Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Not-So-Fun Part of Gardening

We all love pretty flowers & blooms in the Spring, don't we? But, along with enjoying those beautiful blooms comes the maintenance & upkeep. This is what happens when you wait until January to tackle all the leaves that fall from the trees. About a million leaves that need to be moved out of the beds & grass into the back area of the yard.
This fun chore is what we are up to this week, as the weather is in the 70's. Perfect for working outside in the yard. Peter is raking, blowing & hauling leaves on the tarp.
And I'm talking to Mia, the other neighbor's dog next door to us. We are surrounded by dogs. Mia always comes over to the fence when I'm out working in the yard.
Now, just in case you think everything about our house is beautiful....let me assure you it is most definitely NOT! Welcome to the mudpit. This will be a before pic & come spring, Lord willing, it will be a different story. I've wanted to work on this eyesore for 2 years now, so this is the year. This is underneath our deck & it's high enough to walk under, so could definitely work as a patio of sorts. Right now it's a mud magnet. All the water that falls through the deck ends up under here. You can see our wonderful Southern red clay. It's hard as a rock. And when I turn on the hose that is under here, water gets everywhere.
See my pretty black swing. It's hard to get inspired looking at what's under the deck. My plans are to put a pretty paver & pea gravel patio under here. I've seen it done & it's really nice looking & should be economical to do too. I don't really care about having it really fancy, since we would most likely use the deck more when it gets screened in eventually, but this will get rid of the mud & be a nice place to enjoy some shade. I need to find some inspiration pics to get a plan started. I would love to add a winding flagstone walkway over to our side gate too. So hopefully that is what I'll be working on in the next few months.

That's a project for another day. In the meantime, I'm faced with this.....
And this...lots of leaves, weeds, & overgrowth. I'm hacking away & hopefully this bed will come alive again in the spring with all the perennials I planted in here 2 years ago. If you're new to visiting me, go & take a look at my garden last April. This is what it is going to look like again. I get inspired just looking at those pics right now, as it's hard to believe the difference. I sometimes forget the miracle of Spring that happens right under my nose every single year.
I really cut back the purple verbena this time. For some strange reason, it thinks that this bed is for it alone, so it's time to beat it into submission. You can see with our mild weather so far, it hasn't even died back. There's lots of green growth underneath.
So this is all the overgrowth I cut off of it. Now it can get new growth again & not overtake the bed come spring. This is one fellow who has to be kept under control or it will take over completely. I am hoping & praying we don't have such a severe drought this year. Last year was probably one of the worst in recorded history & time will tell how many trees we will all lose around here. We know one of our big oaks in the back is dead. Many plants & trees are in drought shock, so we will see when Spring arrives what survived & what did not. It's not looking good again this year, from what we have heard, so I will probably not be planting a lot of new things this year. A hardscape project will be in order though.
Can you tell I'm really looking forward to wearing these more often these days. It's nice to have time to do this again, in the daytime, with warm winter weather around right now. And oh, I'll be looking forward to Spring again. How about you?!

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43 friends stopped by:

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Hi Rhoda,

You are a couple steps ahead of me. I think I'll wait another month or so before my clean up begins. We still have lots of snow and wind to go before I can think too much about Spring. Who am I kidding? I'm ready to jump on a plane and help you guys out just to be part of the fun! Have a good one......rosie

Mary said...

Good for you, Rhoda! I'm in the leave-it-all-till-spring and be overwhelmed group. Can't wait to see your patio -- it sounds so nice!
xoxo,
Mary

BittersweetPunkin said...

My yard looks like that too except it rains here ALL the time!!! All of my cedar chips have been washed away so we will need to replace them around the bushes and flowers again`but I will wait til after the rainy winter is over....
Hugs,
Robin

Lynda said...

Hi Rhoda! I came to your blog through Melissa's and I'm so glad I did! I'm looking forward to reading your blog more often. ~ Lynda

Deserae said...

Hi Rhoda- Your patio project sounds like a lot of work but the results will make it so worth it! Dealing with all that mud has to be a real pain?!?!?! How lucky for you to have such a mild winter that you can actually do yardwork in January too!!!!! I look forward to seeing your beautiful yard full of blooms in the spring :o)
~Des

Lois Billingham Currie said...

Hi Rhoda,
I first met you over on GI. I left you an award on my blog, but see that you have received the same award before, so I will relieve you of posting the 7 weird things about yourself! I received the award, and as you know have to send it on to others. I read your blog often, so thought I would mention you even though someone else beat me to telling you that your blog is amazing!

Jill said...

There's sure a difference between the dead of winter and the miracle of spring! It's a good thing we have spring to look forward to!

Mom on the Run said...

I have to get to that...someday. We are covered up with leaves.

Rosemary said...

Hi Rhoda,
I know what you mean. My garden looks so bad this time of year.
I don't enjoy gardening in winter as much as summer. Everything is kind of brown and yucky.
Can't wait til spring,
Rosemary

Rhondi said...

Hi Rhoda. Your yard looks like ours as far as needing the leaves raked. Every day with this mild weather I've thought I should get out there and do something, but still the leaves sit there. Your plans for that muddy spot sound great. Enjoy the fresh air. Rhondi

Jen@The Cottage Nest said...

I look forward to seeing what you do under there, Rhoda. I really want to do something about our patio but I don't think it's going to happen until next year. I'll just live through you for awhile.

Jen said...

Yes yes yes. We bought a new house last summer and really didn't do anything outside just yet. But boy do we have plans. I'm actually going to plant a small garden out back and looking forward to it too. And the flowers...I cannot wait......my shoes for outside are similar but black.

Betty Jo said...

Hi Rhoda, I've really been MIA! Been sick since Thanksgiving with one thing after another. Think I'm finally on the mend now and hope to get back to my blogging buddies. The joy of a small apartment is no yard work! I honestly don't miss it. Give me some pots of flowers and herbs and I'm happy as a lark. I'll just run over here and enjoy your garden when it blooms. xoxo

Mary said...

Rhoda dear - this looks all too familiar! The red clay soil, and those billions of leaves. Do you feel as we do, that everyone else's leaves end up in your yard? We have just completed our last raking session until the beds are cleaned out in Spring. We get two city pickups with the big powerful vac so rake them to the street - the last pick was this Tues. so right now our street looks neat and clean.

Cute clogs - I love any type of clog and when my good 'going out' ones get a bit shabby I relegate them to the potting shed for gardening chores - so easy to get on and off.

Just think of raking as aerobic exercise - I do!!

Sandi McBride said...

It's the grueling backbreaking nail cracking work of gardening that makes the sittin' and relaxin' and enjoying the ice tea and swingin' in that great black swing that makes it all worth while. One week into "working at home". Are you nuts yet?
hugs
Sandi

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Hi Rhonda,
I love working in the garden! Even when it comes to cutting back and weeding. I can see that your under the deck patio can be a beautiful place! I look forward to seeing your after pics!
Penny

Self Confessed Lamp Tramp said...

Oh yes, I'l be out there with you tomorrow...I too, constantly have to pick up leaves. We have Water Oaks here...they drop for months and months and weeks and weeks...Forever. But nothing is beautiful without a little hard work!

Donna said...

I love visiting your blog! I'm counting the days till spring, but I too, in the meantime have loads of leaves to rake. I'm anxious to see what you do under the deck. Love your clogs.
Donna :)

the feathered nest said...

I haven't even been outside to do ANYTHING. Sometimes it just too overwhelming - too much to do. I haven't raked the leaves in the backyard yet either! I hope we get some regular rain this year! I think a hardscape project is is good idea because it doesn't look good for plants this year!

Manuela

Nan said...

I just discovered your blog - it's fab-u-las and it inspired me to get myself moving! I loved the Christmas villages - so, so cute....wish I lived there! Thanks! Nan

Naturegirl said...

Rhoda you sure have your work cut out for you! Our snow here has melted in the last few days with temps. of 55F!! Unheard of in January here!
We still have a season of winter to get through before I'll be out as you are..besides my leg is in a cast until Spring! Don't work too too hard.hugs NG

Becky K. said...

I used small decorative stones for some similar "hard to do anything else with" areas this past Spring and am so happy with the results.

You will be so happy when you see the results of your hard labors...and you will have more time to enjoy it now.

Becky K.

Nan said...

At this point, I'm waiting 'til Spring to clean up the rest of our yard. But, good for you getting out there!
Nan

Sher's Creative Expressions said...

Oh, but Rhoda, think how blessed you are to not be working anymore and be able to get out in that yard and work??!! I love working in my garden. . . but here in the north that won't be until about April again!! I did all my fall clean up in late Oct. early Nov. so it's behind me now. I see Peter helping you though, that's a huge plus!!

Working in my yard is my "bliss!" *sigh* Being out with the trees, birds and flowers is our little piece of heaven here on earth!

Blessings,

Sher

Diane said...

Yep looks like work to me! I have a reward for all of your hard efforts so stop on by and pick it up!
xoxo
Diane

Sheila said...

Work is work, being able to do it on your own time is "reward"! I am planning some much need changes in my work schedule very soon! I will let ya know when the details are worked out! You inspired me! Have a blessed week...

Brenda said...

Rhonda, Im not ready for Spring yet..The clean yard yes, but I just don't feel it was been winter with all the warm weather. I think the paver and gravel is a good idea. Looks to me it needs somethinh that can withstand drainage and water.
I will have to take you a picture of my paver walk.Brian surprised me one week i was gone to moms and had it coming from the side of my home around to the deck. Just one little area was close to 600 bucks.I had tried the stepping stones and feeled in with bark and used the side stuff to hold it in,but it never looked good. I will tell you onething we did in Florida and loved though. It is that plastic mold and you mix the concrete and pour in it and just keep adding on to it. The concrete can be stained. Easy and lot cheaper and washes great. Just go look at lowes and take the pull offs with the ideas they show. With your talent I know it will be awsome!

PAT said...

We rarely get into the gardens during winter. We have had Spring like days this week and some spectacular and deadly storms! One would think Spring is already here in Missouri!

We arrived home from the lake yesterday afternoon and noticed, right away, the edgers in a stack in the middle of the front yard, then our eyes wandered to the left and saw the beautiful new tree, planted, in our absence. We talked to the nurserymen about replacing the poor expired Pin Oak, last Summer. Their advice was to wait for cooler weather. On the way home we were talking about giving them a call! Then we saw our new tree! WOW...anyway, that's the extent of "gardening" for us, until March or April.

Great post! Pat

Alice said...

Oh, I wish I had your mild Southern winters. Although I shouldn't complain as it was almost 70 degrees here a couple days this week. Unfortunately we're heading back do into the 30s now.

Kari & Kijsa said...

Oooh- the leaves and clean-up!! Just like the inside of our homes...it seems the outsides need to have so much maintenance!!! Can't wait to see your before and afters!! We just bought bright gardening clogs with big fabulous flowers on them (to try and get us motivated!!!) W know your yard will be just beautiful!!

blessings,
kari & kijsa

Ruth Welter said...

Hey Rhoda, you are not kidding, leaf raking is zippo fun. We raked a lot in the fall but still have a ton to do come spring. I usually wait until March, that is when I get the "get outside and work bug".

Anonymous said...

YIKES....seeing that picture makes me think of what awaits us in a few months here in the NE.

Even though we did a HUGE fall clean up.... after the snow melts there's always more..

My orange crocs are in the back hall just waiting for me :)

Thanks for the reminder...I think lol

Kathy :)

Simply Me Art said...

Oh do I know what that is like. Even here in So. Cali. I put my garden to bed for the Winter and it looks so depressing.. We have heavy winds so leaves are everywhere for the winter months.. I feel for you, but in just a few short months it will be brimming with color and beauty...

Jen r. said...

I am so jealous it is in the 70's there and green!!! I can't wait to see th end result!
Jen R

Terri and Bob said...

I love that someone in the world is gardening again! I will be eager to see your "after" pictures!

DebraK from ~the Bunnies Bungalow~ said...

Hi Rhoda, you guys sure do have lots of leaves! Cleaning up can be great exercise though.

I like to try to clean up in the fall but this year I didn't get it all done. There's still some clean up left to do & it can wait.....
Looking forward to seeing your outdoor projects this year & I am so glad I don't have to deal with that red clay soil...lol
Hugs, DebraK

daisy cottage said...

Having seen the results of your green thumb before I have no doubt that you'll be creating something beautiful and magical in no time with this latest project! Enjoy your beautiful weather Rhoda!

xo,
Kim

Betty said...

Rhoda,
Can you believe our weather....in the 20's and in a couple of days in the 70's and 80's.....

Raking the leaves is quite a task....I think a patio would be great under your deck....

I'm looking forward to spring, too....Betty ....I liked your multi-fabric chair......

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

I'm exhausted just looking at the pictures. Whenever we work in our yard here in Texas, I'm reminded of how much better our dirt was in Florida. Funny to think one dirt could be better than another, but it's true. This stuff here is like hardened clay. Not much fun to try and plant anything in the ground here. But...every year, when springs rolls around, I find myself feeling optimistist again and out comes the spade and in goes the seeds. I'm a sucker for a pretty flower bed. Just wish I could afford a pretty gardner to work it for me. lol

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ValleyGirl said...

Haha, if you wait until January around here to rake leaves, you've waited until April, cuz they're all covered with a thick white layer of snow right now!! There are always so many leaves to rake up in spring here anyway (I'm not sure how it happens, but that's the way it is!), I don't bother doing much of it in fall anymore.

ginger at enchanting cottage said...

There is a BIG difference between gardening and yard work. I love to garden but I don't much care for yard work, and you have been doing some major yard work. I need to do some as well. I love formal cut headges so of couse I planted like a total of 100 headges that I always have to trim. I told my husband just slap me the next time I say lets plant a cut little headge!

Mrs. Jones said...

That is exactly what it looks like under my porch. Rocks, hard dirt and all. I can't stand it! I can't wait to have a patio where I can sit in the summertime.