This is what I’ve been working on lately. Yes, it’s the same view. Next I’m going to build up The soil behind the bricks and have some things actually growing in there. So far I planted some mums and bee balm, uncovered some wild strawberries, and added some succulents to the rocks in front. The rocks were mostly from under the weeds, and I did buy some more, which is shameful. To have to buy rocks! The injustice of it all. But the bricks were free from a neighbor. And the succulents from my friend Kizzie. Now…what else to plant there for the fall & winter? Some day I see this growing into a miniature forest garden. With all sorts of good veggies that don’t mind a little shade, and then people coming over can grab a snack on their way up the front stairs.
Remember the herb spiral? Well look at how happy it is! Of course the lemon balm is happy, lemon balm is happy anywhere right? But the chives are also pretty happy and the strawberries have decided that they have a new lease on life and are starting to grow berries again. The greens on the right-hand side are random microgreens, which I thought if given the chance might become grown-up greens. But apparently not! I also planted some mint and spicy oregano in the herb spiral and set my thyme plant free there as well.
There were a couple of slugs. More about my defeat (?) of them later. I’m doing a lot of working from home lately, and it’s nice to actually look outside and not feel totally guilty for not doing more yardwork. I’m definitely putting in my yardwork time! But I’m starting to see a little bit of progress which feels good.
Morning glories (apparently called bindweed everywhere except the Pacific Northwest) is a viney plant that I used to think were beautiful when I was young. I’d always beg my grandpa not to pull them when they showed up in his beautiful backyard garden. I pick the flowers but they only lasted in water for about 15 minutes. And later I realized that they got in the way of me climbing trees and exploring the “jungle forest,” in my own yard, as they’d trip me and tangled in my hair. Not that it takes much trip me, this is true. :) Much much later, when I started to work as a volunteer Cordinator, one of my tasks was to coordinate groups of volunteers to clean out yards that have been neglected by frail seniors and folks who are chronically ill. Invasive Himalayan blackberries and morning glories both became the bane of my existence. Morning glories wrap around fences, trees, even porches. They take down entire sheds, swallowing them in their midst. And they’re really annoying to remove. They’re sticky, hard to grab, and if you miss a little tiny piece of one of their roots they just come right back.
These delinquent vines are on the King County noxious weeds list, and hold a special place in a kind of neutral zone, where they’re so widespread that King County knows that nothing can happen. It’s recommended that you remove them, but you won’t get in trouble if you don’t. However they do escape from overgrown backyards and end up in the forests and disrupt wildlife systems, so it’s my belief that they have to go.
The Bee House has morning glories. When I get really upset at my life, and I need to just focus on something concrete, need to have control over SOMETHING, I go outside and pull me some morning glories.
There are plenty out there. And I want to rescue my yard from them. There are a lot of things I can’t rescue anybody from, including myself. But I’m pretty sure I can rescue this yard from morning glories. And if I do it right, I can grow something else where they used to be. But I know that’s going to take a while. For now I’m just plugging away and doing what I can.
There sure are a lot of dandelions in this backyard.
Not necessarily bad, they’re good for salads and stuff. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for dandelion things on Pinterest, including a soap and lotion. It’s very intriguing. I remember my parents making dandelion wine one year and sneaking some for my senior skip day party in high school. That’s stuff was strong! So I could embrace the dandelions I suppose. It might be very Permaculture of me to embrace the dandelions, figure out what their functions are, and figure out how to take advantage of those functions. I’m just having trouble doing it. I just want to pull those bitches up, evict them roots and all, and plant something more traditionally lovely in their place.
Which leads me to my other obsession right now, which is researching Pacific Northwest native groundcovers. This is quite a labyrinth of Internet treasure hunting. I’ll find a place online that sells native plants, and load my shopping cart with a combination of alpine strawberries and wood sorrel and trillium and sword fern. Then I remember I have to pay bills and close the browser window. Alas. It’s fun though.
The bulbs here I dug up unexpectedly. They’re a mystery. I’ll bury them again tomorrow.
Magical things happen after it rains. It was a crazy rain yesterday, my informal rain gauge (a bucket I left out, very scientific) showed it rained about 2 1/2 inches in a day. Hunter Lovins would calls this “global weirding.” I think she’s right, I didn’t really remember it raining like this, torrentially, when I was younger. Certainly not 2 1/2 inches in July. The northwest is transitioning into this weird climate, instead of it raining a little bit and misting and drizzling and all of those other words for traditional Seattle rain, we’re getting these torrential downpours. The plants at The Bee House are happy at the moment. I’m left wondering what our weather will be like in 50 years.
Some sweet friends came this week to help me with a couple of hours of yardwork. A lot of ivy was evicted, which is wonderful. English ivy is an invasive species and must go! My idea is to replant something native, some kind of groundcover that will take the space the ivy takes up and protect the area… But first probably pulling the rest of the Ivy up to the fence needs to happen. Abbie is really excited, she loves exploring up there.
The tale of the epic battle of Kerrie vs. The Garden Hose (now and forevermore which shall be called “Nagini”) is one best told over shots of tequila. That’s all I’ll say about it tonight, since there is no tequila in the house. Spoiler: I did win the battle, but only time will tell whether or not I can claim ultimate victory in the Garden Hose Wars.