Our Little Oasis ~ by Sam

I wrote this whole long entry about our garden ~ explaining how we mostly do-it-ourselves, but call in the professionals for big stuff, like trimming the huge mulberry tree, addressing my hopes to have an edible garden, and how they have fallen by the wayside as I cannot seem to stop buying flowers, chronicling the evolution our garden, justifying my choices, giving advice and providing resources… Trust me, this was a brilliant post.  And then, Chrome quit, and it ate my entry on its way out.

I give you a brief synopsis:

a) all that stuff I said up there.

b) I like flowers.  They make me happy, they smell good, tending them is therapeutic, and I save money when I don’t have to buy cut flowers for myself and to give as gifts.

c) Talk to people at your local nurseries, talk to your neighbours who garden, do research online regarding what grows and how in your area.  Know your zone, your conditions, learn about light exposure, and pay attention to the specific needs of individual plants.  My in-laws gave me two great books (Sunset Western Garden Book, and Pat Welsh’s Southern California Gardening) that have been invaluable resources for me.  You can find similar books that are specific to your area.

d) Get stuff free.  Post wanted ads to freecycle, craigslist, community bulletin boards for things you need before resorting to buying it (lattice, seeds, plants, rocks, gravel, pots…)  Check alleyways and curbs for pots, trellis, garden furniture, etc.  Ask your friends (in person, or on facebook or other social networking sites.  Trade for stuff (I’ll give you a clipping of my plant in exchange for a clipping of yours).   Ask your favourite coffee shop to save used grounds for your garden.  Keep an eye out for offers for offers of free shade trees from your city or your local utility company.  Check for local classes and workshops offered by your city, county, and local nurseries.  Many are free to attend, and some raffle off supplies and/or give  out coupons for special discounts, just for attending.

e) We have a lot of plants.  I went kind of crazy and bought a bunch of stuff, now that I can use my hand again in an almost normal fashion.

f) Here are a bunch of pictures that tell the rest of the story:

Sometimes, you buy two jasmine plants on sale at your local Costco before you realize that you aren’t sure they will fit in your car.  It might take a little longer to get them in there than you suspected.  You should probably go back and buy a pizza for dinner.Image

Primroses are awesome.  15 for $13.99 at Costco, and the pots are from the 99-cents store, but they look like a million bucks up there on the wall.Image

Alyssum smells amazing.  Like warm honey.  I dare you to walk by it and not buy some.  Image

My husband is awesome.  He helped me create this flowerbed in the backyard, between the raspberry and blueberry plants.Image

Oh, yeah ~ we now have raspberry and blueberry plants.  They were on sale at the Home Depot for $7.98/each.  You know how I feel about sales.  Oh, and Big Lots has great deals on pots and other garden needs, if you do find yourself needing to buy.ImageImage

E.B. Stone’s Sure Start is awesome.  I always use it was transplanting, whether in to containers, or directly in to the ground.  Good stuff.  In fact, i recommend E.B. Stone’s stuff, in general.  Love their Tomato & Vegetable Food. (African daisies, alyssum and primroses are also pretty awesome.) Image

I have a floppy garden hat, and I work in my garden.  Oh, and we put in snapdragons, because Hallie has always wanted them.Image

Yesterday, thanks to freecycle, I picked up two free sheets of garden lattice.  I am hoping to score enough to go across the back wall, bring up the height, giving us a little more privacy (our wall is shorter than me, and that’s short!), and keeping our kids frisbees, balls and hula hoops out of the neighbours’ very lovely yard.  I have seen sheets of lattice this size retail for $20-25 apiece, so the more I can get free, the better!Image

This is how our backyard is shaping up:Image

I got St. Francis and his angel friend for 70% off at Rite Aid, btw.

Okay ~ well, I hope you enjoyed this post.  We plan to keep learning, keep trying, keep doing it ourselves, and will continue our quest for free and low-cost improvements to our little oasis.  We plan to spend a lot of time out there.

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