Year of the Yard

We have declared 2014 The Year of the Yard! 

The past two years I have seriously neglected my gardens.  In summer 2012 I was extremely pregnant and had quite a difficult time attempting to keep up.  And last spring/summer I tried to do some but it's incredibly difficult to garden with a small baby!  I tried to wear her on my back, but she'd only tolerate it for a few minutes at a time.  So, now it's 2014 and things have gotten a bit wild around here!  It's insane the amount of weeds and wild things that will grow if you allow it! 

I started weeding at the beginning of April.  It's now early June and I can say that I am almost finished getting things back to square one!  I still have the entire west side of the house I haven't even touched yet.  There's a mulberry tree over there covered in wild things growing from bird droppings and ivy everywhere.  The previous owners had a koi pond and fountain over there at one point.  Unfortunately we never got to see it, it's just been an overgrown mess.  I hope to eventually get that area fixed back up. 

This year my awesome husband and father-in-law built four new square raised beds for my veg gardens.  I've planted Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, Peas, Squash, Zucchini, Broccoli, Kale, Carrots, and Watermelons using the square foot gardening method.  I've never tried this way before, but so far I'm loving how much you can plant in a small space.  And I've had almost no weeds to worry about in these beds!  I've bordered the north garden fence with Sunflowers, Moonflowers, and Morning Glories.  All but the yellow squash was started indoors in our sunroom with organic heirloom seeds.

I've turned the old rectangle bed into a giant herb and perennial garden.  Lavender, Peppermint, Chamomile, Hyssop, Wormwood, Cilantro, Basil, Sage, Oregano, Thyme, St. John's Wort, Rue, Verbena, Bee Balm, Amaranthus, Sweetgrass, Strawberries, Geranium, Stevia, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Salvia, and a few other annuals and perennials that I can't remember the names of right now. 

We've added blueberries and strawberries in another bed bordering the house.  My Goji Berry plant I started from seed a few years ago got it's first blooms this year!  The Honeysuckle has gone crazy and my Living Willow Fence is starting to fill in quite nicely!   Some of my other favorites are my Lilacs, Magnolia, Azaleas, Peonies, Daylily, Lily of the Valley, Daffodils, Iris, Gaillardia, Candytuft, Hibiscus, Yucca, and Dahlias.

The giant flower beds bordering the front of the house and both sides of the driveway are finally weeded and mulched.  Unfortunately, when I finish one bed, the others have already started growing weeds again!  These are the pains of organic gardening, I suppose! 

I try to do a little every day.  All the little creases in my hands are stained black from mulch and I think I have permanent dirt smudges on my nails.  People always ask why I don't wear gloves.  How do you grab tiny little wild strawberry and clover runners with big thick gardening gloves?  It's just not as intimate a relationship, nor as therapeutical, if you don't get your hands dirty. 

Here are some pics I snapped over the last week.  This is what is blooming right now :)