The mission is to transform the weedy patch next to the front stairs into a flower bed and to move the long entrenched hostas from their path to the new bed and beyond. Tools of potential value are brought to the site and are displayed below. The bucket is for the weeds to be transported to the compost. The pointed hoe is excellent for digging out a specific plant. Hori Hori knife, constant garden companion (note the belt) does everything, in a one-pointed way. It leans against the shovel, as everyone knows, the usual digging tool. Next comes the strawberry hoe which sports two widths of hoe blade and is wielded like an axe. I love working with this tool. Last is the conventional hoe, good for moving plants which are not deeply rooted in fairly loose soil.
What else is on hand? The best fitting gloves for these hands, a small size coated palm and finger cotton glove (Boss's Flexi grip, in both summer and winter weights). There's a good grip without blistering the flesh and a solid barrier between my skin and the bugs I squish. Squeamish are you, upset at reading about squashed bugs? Do you garden?
Which tool will prove to be the one for the job? Or will several be needed? They are all at the job site now, so lets see how it goes.
The job site is between the stairs and the down spout. When we first moved here, almost two years ago I dug this area free of weeds. It was surrounded by a rough rock edging and had decent soil in it. I was about to plant herbs there, but the renovation team needed to reside the house, porch, well, everything you see in the photo. (Plus there hadn't been any gutters or down spouts then.) At last the final touch has been laid around the house in the mulch you see beside the house foundation. Beneath that mulch is a weed barrier cloth. Beneath the cloth is hardware cloth, anchored to the foundation to deter animals from seeking shelter. Yes, we really live out in the country, the back woods.
If you look closely, you can see the hostas coming up in the foreground, just in front of and to the right side of the steps.
And the winner of this job is the shovel. A whole section was loosened at one time and fingers riffled through to get the grass and other undesired plants out. Here's a bit of the soil showing. Yes, there are white pines above us, giving the pine straw you see. I use it as mulch on the blueberries.
After the beds were cleared of weeds and the amendments sprinkled on top of the soil I decided to walk back to the tool shed to get another helper to mix the amendments in. As it is a relatively small space I didn't need a full size rake, so this little tined cultivator was perfect for the job. The little hostas you see are left from previous landscaping. They will be dug up and redistributed. Stay tuned for that exciting story.
The shovel also proved to be the best help in digging up this hosta clump. Hori Hori knife comes in handy to thwack the lump to remove dirt from the roots. Some dirt has been removed here, but the rest of the job will come the next day. The clump spent the night wrapped in wet newspaper in the greenhouse. Unravelling roots to separate the plants will be a puzzle to work on while its raining later, hopefully today.
On with the job... In the yard, planted probably 30 years ago are overcrowded areas of summer blooming tiger lilly, spring blooming irises and daffodils. The orange lilies are one of my favorites. There's a wonderful picture of them on the top of Heather's blog, Idaho Small Goat Garden. Both the flowers and roots are edible to humans. We know for sure that they are tasty to deer as the whole flower head gets chomped away and no more flower forming parts are left by the deer to continue brightening up the summer.
Hoping to save some blooms for us, some of each of these bulb-based plants are transplanted into this little bed.
Another tool was used in anticipation of rain storms which have not yet come. As the crew isn't finished with this water diversion project, I need to protect the flower bed from the downspout outflow. The rocks were set in to slant the flow away from the bed and the mini-trench was dug using the smaller blade of the strawberry hoe, followed by smoothing with the larger blade. In the past I have found that water can be trained using a shallow trench like this. The flow may follow the trench out past the flower bed and stairs and then it will resume its normal course downhill which in this case is to the left, down toward the greenhouse and garden.
You may note that there are different plants now, not weeds in the bed. In a rather unimaginative arrangements, minus the hostas which will fill the spaces between the other bulb plants, from the rear, are tiger lilies, iris, tulip, hyacinth (the pink), lilies of the valley (my favorite) and varieties of daffodil. Other flowers will be added when the weather warms.
All the tools, including the ones that didn't get to be used on this job, were returned to the shed. The weeds were taken to the compost (first to dry out, then to be mixed in). The soil in the bed will be smoothed out and finished nicely (I hope) and mulched after the hosta addition. Then I can return to planting the onion, strawberries and cabbages that are waiting in the greenhouse.
Just for fun, here's a pretty picture for you, of lettuce in the greenhouse, with late afternoon sun backlight.
Thank you for visiting. May you and your plants all Grow Joyfully!