The Latest Dirt: Before the 2013 season

Mr. Moon and I finally got a break, and he had a day off at the same time as we had some decent weather. We got outside under a nice warm sun, got some "before" pictures of this year's garden and yard, and prepped the existing raised beds for spring gardening. 

Before the 2013 season:
To the right of the front door/front walk: blue bulby flowers (no idea what they're called, but currently they're the grassy stuff); irises that really needed splitting last fall; a volunteer rose bush that we keep cutting out; two hydrangea plants; and a yellow dahlia. TO DO: Rake out wood chips, chop back dahlias, rip out rosebush, split and spread the little blue flowers, and split the irises; maybe bring some lilies from elsewhere in the yard over here to be in with the irises.
To the left of the front door: Our container bed. We've had swiss chard in these all winter, there's some geraniums that lasted, and something that we never got the name of in the back. These are typically annuals. TO DO: I'm going to spend some time on them this year, try to fill them completely instead of haphazardly, and also try to get some useful stuff in there as well (like saving some of this swiss chard, perhaps). The ramp and bedframe need some TLC, a little structural support and a paint job. 

To the left of the front walk: A line of scraggly, half-dead, very unhappy roses that like to snag your skirts and sweaters, and some more of those grassy blue flowers (I love these, BTW, they look great most of the year even if we only get flowers for a few weeks). TO DO: Rake out all the wood chips, re-edge the bed on the grass side, dig up and spread the blue flower bulbs; I'm also going to take cuttings from a few of these plants, re-root them, and replace them with new plants so we can start over without having to buy roughly 20-30 new rose bushes. 

 In front of the dining room: More scraggly rose bushes, a Yukka plant, and that tuft of grassy stuff is garlic! There's more garlic between the rose bushes as well that's popping up green leaves. TO DO: Rake out the wood chips, re-edge the grassy side, replace these bushes. 

Along the front walk: More scraggly rose bushes, mint transplants from the back that may or may not grow back, some sort of bulby flowers around the tree and randomly toward the other end. TO DO: Bring more mint up here if the transplants don't take, rake out the wood chips and leaves, replace the plants, fill in between rose bushes with blue grassy flowers and mint. 

MISSING PICTURE: Along the driveway: lilies, dead heather plants, mint, yukka plant, japanese maple. TO DO: rip out yukka and dead plants and random tree that blocks the passenger side of my car (OK I might try pruning that first, but it's in a BAD spot), rake out wood chips, split lilies, maybe put some irises in with the lilies. 

MISSING PICTURE: Along the other side of the garage: Air conditioner, dead heather and azalea plants, random junk. TO DO: rip out dead plants, replace. 

Along the back wall: More rose bushes that snag your clothes and cover the walk; volunteer blackberry bushes and a huge clematis that block access to the faucet; random stack of chairs; obnoxious crab apple tree; a few spots for hanging planters, including one dead fuchsia one. TO DO: Rip everything out. I mean everything! All the removed wood chips from other places are going to go here, after I rake the existing ones out, dig everything out, and cover the entire area in an awful LOT of newspaper to discourage regrowth. Eventually I'm hoping to turn this into a container gardening area, keeping it nice and neat and contained to avoid blocking access to the faucet. 

Along the back shed, across the sidewalk from the previous picture: scraggly rose bushes, broken trellises, random (UNUSED!) toilet, bush stump, volunteer blackberries, and at the extreme left edge is another crab apple tree. TO DO: rake out the wood chips (surprise, surprise), re-edge the beds, replace the rose bushes and trellises, plant stuff in the toilet, build a "tank" to the toilet that's going to have a fairy house and tea patio on it, get a sink to plant stuff in. 

Around to the left of the last picture, along the back fence: aforementioned stump, rose bush?, hanging basket, a lot of empty space, flag pole that needs re-hanging and re-stringing. TO DO: rake out the wood chips, rip all plants out except blackberries, re-edge, fill in, and propagate blackberry bushes.  

MISSING PICTURE, Next frame to the left: Trellis hung with nothing to grow on it, and some random weird plants that we aren't sure if they'll grow back. TO DO: Rake, edge, fill, replant. 

Next frame to the left: blueberries, raspberries, and a whole heck of a lot of pine needles, plus some wood chips. TO DO: rake, edge, fill, nurture the berries. 

Next frame to the left, all the way to the edge of our back yard: This is the mint garden, which also got carrots and cauliflower planted in it, though they never flourished. TO DO: rake, edge, fill the back corner, perhaps add some additional varieties of mint. 

Headed toward the front yard now, one more frame to the left: the compost pile that butts up against a crab apple tree and the neighbor's fence. TO DO: rip out the apple tree, rake out wood chips, build a new compost bin with at least two and perhaps three slots; re-edge this section and the rest of it against the fence. 

And to the left: rhododendrons and plum tree on the right; cherry tree next to the front fence; butterfly bushes on the left by the house. TO DO: rake, edge; plant sunflowers between the bushes and perhaps some climbing vegetable to climb the sunflowers; take out those butterfly bush stakes. This is the area we're building our raised beds, though we've changed our plans for those and that's a discussion for a later date. 

 The veggie garden! From the back: containers full of herbs, dead hanging planters, broken trellis, some shepherd's hooks. The basil, cilantro, dill and tarragon died over the winter, but the thyme, lavender, rosemary, and oregano flourished. The chives had been drowned out early in the rainy season, but apparently Mr. Moon dumped the pond at some point and they're growing back nicely. 

From the front: the left bed has leeks, beet greens, and kale that never really flourished, though the leeks did well enough. Some random bits of garlic. The right bed has the remains of nasturtiums, and was supposed to be radishes and who knows what else? TO DO: rip out the contents, cover with newspaper and cardboard. 

DONE! TO DO: plan out the beds, buy seeds, get seedlings started on top of the fridge.

I'm pretty excited about our plans for this season. What are your plans outside this year?


  1. Grand idea to post before pics. I may copy this idea so I can keep a check on what I am doing and how I am going. Cheers Sandie (eat it raise it grow it) oops the title is the other way around but....


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