Monday, July 8, 2013

A Blank Canvas

Sorry I've been gone, we were in the middle of a move to the Eastside of Seattle Metro area and it consumed all of my time. But, I am so very excited to be back on my old stomping grounds! We purchased a wonderful house that sits on a very pretty piece of property, it just needs a little (read a super, ginormous amount) of work to make it beautiful.

I have always had this dream of having a ginormous blank canvas to build a dream garden in and well, now I have it. I have to pinch myself as it has been a very, very long journey to get here. All the way to Austin, Tx and back. More than a decade in the making. All the events that have happened, good and bad we used to bring ourselves to this place. The new house sits on an acre that overlooks the woods with a stream  that runs to the lake down below. I don't have to look into the window of the neighbors bathroom or bedroom or living room. Nope. Just trees. I am thankful every single day for this view of lush, green, goodness:

The yard is huge. And, a huge overgrown mess. Truth be told, I'm a little overwhelmed, but totally up for the challenge. So here's the rundown:

The side yard is actually pretty clean, just full of boring lawn. A large part of this lawn will be replaced by a woodland garden. The first task is to reuse all those cardboard boxes from our move and lay them out in the yard and cover them with mulch and let it all break down to shrink the lawn:

The front yard is pretty clean like the side yard. I've got about four wine barrels with veggies and dahlias lined up out that way right now, but I'm planning on putting in a trellis and planting hops:

Against the house is a terraced area that is full of half dead grass and weeds because it is too shady for the lawn that was planted to grow there. I'm working on replacing this right now with shade-friendly small trees and all manner of bulbs and shade loving perennials and natives:

Around the back is a hill that leads from the deck stairs to the tennis court. Oh, yeah, the place came with a tennis/basketball court which I initially hated, because I thought that is where a veggie garden should go instead! I have changed my tune and the tennis court is staying, it just seems so...snobby...but it's fun and I'm learning to play some tennis. (I have stopped whacking the ball a million miles over the net at least, so I'm improving). I will be putting some kind of stairs in here, along with a jar fountain up on the top:

Off to the right in the shot above, you can see a patch of the largest deciduous huckleberry bushes ever known to mankind. Oh! And some Peonies and Iris on the left against the house. Here's a shot showing  the huckleberry patch and looking beyond:

Off yonder is a mound septic system. Ick. It is ugly, but I'm gonna fix that! Oh, yes. This mound will eventually be covered in perennials and grasses and groundcovers (no trees or shrubs or deep rooted things can be grown on or near a mound system). Yep. This is where the butterfly garden is going:

The challenge? Plants bunnies won't eat. The entire world's population of bunnies lives in my yard. I'm actually thinking of planting them a nice clover crop on the shady side of the mound. That kept them out of the Olympia veggie garden. Distracted by delicious clover, they were.

On the topic of woodland creatures, in that photo of the mound above, looking towards the back, there is a cedar grove. I was back there clearing it out and blazing trails (really nifty woodsy area back in there) when I happened upon a yellow jacket nest. Yep. I pulled out a blackberry bramble that was growing from a rotted stump and out poured thousands of yellow jackets! They pummeled me with their stings and vicious, relentless biting as I tore out of there as fast as my legs would carry me. That all resulted in a trip to the ER and a very miserable week of wasp sting recovery. I now am the proud owner of a wasp-sting kit complete with EPI pen. Yay.

Moving on, we come to the old horse shed on the tree covered knoll. Yeah, there was once a horse that lived on this side of the property:

This shed will soon be painted turquoise and pink, maybe purple? I dunno, but it's gonna be fun Austin colors. I loved the colors down there and want to incorporate them into my new garden. Central Texas meets Pacific Northwest. It'll be fun!:

I had to cut some steps into the hillside to get up to the shed. Guess what I found? Another bee nest! This one was full of native, miner bees, though. They were non-violent and just buzzed around, so I let them be until they calmed down:

While trimming the overgrown trees and shrubs, I found....

A lake view! I have a view! I had no idea. The horse did. He had a great view from his horse shed. Guess where I'm putting a bench and a trail and a woodland garden? And the hubby has promised to reinforce the shed, add a second viewing level and build a spiral staircase up the huge fir tree to access this second level. He better make this happen. It's really not nice to tease about these kinds of things.

Here is all the overgrowth we cut out from that area that was obscuring the view:

Those black bags are full of ash and nails - 10 pounds of nails! - mixed in with the burn pile the previous owners made you see in the picture below. This is a big project, cleaning up all the nails they tried to burn in the fire. Ugh. Who does that? Geez. What a mess. I'm still working on it, but when it is finally cleaned up a nice fire pit will go here along with a nice picnic table:

Back down behind the fire pit is where the fenced in area for the horse once was and will now become my veggie garden once I get time to borrow and bring the tractor with the tiller up here for a weekend. And, yeah, that ugly fence needs fixing/painting/hiding as well:

All that area on the slope around the (snobby) tennis court is going to be covered in perennials. I am slowly collecting clearance items and also growing them from seed:

Did I say I was overwhelmed? I am totally overwhelmed, but I can so fix this. Oh, yes. This will be my dream garden. I've already been poking around and found some neat plants hiding here and there. Here are some celandine poppy coming up in the shade through the mulch that was piled on them in order to sell the house:

And I also discovered this guy. I don't know what it is, but very pretty:

Until I can get the garden really going, I have all my potted plants to keep me entertained on the deck:

Fuchsia, geranium, rose campion, milk and wine lily:

Close up of the milk and wine lily. I brought this one back from Austin with me and it had never bloomed before, but has bloomed twice in two weeks for me this year! I'm ever so excited:

Now it does rain a lot in the Pacific Northwest, so to complete this garden I needed a solarium which I can sit in and watch the rain come down and the sun come back out. We're not in Kansas anymore! Rainbow shot through solarium windows:

So that's it. My blank canvas. It's a huge, multi-year project. May the powers that be give me the opportunity and time to finish it. And so it begins...


scottweberpdx said...

WOW! That is so exciting, I 'm so happy for you to finally get to return to Seattle...AND get a huge property. Truth be told, I'm super-jealous. Can't wait to see what you do with that blank slate!

Pam/Digging said...

Congrats on your new property. I envy your drive and enthusiasm for creating a large dream garden. I look forward to seeing it evolve on your blog -- and to seeing that Austin-colored shed!