingers crossed!)   Last fall we planted a ‘no-mow’ grass & micro-clover and it has taken off.  In theory, this will need no watering once established and only need mowing 2x a year and stays somewhat long.   My dream for this area is actually fruit trees and more planting beds– but we decided to leave a bit of grass for the babylady.  Along the left is an apple tree and a new peach and new espaliered pear.  Behind that is the mini-bamboo forest.  Don’t worry, we contained it well.  It wasn’t fun, but we did it.  No escapees so far!

Still looking at the grassy patch.   That is a columnar apple in the large pot.   I planted a grape on either side of the awesome purple bench that we’ll build an arbor for in the next few months.

Back at the raised beds and looking east.  Two kiwi that I needed to hard prune last fall but seem well.  They trellis along the top of the fence & look gorgeous.  No fruit yet, but bloomed last summer and getting buds now!  Two blueberries, rosemary, chives and loads of strawberries are all over there.

The aspen corner.  I love the aspens!   We planted 3 (1 each year)–they can spread a bit, so we’ve pulled out a few seedlings & left one to grow.  They are simply gorgeous!  This corner gets really lovely–full of grasses, crocosmia and lots of daisy family plants.   To the left will be more veggie beds.  The black plastic where we are putting in the small patio.  It is a nice place to relax, listen to the trees and look at all the veggies grow while sipping on a cocktail like this or this.  Mmmm! Summer!

Looking back where we started from— the cover crop, garlic and asparagus.   You can also see “Oscar” the compost tumbler and a wee bit of “Ted” the shed in the back.  As a bonus if you look close you can see the total shit shack next door.  Uninhabited and falling apart.  The chicken-coop-to-be will also be somewhere to the left of “Oscar.”

And lastly, the little bed I’ve been working on from plant divisions inside the yard.  Trying to pretty up our otherwise drab gravel driveway.

Stay tuned monthly and watch the garden come back to life!    And next time I’ll finish the tour with pics of the recycled brick patio and the native plants that surround the patio & deck.

I’ll leave you with a few closeups that are screaming “SPRING!”

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13 Responses to February Mid-Month Meanderings

  1. Travel Mommy says:

    We love your yard-garden – it has been such a work in progress since you moved in. Maybe Lucy “babylady” and grandma can make a mosaic for the garden!

    I love to just meander around and see what is growing – it is delightful! Your grandma would love to have seen it!

  2. Travel Daddy says:

    Well done! I loved the tour. You all have come a long way in a really short time. Are you doing the potato condos this year?

  3. Nicki says:


    What a joy! I am so envious! I can’t believe how much is already growing! It’s still deadville around here, but a huge order from the seed and plant catalog will hopefully get the spirit in us!

    You are such an inspiration!

  4. Beth says:

    I want to live by you and stop by for some kale and then have a martini, read a book and knit something. Sigh, I love Seattle. Hmmm maybe I can talk Adrian into a visit and he will fall in love with it like me.

  5. Carbzilla says:

    We’re heading to the Tree Fruit Society Kiwi talk tomorrow (dorkiest sentence I’ve ever typed). Good to know from a real person that they can actually grow here (I figured they wouldn’t be having the talk if they didn’t). Do you know anyone who’s had fruit?

    • Thanks for the comments! I don’t know anyone that has fruit…but I also don’t know anyone else that has the vines. I have heard it takes anywhere from 4-7 years to fruit. I did get some blossoms last year for the first time. Even if they never fruit I’ll keep them as they are gorgeous!

  6. Pingback: March Mid-Month Meanderings II | Grow & Resist

  7. Inder says:

    Oh my gosh, I’d never read this post, or seen what your yard looked like before! You have done amazing things with it! Wow!

  8. Pingback: February Mid-Month Meanderings III | Grow & Resist

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