Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reclaiming the Jungle

When we moved into our house nine months ago, the backyard resembled a jungle. The blackberry thicket was about four feet high and although the yard was a lush mass of vegetation, the only recognizable plants were the blackberries and many varieties of weeds. On top of all that, the entire yard was on a slope, ending in what the realtor described as a ravine. 
August, 2012- completely overgrown with blackberries and weeds. Hard to believe what was hiding underneath!

The first thing we did was get out the weedwacker and chop everything down to ground level. Once the blackberry vines were gone, we discovered two blueberry bushes, six rhododendrons, two azalea bushes, and approximately ten large stumps, signs that once upon a time the yard had actually contained fairly significant trees.

You can see the ground! Blueberry bushes, rhododendrons, and azaleas appeared. We planted a row of cypress trees to provide (eventually) a little privacy.

The next step was to figure out what we wanted to do with the yard. We spent the winter months planning and dreaming. We looked at websites and gardening books, talked to friends, and waited through the rainy days of winter in Seattle for spring to arrive.

I knew I wanted a raised bed for vegetable gardening. My husband began building it during the wet winter months. It immediately filled with water and stayed a soggy, muddy mess until mid-May.

Peas, lettuce, carrots, and squash are starting to come up!

Our yard will not be complete without a grape arbor!

Love the rainbow.....

I like to think of the yard as a work in progress, much like my current novel. Every weekend we head outside and make a little bit of progress. We’ve added steps, planted trees, and started work on a gravel pathway. Things don’t always go the way we planned, and that’s okay. Sometimes my stories take odd twists and turns, too. But each time I’m out there I discover something special and wonderful and find another reason to fall in love with our new home.

We are almost finished with the steps.....
The pathway will take a few more days to complete, I think. It leads to a lovely little area, surrounded by rhodies, where I can sit quietly and watch the birds at the feeders and the squirrels rummaging for the leftovers.

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