bwisegardening

Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Around The Garden World - Day 28 (Richmond, Virginia)

there is a house behind there somewhere...
When my son and daughter-in-love bought their first home in Richmond, Virginia, they inherited a small jungle. 
front porch looking into the front yard. 
entrance sidewalk to front door

It was a pretty "jungle" but definitely needed to be brought under control for this newbie homeowners and self-proclaimed beginner gardeners.
One delightful, if not a little overwhelming, gift in the garden is this fig tree that envelopes the right side of the front door sidewalk. 

 



 Looking out into their cute little courtyard.... oh, wait, you can't see their cute little courtyard because this rosemary willow has totally taken over the back staircase and sitting area.
Rosemary Willow
This sitting area is completely shadowed by the fast growing rosemary willow.

 So the weekend after #2 son and daughter-in-love moved in, hubby and I flew up there to help tame the garden and give a little guidance in landscape maintenance. First step for these former apartment dwellers was to get the right tools. Here's our stash from Lowes, full of Corona Tools - bypass pruners, hand pruners, folding hand saw, shears. Good tools take an overwhelming task and makes it manageable.
These Womanswork nitrile gloves are a must for anytime I get out to garden.  
I'm not at all squirmish about getting my hands dirty but I do love that I can pull off these very dirty gloves after a morning of work and still have clean hands!
I always preach "wear your gloves" to folks to protect their hands from insects and thorns, but some folks don't like to give up the fine detail they can get with their bare hands. I found these gloves provide both the grip I need and allow me to work those close up details with my finger tips.  Plus, I'm all about the story behind the gloves. Check out their story: click Womanswork.

And #3 son has LOVES his Fiskar push mower!
With just a small strip of grass in the front of his home and a small empty lot to the side, Robert son can quickly and QUIETLY mow with his Fiskar StaySharp Reel Mower. I had been able to see of one these mowers in action at a Garden Writer's event and helped direct Robert to the right mower to fit his needs.

My favorite of ALL tools is something called a Hori-hori knife which Caitlin is so sassily showing here.  I had been telling the family that we needed to get them one (I couldn't bring one in my carry-on luggage on the airplane!). On our excursion to visit Brent and Becky's Bulbs, Caitlin notice that Brent had his Hori-hori, or what most folks call a gardening knife, attached to his belt ready to use at any time. And, lucky for us, we were able to purchase one for the newbie gardeners there at Brent and Becky's garden shop. Caitlin is now ready to take on any tough soil or roots! 

Second step is make sure we are well nourished before we begin our days of work. 
Well-made Pastry Alliance provided some delicious and affordable breakfast food before we began our task - they were an easy morning's walk to get our pre-gardening stretch in. 

 Plus, they had some cute window boxes complete with strawberry vines - fruit with our pastries!
All the plants and the prolific growth they have had over this wet summer was a little overwhelming for these new gardeners so our first procedure in the garden was to prune back and thin out the plants. In the pruning process, we made sure we enjoyed some of the bounty of the garden. 
These figs provided a sumptuous light lunch for us later in the day.

And the zinnias that needed to be thinned out looked perfect in their new kitchen.
 The front garden was overrun with Monarda (Bee balm) so I began by thinning this out. In the process, we found this cute little garden art.

We also found this Alstromeria 
Also found this Baptisia 
We used our Corona garden shears to cut back the Musa (Banana Trees) before we dug them up and moved them to the side of the house. 
A few hours after cutting these banana trees, they are already putting out growth from the middle of the trunk!









  #2 son had been working for me in my garden for years. It was interesting how much more eager and interested in learning he was now that the garden is his!
Lady was so wanting to help!

There were plenty of distractions! 

We found rose bushes, autumn clematis and two dwarfed crepe myrtles under all the monarda and banana trees. 
Hubby pruning the russian sage (Perovskia)

 I think my pruning job sent the young couple into a little shock. I call this tough love - (but they are thanking me now.)

 So then I stared in the courtyard. There were some real treasures that would await them if they could just get TO the courtyard like this beautiful Japanese maple

 And something was lurking behind all this overgrowth


 Follow the unweeded path

 Eureka!! A nice like water feature with a working small fountain. We'll work on cleaning this up later.



 We discovered a raised bed with asparagus and chives

and hidden in this bramble are several blueberry bushes and a blackberry bush. 

So I did a pruning on the rosemary willow...
Tool of choice for this project? The new Corona hand saw. 

 The courtyard is now accessible.


And I found this sweet little clematis vine. 


 There were also some scary, but beautiful little garden helpers like these garden spiders.



 Then we returned a month later....



 Arrived at night and was encouraged to see the regrowth.


In the morning I found the helenium still trying to find it's way after being overshadowed by the banana trees, but loving all the sunlight they were now getting.


The



The roses were flushing with new bloom






The newbie gardeners are starting to feel like they have something manageable!



And the courtyard is ready for quiet evenings or outdoor entertaining.  One small step for this momma, one giant leap for the new gardeners. 

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1 Comments:

At December 19, 2013 at 10:25 AM , Blogger Kathy said...

Just found this today. So many new homeowners inherit a boring lawn and a few foundation shrubs. Your young couple were really blessed to find such an attractive looking house with a real garden. And doubly blessed to have knowledgeable relatives to help them tame it. I really enjoyed this blog post.

 

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