2022 Yard and Garden To-Do List Check-in - September 2022

The mornings are already cooler and smell different.  The days are getting shorter.  The Kentucky Bluegrass in our lawn is starting to bounce back and emerge from dormancy.  The kids are back in school.  That means that the growing season is entering the final stretch - Late Summer/Early Fall.  And, with the calendar turning over to September, I thought I'd do a quick check-in on how I have been doing against my 2022 yard and garden prioritiesWe typically get our first frost sometime in mid-October, so that means we have six-or-so weeks left to get busy before putting the garden to bed. 

Like I've done in the past, I started the year with a list of 25 items that I considered priorities.  The list serves as a guide and a check on what is most important to get done each year.   Let's see where we are as of September 1st, 2022.    I've done this late-season check-in before (here's 2020's version) and I think this is a good way to shortlist what *can* be done and gives me some (needed) focus out there.

My 2022 to-do list (in brief) contained these 25 items below.  Let's see how we've done (so far) via some color-coding.  Green = completeOrange = mixed/in-progressRed = not started/no progress.

And...to be fair, some of these things are *bigger* or more important or have a bigger impact than others, so they don't really have equal weights.  I've done A LOT of things related to the list (just look at this 2022 to-do list tag), so there's certainly been activity.  But, not all big-ticket items.  Take, for instance...#1 (shrubs).  I spent the lion's share of my planting budget and time in the Spring on this and believe that what I've put in will pay off in a significant way/show up big in the coming years.  There are others that aren't done (retaining wall) that are big projects, too. Others are small-ball (like bird feeding).  There are also (as always) projects that I take on/additions/plantings that are NOT on the list, but are big lifts or have big impacts, too.  

With all that preamble, let's get on to the list of 25 for 2022:

1. Focus on shrubs. Feel good about this. 
2. Buy Perennials that work one of three ways. Mixed. Need a few more.
3. Build the 'upper' retaining wall by screened porch.  Nope.
4. Enhance the "in between two driveways" strip. Mixed. Need a few more.
5. Fall in love with Groundcover.  Feel good about this.
6. Have even more 'fun' with trees and vines. Feel good about this.
7. Keep working (normal) trees 3 ways. Mixed, think about a Fall tree.
8. Keep finding joy with houseplants. Not really. 
9. Test and Learn With Landscape Lighting.  Feel good about this.
10. Continue a few seasonal projects.  Mixed, but close.
11. Lawn Schedule, Overseeding and Renovation.  Not complete, but planned.
12. Add more 'free plants' through division.  Not started, but planned.
13. Composting Improvements and Schedule. Nope.  Missed.  Need to correct.
14. Expand my use of tropicals and sub-tropicals in the garden. Trialed, so feel ok.
15. Add a second backyard retractable water hydrant. Mixed. Have reel, just not mounted.
16. Design with dark foliage and add color with shade annuals.  Feel ok about this.
17. Get back in the Bird Feeding Groove. Nope, but not the season (yet).
18. Make a more permanent Fairy Garden setup. Not really, but did add to container. 
19. Improve front porch bed mulch and soil conditions. Mixed.  More to do.
20. Stain the patio container. Nope. Not done.
21. Enhance fire pit area.  Mixed, but close. 
22. Add a water feature.  Nope, not yet.  But have an idea.
23. Upgrade garden tools. Nope, but didn't add any ratty tools, either.  So...mixed.
24. Clean up the south side gate entrance area. Mixed. More to do.
25. Build a Versailles planter box. Nope.  

That's not looking good, is it?

6 in green. 24% complete
12 in orange. 48% mixed or incomplete.
7 in red.  28% not started and no progress.

I've been averaging right around 70% complete the past few years, so I have a ways to go yet.

A closer examination of the 12 mixed and 7 not started seems like will help me focus my energy in the last two months of the season. I already have a running list of things I'd like to address in [Fall 2022], so that list will grow. 

Here are the orange/mixed items:

2. Buy Perennials that work one of three ways. 
4. Enhance the "in between two driveways" strip. 
7. Keep working (normal) trees 3 ways. 
10. Continue a few seasonal projects.  
11. Lawn Schedule, Overseeding and Renovation.  
12. Add more 'free plants' through division.  
15. Add a second backyard retractable water hydrant.
18. Make a more permanent Fairy Garden setup. 
19. Improve front porch bed mulch and soil conditions. 
21. Enhance fire pit area.   
23. Upgrade garden tools. 
24. Clean up the south side gate entrance area. 

Here's the items that I think I can do in the next 60 days to get these to green.

2.  Buy a couple of Autumn Ferns and/or an interesting Epimedium or Hosta.
4.  Buy a couple of drought-tolerant plants for down by sidewalk and remove a little turf.
7.  Get caliper measurements on all trees and transplant all seedlings to larger pots.
10. Treat trees and add rabbit protection.
11.  Deal with Nimblewill, dethatch, overseed and lay down compost topdressing on slope.
12.  Divide hostas and transplant astilbes.
19.  Buy compost and spread
21.  Add a few more plants - maybe through division. Clean up stumps.

That's 8 items.  Getting me (when done) to 14/25.

Now, let's look at the red ones - not started, no progress - that I think I can address in the coming weeks.

8. Transplant my firesticks and remount the dying Staghorn Fern.
13.  Turn the bin and add Alfalfa cubes.  Use the tumbler material.
17.  Feed the birds.  When the weather turns.

That would get me to to 17 - which is what my average has been over the past few years.

What are the eight that remain that seem unreachable (as of today?)

3. Build the 'upper' retaining wall by screened porch.
15. Add a second backyard retractable water hydrant.
18. Make a more permanent Fairy Garden setup.
20. Stain the patio container.
22. Add a water feature. 
23. Upgrade garden tools. 
24. Clean up the south side gate entrance area. 
25. Build a Versailles planter box.

The ones on there that are stretches are: mounting the 2nd hose reel (#15), stain the container (#20) and upgrade tools (#23).    A few of the others feel like Spring things:  Fairy Garden, south side entrance.  And some are just a matter of resourcing and budget-decisions:  Water feature and Retaining Wall.  

I'll wait until very late this year to do the complete scorecard (last year, I posted in early December), but it is clear that I still have A LOT to deal with/take on in the coming six weeks or so.  Let's get after it.

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