major construction work in the back yard today

I didn’t get “before” photos, so my “after” pictures will not be as interesting, but I’m in the middle of a major effort to get the back yard garden in shape. I’d have to call it an “intervention”, keeping the grass and weeds from getting too entrenched. They are growing at an impressive rate.  At the moment I’m taking a break here in town, sipping a  cup of coffee and checking email, etc. When I get home I’ll get back to the garden project. I’ve produced many heaping wheel-barrow-loads of weeds already, and put down more newspaper and mulch. It’s an amazing experience, watching all the variety of insect life in the garden as I work. I’m mostly on my knees, weeding slowly and thoroughly by hand, so I have time to watch for fleeing bugs. I either scoop them up and re-locate them, or sweep them to the side so I don’t kneel on them. But before I do I take the time to look at them and admire them. Little ones, big ones, (not big by tropical standards, but by ours), all shapes and colors. Lots of centipedes (is that what they are?) and beetles.

???????????????????????????????I weeded the raised bed where the strawberries are (that’s it above) and as a reward found a ripe berry. After it was completely weeded, I scattered seeds there–larkspur, cilantro, small poppies, and cleome. It should be quite a show! I’ll just have to be careful to notice which sprouts are those and which are the ever-returning weeds. The flowers all around me were absolutely alive with bumblebees, hummingbird moths (more than I’ve ever seen) and other nectar-sipping flying insects. They were going for the phlox, false sunflower, echinacea and beebalm. Mr. Fluff was happily ensconced on the Aldo Leopold bench nearby, and Tater came visiting, walking around meowing and then settling in a shady spot not far off. I could hear the two horses snorting now and then. Heaven!

The backyard garden gets full sun for most of the day, and is on a gentle slope, so it’s a good spot for sun-lovers. We started this garden many years ago, by planting tithonia and elecampane in holes we dug into the lawn. I had grown these giants from seed. We dug large holes in two rows (we did rows back then). Then we smothered the rest of the area with newspaper and horse manure, lots of used wood shavings from the horse barn, and old hay. The tithonia never did well for us, but the elecampane became giants. They shaded out everything else and finally I had to dig them up and relocate them. The two in the photo below weren’t planted–they just appeared there. (Elecampane does grow wild all over this area, something I didn’t know when I grew mine from seed!) They look so nice we mow around them.

inula, or elecampane, in the back yard lawn.
inula, or elecampane, in the back yard lawn.

The pictures below are taken from the driveway, looking toward the house at the back of the backyard garden.

the hyperion daylily and phlox and echinacea in the back yard.
lemony yellow, fragrant hyperion daylily, false sunflower, phlox and echinacea
another view of the beautiful jumble in the back yard. Irresistable to the bees and butterflies, apparently.
another view of the beautiful jumble in the back yard. Irresistable to the bees and butterflies, apparently.
backyard garden
backyard garden

Since we are going away for two weeks in early August, and the semester starts up soon after we get back, I am working hard to get the garden settled before we leave. I’ll take some pictures after today’s work and post them next time I get to the computer.

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