Hi friends and family! I hope you had a fun Memorial day weekend. For Northern gardeners like me, a successful Memorial day weekend means getting your vegetable garden planted! Being housebound for 10 weeks, I put more hours into the garden that I could ever hope for. This is the Spring I not only stayed on top of basic tasks like planting, watering and weeding, but also made changes to the garden that will improve our landscape in a long run. I cannot think of a better time to show you the garden than today. Are you ready?
The Video Tours
First, here are the garden walk-through videos! You can click the “play” button in the middle of the video, or for better quality, head over to Youtube.
The front yard tour:
The backyard tour part one, which covers the veggie garden and herb garden:
Backyard tour part two: the berry patch and new patio garden.
If you have trouble viewing the video, do not worry! Below are the pictures I took over the last two weeks of different blooms!
I. The Front Yard Perennial Bed
Here is our front yard flower bed today! Most of the plants went in during Fall 2018, when they were just babies.
Boy did they grow up:
Planted along the dry creek are irises. They have been blooming since early May:
Last Fall I dotted some Hens and Chicks along the dry creek. Apparently they all rooted in and came back this Spring:
The white flowers behind the Hens and Chicks are called “Snow-in-summer”. It is a rather tall groundcover that blooms from early Summer through frost. They are such a fast grower/spreader – this patch was started with two 2-inch cans!
At the end of the dry creek, I cut out this small flower bed last Fall, and planted two peonies and a climbing rose. A trio of grass aligns the fence to add some softness.
Around the corner of the house is a new honeysuckle, underplanted with stonecrop:
Imagine the honeysuckle climbing 8 feet tall and filling the space between the window and the gutter, with the sedum covering and trailing off the entire planter…
The rest of the flower bed is filled with flowering perennials:
Penstemons, Husky red
Penstemons, Pineleaf Beardtougue
Mugo pine and stonecrop “Angelina”
English lavender, FlowerKisser “After Midnight”:
Also planted here are Colorado State flowers and grasses. The Columbines have been putting on lots of foliage growth. They are expected to flower from mid-summer through Fall. The Blue Grama grasses are also getting bigger each day.
I love this Pawnee Buttes Sand cherry! It grew much bigger this Spring compared to 2019, and we are not even getting to the Summer days yet! This particular Sand cherry variety is a western native and supposed to be a low-mount ground cover, but I’ve seen mature plants about 4 feet tall.
The Silver brocade sage adds a nice ice-blue color to the flower bed:
Near the retaining wall are planted groundcovers that flowers in different time of the season. They look like low mounts now but will eventually meet each other to create a nice flowering carpet:
I tacked some baby Hens and Chicks last Fall into the small gaps between the retaining wall and the sidewalk. I did not hold too much hope then, but look at them now!
How could you not love a plant that is beautiful, always looking like it is flowering, impossible to kill, but not invasive?
II. The Mailbox Garden
On the other side of the driveway is our mailbox garden:
This spot is one of the toughest on our property – west facing, beating afternoon sun, water runoff, compact soil, and being pilled onto salt and snow for months during winter. It is my test ground for plants – if a plant can survive here, it will thrive anywhere in my garden without water! And so far everything I threw here passed their entry exam:
The Red Hot Poker (Torch Lily), Hot and Cold:
One of the best upgrade we made this Spring, is to automate all the front yard irrigation, not only for the flower beds but also for the trees and the lawn. It saved us so much time and stress, and the plants are much happier too for getting consistent water:
III. The Backyard Vegetable Garden
This is the third season of this vegetable garden. Starting with just a couple beds, we now have five 4′ x 16′ in-ground beds, two of which are planted with perennial vegetables. I am a believer of perennial edibles – “planting once, harvest forever” sounds great!
The strawberries bed has been producing for two years:
A chive border was planted in front of the strawberries last Fall by splitting one – yes, just one – chive plant! Gotta love a plant that is beautiful, edible, tough as nails, and attracts pollinators!
Last year I asked Slav to “pick a vegetable you want me to grow”. And he picked asparagus! The plant ended up loving our soil and intense sun.
This Spring, I added 25 more crowns around it and dedicated this entire bed to asparagus. All the crowns sprouted nicely. We should be able to start harvesting asparagus next Spring, and many decades ahead!
I am a big fan of garlic scapes. Growing up, garlic scapes and strawberries were only available for a couple weeks each year, usually around my birthday. Each year I look forward to them as birthday treats. Starting 2018, I plant a whole bed of hardneck garlic every Spring for the scapes.
The remaining two beds are planted with annual vegetables we love – tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumber, cabbages, radishes, beets, arugula, and salad greens.
After filming the video tour, I put up some trellises for the climbing beans: This year we are growing Limka and red noodle.
IV. The New Ginkgo Tree and Helleborus Garden
One of the new addition to my garden this year is a Ginkgo tree. I planted it next to the veggie garden. It is a slow-growing tree, especially during the first a few years, so it would not cast shade on the veggie garden any time soon. But eventually, I would love to have the whole yard covered by canopies of big trees for a forest-type micro-climate.
Before that happens, this little flower bed under the crabapple tree is my only “shade” garden. I dedicated this whole space to my favorite plants: helleborus.
Helleborus, or hellebore, is also called Christmas rose or Lenten rose. It flowers in January through April, and offers the most delicate looking flowers that often used for water art.
I planted this garden last year with white, dark purple, and black flowering helleborus, basically what you see in the picture above. They have not flowered this year, but all of them came back from the winter looking much stronger. Without the flowers they still got nice and glossy foliage to look at:
V. The Pollinator/Herb Garden
Besides the veggie garden occupying the south side of the backyard, and fruit trees and climbing roses aligning the east fence, we also densely planted the north side of the backyard. This part of the yard receives full sun and is on a slope. To prevent water run-off, we covered the entire area with wood chip mulch and turned it into an edible garden.
The flower bed in the front is our pollinator garden. Planted here are all sun-loving perennial herbs and flowers. There are sage, English lavender, mint, tarragon, catmint, lemon balm, oregano, hyssop, walking onion, Black Eye Susan, lavender cotton, sulfur flower buckwheat, and some ground cover.
To add more shade trees, I planted a maple tree here in 2019. It will eventually become 40 feet tall and its canopy will meet the canopy of the crabapple tree.
VI. The Berry Patch!
A big part of our edible garden, besides the vegetable beds, is a berry patch we planted last year. 20 berry plants, including 15 raspberries and 5 black berries, and two hazelnut trees went into this big mulched area:
The three rows of raspberry are different varieties. You can see the difference between their sprouting time and growing habit. The row on the very left came up first and spreads the most, and the right row has a more of a tight form.
VII. The New Patio Garden + Planters
Last is the newest addition to our backyard – the patio garden!
What I call the “patio garden” includes the patio planters (planted with stawberries), the strip of mulched area in front of the planters and the berry patch (which is mulched with dried grass clippings for now), and the area between the herb garden and the shed.
Due to the pandemic, we did not manage to get perennial plants to fill the new patio garden. To fill the space, I seeded some annual flower and vine crops. The entire patio garden, from the patio to the shed, is full-sun and get overspray from our grass sprinklers. It will be fun to plan this garden this Fall!
The space closest to the house now have a couple annual herbs, with cosmos seeded in between:
The pink flags are there so Roxie does not get into the flower bed – this girl likes to nap on fresh mulch, which I totally understand. But the new flower seedlings would like to disagree.
I did manage to put in two perennials here, one being a Chinese Snowball Viburnum. It will eventually grow to be a multi-stem tree, 8 feet tall with a 6 feet spread. It will provide some afternoon shade for the snowboard bench and the flower bed below.
The other perennial is a lingonberry, and it flowered right after being planted!
Where the patio garden curves along the berry patch were recently seeded with lettuce and beets. It is treated like an extension of our veggie garden this year, but will be plant with pretty perennials this Fall! I have some leftover cantaloupe seeds that are fairly old, so they all got thrown there too. Maybe one of them will come up!
Near the newly built shed patio I planted a vine crop patch! All the seedlings of zucchini, squash, cucumber went in here.
The goal is to let them becoming a green mulch for the area, so less weeds can come up:
I did manage to get one perennial in this area, and it is an apple tree!
We already planted a honey crisp apple tree a couple years ago, but transparent apple is Slav’s favorite. Although popular in Poland, we could not find this apple sold in stores around us. So let us grow it!
VIII. The Shed Patio and A New Pollinator House
Remember the shed patio I created a few weeks ago? It is still bare and covered by black plastic…given the current situation of the pandemic, this patio might have to wait until next Spring.
We did spice it up a bit by setting two faux evergreen trees in front of the shed. One of (many of) Slav’s snowboards serves as a temporary seating.
Oh, the leave-cutting bee house we DIYed last year reached full occupancy! Totally did not expect it and very encouraged by it. We put up a bigger native pollinator house for native bees and butterflies this Spring, and hope it ill be appreciated.
So, here you have it, our 2020 Spring gardens! We put lots of hard work into landscaping over the last two years, and I think the garden really shows it. Although many of our trees and perennials are still young and need time to fill in, I’d say that we’ve landscaped 90% of the property already! I especially appreciate the hardscape we put in, such as patios, fence, dry creek, the retaining wall, and the most recent drip irrigation and automation system, which will all serve us well for years to come. I cannot wait for our garden to mature and to support the native ecosystem – the pollinators, birds, and even animals. Grow little garden, grow!