Sunday, June 12, 2016

My Crooked Little Country Garden

Yesterday I mentioned that one project seems to lead to another....and another....and 50 more. And my list just keeps growing and growing. 

Well, today I'm happy to share one big project that is finally complete!


The elimination of the mint jungle. Or perhaps I should say, the eliMINTation....ahem. 

Yup, an absolute nightmare jungle of mint. Planted by the previous homeowners, around the veggie garden. 

I'm sure they had their reasons. But it was truly dreadful. 

It wasn't even a nice mint that I could use in a Mojito. Nope, it was a weedy, awful variety. 

Via
Mint is really quite invasive. I love growing it....but I keep it in pots, so it doesn't get out of control. 

Although they planted the mint on the outside of the garden fence, it also pops up everywhere inside my veggie garden. I am constantly doing battle with it, and it drives me bananas. 

So, it was time. It had to go. Adios, mint!

I spent hours pulling out every piece of mint I saw, both in and around the veggie garden, and digging out all the roots. 

There is still some popping up in the veggie garden, but hopefully I can get a handle on it, now that the massive jungle is gone. 

Promise me you will never, ever plant mint directly in the ground. Ever. 

After that awful job, I took a break and headed to the garden center. 

Because, now I had huge areas to fill with plants that I like - here comes the fun part!

Or so I thought. 

Well, let me tell you - digging in our soil up here on the mountain top is never, ever fun. 

It's ridiculous how many rocks you pull out of what starts as a small hole. 

This is what one small area looked like when I was done planting:


Every single one of those rocks came out of that little three-foot section of ground. Insanity!

Sorry for the fuzzy photo - it had started to rain at this point, but I really wanted to get a few pictures to show you what I was up to!


At the end of the day, I had this. Better, but still a lot of work to be done. 

However, I was exhausted. Digging out rocks is no fun. Nor is digging out mint. 

Stage II needed to happen at another time. It was time for a cocktail. 

Anything but a Mojito, please!


Hendricks with Elderflower Liqueur, fresh Lime, and a sprig of Rosemary. 

No mint!

The next phase of this project involved rebuilding the stone border. 

I tackled that this week, and I am loving the finished project!


I'm so pleased with the amount of work I got done here - my little crooked veggie garden is looking just as it should now. A true country garden. 


I mowed all the grass on Friday with my little push mower, and I followed up by weed-wacking everything. 


What a workout I get every week!

But it was so worth it. I couldn't be happier with how it looks. 

It's nothing fancy. It's warped and crooked and some of the boards have rotted out and need to be replaced. 

But it's my little country garden, and it makes me very happy. 


In this section, where I removed the biggest clump of mint, I put in some perennials that will spread and fill in the space. Black Eyed Susans, Bee Balm, Autumn Joy Sedum, and Salvia in this patch. Four of my favorite perennials....because they are truly easy peasy. Perfect for a little country garden. 

I added some annuals for color - Verbena, Cosmos, Angelonia, Portulaca, and Zinnias. And I stuck in a couple of pieces of Creeping Jenny to fill in as a ground cover. 

I can't wait to see the explosion of color!


On the left side of the arbor, I have a hot pink climbing Rose, a white shrub Rose, and a purple Clematis. Morning Glories have reseeded from last year's garden, and I'm so excited to see them start climbing up the garden fence. 

I popped in a Cleome, which will hopefully drop seeds and send up some volunteers in the future. 

And some Petunias and Million Bells, which I truly hope the slugs will leave alone this time. 

I wanted very informal plantings around the veggie garden, a true country flower garden. 


There was mint growing up all through the clump of Irises, and now that it's gone they can breathe and flourish. They are so happy now!


Another section of the border, with repeated annual plantings, for continuity. There's also a yellow climbing Rose and a maroon Clematis in this section. That should be a lovely combo!


And on the right side of the arbor, a pale pink climbing Rose and purple Clematis share space with some more annuals and a purple dwarf Bee Balm, which I've never seen. I'm excited to see how that does in this spot. Bee Balm is one of my favorite flowers to put in any 'wild' garden where you don't mind it spreading. This purple one claims it's more compact and mounded, rather than spreading. As Mom would say, "Only time will tell!"


Walking from the patio into the back garden, you step up and pass this little birdbath. The new gardens around the veggie garden are so lovely to see, and such an improvement over what was there!


You can see how the veggie garden is located at the back of the garage. The ground is sloped, thus the crooked garden. Add the frost heaves we get every year and this little garden just doesn't stand a chance of straightening out!

The pile of rocks on the right is where my well is located. 

And the stone patio is between the house and the garage. 


The pups were right by my side while I was taking photos. 

Aside from a little romp every now and again to chase chipmunks. 

Which, fortunately, they never catch!


The stone patio is where I have the composters, the berry bushes, and the potatoes. In addition, of course, to many pots of flowers to liven things up. 

I'd love to string some lights across the patio some day, and perhaps add a table to those chairs. I took those four chairs off the deck when I added the herb garden up there, and they are kind of just hanging out on the patio right now. 


This is the view from the patio to the back garden. My sweetie plans to someday run a stone path from the stone step (bottom left of photo) over to the entrance of the veggie garden. I think that would be so lovely!


This is the garden from the other side of the property, back by the shed and the fire pit. 

It sure has come a long, long way since I moved in last year. 

The back corner by the Lilac was a jumble of giant weeds, rotting tarps and garbage when I moved in. I tackled that project last summer, cutting up moving boxes and smothering the weeds. I mulched the whole thing, and dragged over a metal trough I found in the woods, and a couple of andirons I found by the fire pit. I added two whiskey barrel planters I brought with me from my rental house, and planted the whole thing with annuals and ornamental grasses. 


This is what it looked like at the end of the summer. Wow - love, love, love!!


And here's what it looks like right now. I loved those ornamental grasses so much last year that I planted them again this year in the whiskey barrels. One barrel is buried behind the plants on the right, which I believe may be Evening Primrose. 

The Creeping Jenny that was in the planters last year established itself quite well in the mulch. And I like it! I think I'll bring in another type of groundcover to add a little variety. Something with a blue tinge, perhaps. 

And in the center of the metal trough, I planted the small weeping Pussy Willow tree my daughter gave me. I hope it will do well there, and since the bottom of the trough is rusting out, it will have plenty of room to grow deep roots. They also like a 'wet' corner, so this should be a great spot. Fingers crossed!


I'm just so happy with my little crooked country garden. 

And now that I seem to be the winner in the battle of the slugs, hopefully everything will flourish and I'll have wonderful photos to share as the season progresses. 

Add to that the fact that I haven't seen the bear for three days now and today is a very, very good day!

55 comments:

  1. Dear Mountain Mama:
    What a darling garden. I love it! Things growing everywhere makes me happy too! Lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Bernideen!! I truly love an old fashioned country cottage garden, and that's just what I've got!

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  2. Mercy my friend you have done an amazing amount of good hard work! It all looks so so very pretty and just the kind of garden i love---- and has such a nice old fashioned feel to it. You should be very proud of it-- i know i would be! Just be watchful of the bears!

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    1. Thank you so much - and yes, always watchful!! Like you, I love an old fashioned garden. Anything that's 'too' manicured just doesn't suit me at all!

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  3. Good gosh, you worked hard! I can't believe all those rocks came from that one space. Your hard work shows. The gardens are beautiful! I made the mistake of planting lemon balm...just like mint. It is horrible! There is lemon balm everywhere...even when I mow the yard smells like fresh lemons. It is very hard to pull out of the ground. You have a beautiful place.

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    1. I made that mistake once, in a previous house, in a previous life.....I guess my ex husband is dealing with that nightmare now!! There's nothing wrong with the smell of fresh lemons when you're mowing, though....that would be a nice bonus!

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  4. I think you have done a fabulous job. I love the stacked stones . So sweet. It is looking wonderful there. Yes, you deserve a cocktail, after working so much. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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    1. You're right, Susie, I do!! When I'm all done with a hard job in the garden, it's lovely at the end of the day to have a shower and then a cocktail....and walk around and look at what I've accomplished!

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  5. The stacked stones look fantastic! I have to admit, I plant mint and lemon balm and many herbs nearly everywhere. Why? So many of the herbs have essential oils that repel mosquitoes. However, my only "garden in the ground" is really a raised garden. So really not the same thing as a vast garden or anything. I would rather smell the scent of herbs than swat mosquitoes!
    Brenda

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    1. Nothing wrong with planting them in raised beds like yours, Brenda - worst case scenario, if they get out of hand, you dump out all the soil and start fresh!

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  6. Love your garden, it is looking fabulous and so is the rest of the yard.

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    1. Thanks, Marty! Sometimes I think I'm crazy, since it's a lot of work....but you know what? It's also a good workout!

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  7. Everything looks so pretty in your crooked garden but are you sure you don't want mint? Just kidding. Every gardener I know has battled mint at one time or another. It starts out so pretty and you think it's all good and then BAM it's everywhere and it gets to be an ugly mat on the ground.

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    1. I remember my mom planting it years ago, when I was quite young, and then battling it forever after. I remembered that lesson!!

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  8. I love gardens, big and small. Yours is perfect.

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    1. Same here, Dayle. I just need things growing, whether it be on a balcony or in the ground....surround me with plants and flowers and I'm at my happiest!

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  9. It all looks wonderful! :) You probably hurt that bear's ears with your screaming the other day ...hope so, anyway :)

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  10. It all looks wonderful! :) You probably hurt that bear's ears with your screaming the other day ...hope so, anyway :)

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    1. I'd say the fact that he didn't find any food here, after three visits, sent him off in another direction.

      Hopefully. Fingers crossed!

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  11. I can't imagine all that digging you did, especially with all those rocks down in the soil! I have a bad back (herniated disks) so hubby does the digging. I don't mind the planting part though. I could really use some of those rocks for garden bed borders. I'm always on the lookout for rocks and they're so hard to find here! There are garden centers that actually sell them and they cost a fortune, which is probably making you laugh. Supply and demand, I guess. I hear ya on the mint. Many years ago, when I didn't know any better, I started an herb garden at the back of my house and I planted mint AND lemon balm. Both very invasive. Well, guess who now has to pull out and dig out these plants every year? In fact, I just pulled out a bunch yesterday. I do like some in that little garden because it makes a nice backdrop. Maybe someday I'll get so sick of it that I'll have hubby dig it all up and I'll start all over. We'll see. Anyway, your gardens are gorgeous! Enjoy the fruits of your labor. :-)

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    1. Isn't that funny? I remember Valerie from Cottage Making Mommy saying the same thing - no rocks to be found unless you pay for them. Bizarre how different sections of our country are, right? If I could sell my rocks perhaps I could make a 'mint' - ha ha ha ha! :)

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  12. I don't drink alcohol but I absolutely love a good fresh cup of mint tea! Your photos are gorgeous, and you have a lovely blog. :)

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  13. I don't drink alcohol but I absolutely love a good fresh cup of mint tea! Your photos are gorgeous, and you have a lovely blog. :)

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    1. Thank you, Linda!! I also love mint tea - but all my mint is planted in a pot by the kitchen door, right where it's easy to grab it....and it won't take over the garden! Thanks for visiting, Linda - I love meeting new blog friends!!

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  14. Your little crooked country garden is beautiful!! Wow, you've done so much hard work but it's just perfect. I can't wait to see more as the plants and flowers grow. That drink you made looks delish and I must say, well deserved! :)

    xo
    Pat

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    1. It's one of my favorite summer cordials, Pat! Equally delish with a little splash of lemonade and sprig of thyme....or mint! :)

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  15. Love your place!!! You inspire me, I need some of your younger energy. :-)

    Happy Summer gardening ~ glad you've not seen the bear lately.

    FlowerLady

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    1. I wish I had the energy I had years ago, Lorraine - it's amazing how much I used to be able to get accomplished in a day!

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  16. Hi Deb: I just love how you lined your perennial garden with rocks from your property. I hope you don't mind if I do the same thing. I come here for inspiration. lol Your gardens look so adorable, so fun and whimsical. Deb

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    1. I'm sure you'll have plenty of rocks to use when you start digging the foundation for your new house, Deb! Do you also find a billion rocks in every hole you dig? Somehow I imagine your terrain to be similar to mine...

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    2. Yes, it is very similar. You hit rock about a foot down. I have an abundance of rocks to play with and more to come. lol

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  17. Garden looks great. I have a pot of mint. This past weekend, I wanted to separate it into two pots and lawd have mercy, That stuff was just one big hairy vine under the dirt. Threw a lot out in a wooded area in the corner of my lot to just get rid of it. Maybe I need to go retrieve it and throw it in the trash.
    Lisa

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    1. Ha ha, you may want to throw it in the trash!! Yes, that's the nightmare I was dealing with under the ground, too! I grow mint in a long planter, like a window box, and by the end of the summer it's totally root-bound! I toss it and start fresh every year.

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  18. I love your little crooked country garden! You have worked so hard and it is just beautiful! You have great ideas of how to do things. Beware the cleome. I love it and it is just gorgeous but reseeds all over. So be prepared to pull the unwanted ones out. Nancy

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    1. I have had Cleome re-seed in my garden down in the valley but so far on the mountain top? Nope. Not sure why. I guess I'll see what happens with this batch!

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  19. eliMINTation, ooooh you're good, thanks for the smile!

    Your garden looks great!

    We've grown mint in containers and it is a plant that certainly attacks. I was thinking of putting some in the ground in the garden but now I'm going to keep it a pot instead!

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    1. Maybe if you put it in a whiskey barrel it might come back? I'm not really sure. Mine didn't, but that's ok, I started fresh this year. By the end of the season the mint is so root bound anyway it would have to go to a bigger pot if it came back.

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  20. I worked up a sweat just reading about all your hard work. LOL
    It all looks lovely. So nice to see all your plans coming together
    In your beautiful gardens all around your property.

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    1. I drink sweet tea during my breaks to give me energy....so, see, you really were there helping me out!! :)

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  21. I haven't had time to respond lately but I've been keeping up and reading all your posts. The bear was crazy but your beautiful yard and garden make it worth putting up with occasional visits from the big guy. I'm truly jealous of all your beautiful beds but you've put in so much hard work you deserve the rewards.

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    1. I agree, Barbara - my life up here makes me happy, even with a stupid old bear coming around trying to frighten me!!

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  22. I nearly let this post slip by without telling you how cute your garden is. I love it! It speaks country from every corner. Can't wait to see more as it grows in.

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    1. Me, too, Laurie! There's a tiny rosebud ready to open....I can't wait to see it!

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  23. What a cute little mountaintop country garden! I just adore the birdbath and the rock border. I know it takes a lot of work, but exercise in the garden is so much more pleasant than going to a gym... and it's cheaper! :)

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    1. Give me the garden any day over the gym!! And the great thing is, at the end of the day, you can walk around your property and see all you've accomplished for your hard work!

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  24. It is a nice little country garden, your gardens are reminding me of Tasha Tudor's gardens. And I do love your stone patio.

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    1. Ok, so of course I had to go look up Tasha Tudor, and now I need to buy the book about her gardens!! Yes, that is exactly the type of garden I love!! Thanks, Dewena, for cluing me in!

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  25. You have done a ton of work on your place. Do you think you'll ever be done? Mint definitely belongs in a pot...we have some that is a holdover from years ago.

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  26. Your gardens are lovely! Please don't hate me but I have planted mint right into the ground and yes it has spread but it seems to help keep the mice away from the house. ;)

    I thought of you the other day when I ordered a drink at a local restaurant. It was called a Rhubarbie. They made it with a homemade rhubarb simple syrup, some gin and some tonic water and served it with a lime wedge over ice. :)

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  27. Your gardens are lovely! Please don't hate me but I have planted mint right into the ground and yes it has spread but it seems to help keep the mice away from the house. ;)

    I thought of you the other day when I ordered a drink at a local restaurant. It was called a Rhubarbie. They made it with a homemade rhubarb simple syrup, some gin and some tonic water and served it with a lime wedge over ice. :)

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    1. That drink sounds amazing - and I sure could use one right about now!! :)

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  28. I love your sweet country garden! It has a lot of charm and will be so pretty when all your annuals fill in. Love the large patio you have. A table and umbrella would be nice! Bee balm is my favorite when it blooms. Until it does it looks like a weed and pops up everywhere. I have a garden that I can't weed until I realize what is a flower and what is a weed! The birds like to bring me seeds too. I have a Shasta daisy plant and Bachelors buttons from them!

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    1. Isn't it nice when you get 'volunteer' plants that you actually want? :)

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  29. What a lovely garden.

    Thanks for sharing with SYC.

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