(Edit: 8/28/18 I wrote this post over three months ago. Today, while looking at my writing app, I see the little word “draft”. I had never published it! Silly me! So without further ado…)
Imagine your house (either the one you currently live in or one you have lived in at some point). Now imagine if all the land surrounding that house was bare ground. Now throw in a bagillion rocks, and a few weeds here and there for good measure. Not a pretty thought, is it? Kinda depressing?
That’s how I feel about the land immediately surrounding our house. Yes, it’s understandable since it is a construction zone. But that doesn’t make me any happier when I look at it.
So, while I was delayed on working on the actual house, I decided to do something about the landscaping.
When the house pad was cut, it left behind a fairly steep hill of barren, rocky soil. But in my mind’s eye, I see beautiful terraces, filled with edible and decorative plants that provide beauty and habitat all year long.
When we had the backhoe last fall, I did the rough (and I do mean rough) cut of the terraces. This spring I have slowly been building the terrace walls.
The stairs were built out of railroad timbers we had on the property. The rocks are all native to within 50 feet of right there!
I completed this triangular section first because that is going to be Pajii’s area and I wanted him to feel like he could plant if he wanted to. Besides, it was the easier section to do!
A friend of ours came by one afternoon to help out with stacking rocks.
The circled rock in the picture below was just one of several 100lb boulders I needed to dig out and move.
All of the whiteish rocks below it are the rocks I piled under it when I levered it up, until I could roll it out of the hole.
In the picture below you can see the completed terraces on the right of the steps, and the not-yet-started hillside to the left. The huge boulders were dug out of the hillside where our well is now. They were placed in such a way as to become part of the landscaping. There are several more that you can’t even see just to the left, and many more that got used as a retaining wall over by where our garage will go.
So I got a bit of the terraces done on the left side of the stairs, and while at the hardware store, succumbed to an impulse buy of a dianthus bush. I just loved the color of the flowers and the fact that they are supposed to bloom from spring all the way till fall!
So, I had to find a place to plant them.
The very first plantings in the terraces. 😄
I also decided to pick up a few more landscaping plants that I know I want. And as the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago. But seeing as how I’m not (quite) even 40 years old yet, I figure the best time to plant is now.
Red Haven peach tree
Double Delight tea rose 🌹
The first bloom on the rose bush
I also bought some annuals to plant in pots around our trailer to pretty things up a bit.
Our fruit trees that we planted last year are doing well. The cherry trees blossomed out in late April and I thought for sure they’d be killed by a frost.
Cherry blossoms with Mason bee 🐝 busy pollinating
And they almost were! We were surprised by a light frost at the very end of April. Not that it’s unusual to freeze that late, but all of the forecasts said we were going to stay above freezing that whole week. But everything seemed to be ok despite the freeze. The next night was supposed to get nearly as cold, so we decided to play it safe.
The apple trees wrapped against the cold look like weird lollipops.
Yesterday, I checked on the cherry trees, and lo and behold, they’re loaded!
And last but not least, we bought some native/locally adapted plants from the state nursery and will find places for them to go once the terraces are completed.
For now, we have been busy trying to finish up the septic system. But we’re almost done with that, then I again won’t have anything to do, so I will go back to the terraces.
Now, remember that house you thought about at the beginning of this post? Think of all the bushes and trees and flowers that actually do surround it. Are there any that you’ve ever thought, “If I had been in charge, I would not have planted that”?
Well, guess what. We are in charge of everything that gets planted here on our land. It’s actually rather exciting to be building our land from the ground up. While it is a lot (a lot) of hard work, it’s awesome to be able to make it how we want it and only have to deal with what nature handed us, not what other people thought was a good idea. And so far, with the exception of the dianthus, I’ve put quite a bit of thought into the plants I’ve chosen.
One day, it’s going to be beautiful!