Art Projects: Gardening 2016 – The Start

Photo of Rose Garden

I Never Promised A Rose Garden – but I am going to deliver it!

This month has both a fifth Tuesday and fifth Thursday, making the blog a little more challenging. I want the “fifth’s” to be special. The fifth Sunday is a 2,000 word story (as seen in January). The fifth Thursday will be a blog of my own … but what to do for the fifth Tuesday.

Decision made – I will be posting an “art” project I am working on. I’ve talked about my embroidery and calligraphy before. Last year I started learning the art of mosaics. But for the first fifth Tuesday of 2016 I thought I would touch on the gardening.

In between taxes, I have been using my one hour of sunlight per week to work outside. I’ve always wanted to garden to play with. Twenty months ago I got it when I bought my very small house. The yard is big enough for tons of fun, in between being too busy.

Photo of overgrown rose garden
My first goal was a rose garden. Which I arranged October 2015. I moved bushes from around the house. The previous owner for some reason had three bushes – one behind the garbage cans, one where it could grab a skirt every time a passenger left a car, and one slowly being overtaken by sunflowers and weeds. I dug them up and combined them in one area.

Since the roses wouldn’t bloom until summer, I added crocus, tulips, and pansies for springtime. The crocus popped up in early March for two weeks. Now tulips are reigning with support from the pansies.

Photo of overgrown rose garden
Yes, the garden is completely overgrown with spring weeds as well. That needs to get fixed. But my first attempt at putting my mark on my house has worked out well.

The red leafed bushes along the cement should have a continuous display of red and white roses come June. Fingers-crossed!

The major problem is the curved corner dips low and constantly floods. I need to get that fixed along with the weeding sometime soon.

The next thing I concentrated on was the ornamental grass in the back of the house. I worked on this most of February and March during the odd moment of free time my day job allowed during daylight hours. As you can see below, I trimmed the tops off.

Photo of chopped ornamental grass
But reason work was needed on the grass was the entire center had rotted out. Took me three weeks of digging and fighting to clear everything out. One online website on the care and maintenance of Pampas grass recommends trimming with a chain saw, then burning what is left to the ground and let it grow back. No, really – the blog instructed to trim grass with a chain saw while wearing leather to keep the razor sharp leaves from cutting you.

I just went out it with a shovel, hoe, shears, and while wearing a denim shirt and jeans with heavy gloves. My wrists still were slit to heck and back where the fabric gapped, but I did get the center cleared out.

This is what the grass looks from the other side after all the rot was removed.

Photo of rotted center of ornamental grass
I hope it will recover. The grass is beautiful and hides my neighbor’s shed which is falling down and covered by a tarp.

The original idea for this post was to tell you all about the herb garden put in near my kitchen … the one I was going to work on in March. I got everything together two weeks before this post so I could show pictures and brag about how accomplished I am.

Yeah, no. The next two weeks have been working late every day I had a chance of getting home before sunset … or rain. Spring rains. Lots of them.

So what I have to-be-assembled pictures:

The plot which the previous owner covered with the oh-so “effective” weed tarp. I somehow need to dig through the weeds to the tarp. The problem is the weeds have grown through the tarp. To get this up will require removal of four inches or more of weeds, tarp, and roots at one time. I didn’t realize how involved until I started the first “easy” lift off of the tarp. Nothing moved.

Dreaming of an herb garden hereOn one of the rainy days I went shopping for the assembly kit. The brick borders, new soil, and a turtle big enough to sit on while working the little plot.

Last year I dug out the dead bush by the front door. I had really hoped to have a full herb garden this year.

We’ll see what happens.

Photo of Cement Turtle



The other big goal this year is remove as many stumps a possible. The house came with close to a dozen stumps everywhere. I have dug two up so far. The previous owner was an older lady who took care of her yard for a while, but it just got away from her the last few years she lived there. So I have inherited a yard with lots of potential, but to reach that potential, I need to first clear the slate.

From the azalea bushes gone wrong. These should have been blooming by now.

Photo of azalea bushes
To the ever present stumps.

Photo of a stump

And more stumps, plus the bushes which now run the entire fence.

Photo of bushes growing through fence

Oh, and the trees growing THROUGH the fence.

Photo of tree absorbing fence
Anyway, one of my ongoing art projects is getting my yard in shape. A multi-year project, obviously.

The goals for gardening in 2016 are as follows: 

(1) Get the ornamental grass fixed – COMPLETED late March

(2) get the rose garden fixed

(3) get the herb garden in

(4) get as many of the stumps out of the yard as possible.

I think that should be enough. The other fifth Tuesday will show off other art projects. I am thinking covering an embroidery, a calligraphy, and a mosaic project.

I will post pictures to the facebook webpage as this year’s gardening projects are completed.