After my garden party, which was great fun with good food and good weather, I headed down to western New York State to do some gardening with my sister. She moved from a suburban house a few years ago to the little town of Warsaw, where she and her husband found a lovely three-acre place, with a house and a medium-sized barn and attached chicken coop. There’s a large hay field out back ending in a stream lined by willow trees. Jeanne really loves to grow food. While I let my husband do all the vegetable gardening, Jeanne does it all, from veggies to berries to flowers and herbs. Her husband and kids help out a lot also, and they have an un-helpful but loveable golden retriever, Scout. The picture below shows the raised beds they put in for the vegetables.The blueberry bushes are protected with netting and white mesh. That’s the chicken coop on the left. When she went to put in a perennial flower garden, she found that the site she chose, while nicely located with a good combination of sun and some shade, had one big problem–the whole area is lawn, a bit of soil, and under that a layer of really hard clay. So, undaunted, she’s been adding lots of amendments. She even went to the little creek in the back of the property, dug up soil with lots of earthworms, and brought them back in buckets to put in her garden to help with the soil creation and soil improvements. I can attest to their success–there are lots of worms in that garden. She has added topsoil, compost, aged manure, grass clippings and mulch. Here is a view of the flower garden now:Before I left I packed my car with plants: phlox, daylilies, hostas, astilbe, coral bells, and two large ligularia that needed a better home. The shade-lovers went in the nice shady side of the barn where the soil is better and there’s plenty of shade. Here are some pictures of our gardening work:
We also edged the beds, moved some plants around, took out some others that had outgrown their welcome, and put down garden cloth on the paths and covered that with lots of wood chips we got from the town dump. We took a break once to go to a local horse farm and asked for some old horse manure and added that. She got a picture of me transferring the manure from wheelbarrow to tubs in the car, and with horses looking on.We worked for one evening, two full days, and most of a third. We plan on making this an annual tradition!