Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hooray for a productive weekend!

This is kinda a train of thought kinda post since I am so exausted after dealing with the kids and gardening all weekend, but I'm too jazzed from all I got done to sleep yet, so bear with me.

My husband was up in NorCal this weekend for his engineering geologist state exam, so I was stuck at home with the kids. The original plan was to drop them off for a weekend with the grandparents so I could garden my little heart out all weekend.

Then my parents got the flu. boo. hiss.

As any parent knows life is hell when your stuck at home with 2 little ones who miss daddy, so I did what I had to do to stay sane.

I went shopping.

You see OSH was having their " Annual Annuals Sale", basically buy one get one free of their 6 packs of annuals. I'm desperate to add some color and flowers to the front yard. We've been so busy working on the backyard the front was been pretty neglected, other then some irises,wild alyssum and random bulbs I have scattered around.

For about $30 I had 28 6 packs of flowers: impatiens/begonias/coleus for my north facing window box in full shade, alyssum/viola/impatiens for the partially shady area north facing area under Aurora's window, and petunias/pansies/snapdragons/dusty miller for the sunny areas around the yard. I especially loved the alyssums, I have the white variety running wild all over from a wildflower seed mix I threw around last year, but I got some packs of the more colorful shades in violet, lavender and magenta. I * heart* color. My color scheme for the yard is white/purple/blue/pink since I find those colors the most calming.

Let me let you in on a little secret: I've never planted annuals before. Yup, for me annuals was scattering wildflower "Butterfly Mix" seeds around and enjoying whatever decided to grow. I had always shrugged off the idea of buying plants you had to replace every year as a waste of money. I sewed some annuals to start from seed this year, and man, I had no idea how slow soem of them are to grow. :( paying 1.09 for 6 plants ready to go NOW seemed very appealing and affordable ( time vs money here). When some women get stressed they buy food, or clothes, or expensive handbags. I buy cheap stuff/stuff on clearence.

I went to Big Lots and found all sorts of nifty cheap stuff, like plastic gardening tools for my daughter ( even a mini wheelbarrow!), landscape fabric, some new garden tools, a bag of grass seed, and a garden kneeler foam mat thingy to save my poor aching knees. Its not 'name brand' stuff, but I really have never had a problem with the stuff I've bought there. Its where I get my plastic pots and window boxes too for 2-4 bucks each.

I hit Lowes to "window shop" for ideas and see what plants they had and stalked their clearence section. Yup, its all the damaged/half dead/old plants on 75% off. I found a nice pot with 3 purple calla lilly plants, reg price $13 I got for $3. Woot, I wanted some more calla lillies for a damp partially shady spot. It even had a nice plastic pot I washed and reused to make an arrengement of impatiens and coleus.

This year I wanted a little more control over what was growing where colorwise. So all the flowers are white, purple or blue. I forgot to take "before" pictures, and I worked until we were out of daylight so I don't have any "after" pictures yet either.

I kept the kids amused with sand toys and a planket on the grass with snacks and toys. Luckily the weather has been awesome, warm and sunny but not too hot yet. I even got a chance to pull all the 'old' mulch from the planters, rototill & add some slow release fertilizer, and covered them with come cheap landscape fabric I found at Big Lots for $4.00 WAY better deal then the $25 a roll at lowes for the super high end stuff. I cut "X"s in the fabric and used a bulb planter to cut out planting holes for the plants. Worked like a charm. The mulch was mainly for decoration around the sad rose bushes in front, so once the petunias and alyssum fill out the effect should be quite nice. I added the mulch back on top of the fabric and watered, and it now loosk way better. I'm also going to make a better effort to keep the roses well tended. I hadn't pruned them since we bought the house so I really cut them back this winter, and they are full of new growth, which I think is good. I'm no rose expert. I added some rose food around them as well.

I also installed some garden lights I had bought last year and never had a chance to install, I love the soft glow the little lamps give around the yard. Very nice to sit out on the swing and look around. I'm planning on planting some fragrant moonflower vines this year around the front porch area to enjoy on our evening swing chat sessions. Once the weather warms up a bit more I have a large packet of morning glory seeds I want to plant along the *cough*ugly*cough* chain link fence for some nice color and added privacy.

So all in all I spent about $100 to landscape the front yard and got the landscape fabric I needed for my vegetable beds. Hooray for being frugal!

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