Spring Garden and Yard To-Do List: 2019 Projects


Over the past year or so, I've posted plenty of dreaming/hoping/wishing/wanting items related to our yard and garden.  With Spring right around the corner (a guy can hope, right?), I thought I would round up all of those items that I've talked about/lusted after so I can have an organized list to attack this year.

Before I get to this year, I figure I should look back at some of the things that we accomplished in the Spring/Summer/Fall of 2018.

Last year, I got plenty accomplished including the planting of our European Columnar Frans Fontaine Hornbeam trees that will eventually form a hedge on the northern fenceline,  added our first evergreen with a Weeping Cedar tree, planted two more Disneyland Roses, took the inaugural inventory of tree heights, added a bird nesting shelf and a mason bee house, planted a tiny Bald Cypress and a few other trees, worked our terrible clay soil with some added pellet gypsum and had the guys lay on a thick load of mulch, removed a couple of invasive buckthorns, added two patio rhododendrons and two lilacs (that Nat likes!), added to my shade garden with ferns and hostas, had a larger tree that we planted the previous Summer replaced and replaced our small Dawn Redwood and a bunch of other stuff that I didn't cover on the blog.

We were starting from scratch.  When we built the house, we had no landscaping and only a handful of mature trees.  We needed to make an investment in the Hornbeam hedge and then spent some of our time trying to add smaller trees and working the soil.

In no particular order - these are not ranked by priority - are the things we need to tackle this year based on what I've posted about here on the blog (and some that I haven't).

1.  Continue to work the soil and improve the clay conditions.  More to come on this item in a future post, but with this being our third year, we now have two full seasons of mulch down and both gypsum and perlite dug in, so when I take the garden fork to the beds this Spring, I'm hopeful that some of that material has helped to break down the clay.

2.  Planting a Belgian Fence.    Based on this one I saw in Disneyland in Anaheim, I am now convinced that I should be adding a Belgian Fence espalier to our yard.  There are two questions, though:  first...the material.  And second....the location.  I suppose location comes first, then material selection follows.  Pyracantha is what they use in Disney and The Growing Place's catalog includes it, so me thinks we can get it here in Zone 5b.

3.  Trying my hand at a metal framed topiary.  I posted about this Cavalier King Charles Spaniel frame and then - just like the Belgian Fence - I wondered about the location.

4.  Speaking of topiaries....I have this Angel frame that has just sat in our garage for a couple of years.  Why not start with that one, right?

5.  With our boxwoods experiencing blight the past few times we've added them, I'm considering going old-school with a yew hedge.  Yeah...that's right:  yews.  What my parents had in Frankfort and what your parents had in their yard too.  But, thinking of doing something dramatic like big swooping lines or big, puffy clouds.  Both of those things are here.  I'm thinking of planting a short set of yews in the back somewhere, maybe along the fence and letting them grow for a couple of seasons. 

6.  I have to extend the fence for our Automower.   Last year, I put the wire in *behind* the trampoline and the mower continued to get stuck on the trampoline's legs.  This year, I'll move it and re-route the Automower so it won't get caught up so easily.

7.  I need to prune the pair of Lindens that I have espalier'd.  After looking at their skeletal frames all Winter, I've decided to make a few decisions.  I'm going to lop off/prune off the leader at the existing third level and then think about an incision to try to encourage new growth on a *new* bottom row - which would be the fourth row.  I'd like to get this done in late Winter - like this month or early March, so we can have it spend the entire growing season working on adding some girth to the limbs.

8.  I need to do something with some additional conifers.  I've admired these Hollywood Junipers and thought about replanting the Fraser Fir that we lost last Summer or adding to our Hemlock collection, but the more I think about it, the more I think I'm drawn to columnar conifers.  Like this Columnar Norway Spruce.  Going that route won't eat into the yard too much, right?  I think I just need to add a couple of conifers/evergreens and believe they should likely be columnar in nature. 

9.  We had *the best* vegetable garden in Elmhurst.  Since we moved out, we've done almost nothing in terms of growing our own food.  This year, I'm going to change that.  I love this raised bed look but will want to build it so it can eventually be modified into something larger and perhaps connected.  Like this enclosure.  Let's do one raised bed this year.  Then think about more next.

10.   As part of all of the above nine items, I need to remember the idea of adding a walking path along the perimeter of the property.  Winding in and out of trees, drawing visitors back.

This feels like a good list of ten things and something I can revisit later this year to see how I'm doing against these to-do's in the yard and garden.

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