Category Archives: Yard and Garden

House Projects




Things continue to buzz along here at the homestead – we put in a new fence, including a garden fence, and built a loft in the barn that we will use as a storage unit while we remodel. It.Just.Never.Ends.


We put up a split rail fence around the front yard (several homes in the neighborhood have them, so we knew it would look nice with the rest of the neighborhood).


The very very beginnings of the loft.



The garden fence.


The back yard fence. It’s a cedar fence with a clear stain on it.

Spring Projects




This spring we got itching to get going on something. Since the house is a bit more involved of a process, we decided to set to work on the yard.

Unfortunately it’s been a really cold cold wet wet spring, and things haven’t exactly gone smoothly. Still, we’ve been able to get a fair amount done in the past several months.

  1. Tore out all the big bushes that had completely overgrown and overrun the yard,
  2. Poured concrete down the back of the garage
  3. Built a garden box along the wall we put in last fall with left over cinderblock
  4. Planted 10 trees –
    1. 3 Chantaclear Pear
    2. 3 Autumn Blaze Maple
    3. 1 London Plane Sycamore
    4. 1 Rose Marie Magnolia
    5. 1 Kwanzan Cherry
    6. 1 Pink Flowering Dogwood
  5. Diagnosed, fixed and modified the sprinkler system.
  6. Painted the pillars along the property in preparation for a fence.

Still to come:
-Build a bed and plant lilacs
– Build the fence
-Put in the Garden
-Put our sights on the deck.

Notes on the Garden, 2016




I started the garden two weeks later than usual – just barely planting my front bed today, and I have yet to plant the vegetable garden. That trip to Hawaii really threw me off. But I did get the back bed planted with my sunflowers and zinnias before I left.

So, today I planted the flower bed in front.

I put in Lupine Gallery Mix (2 red/pink and 1 blue):

lupine gallery mix


My only concern with these is that I bought them last Friday, but didn’t have a chance to get them into the ground until today. And by today they were looking mo’ wilty! My initial reaction was to put water on them, which I did, but they didn’t perk up (all afternoon while I was out planting). I came in and researched this a little more and it says they don’t like over-watering. And since we’ve had quite a bit of rain in addition to the sprinklers on, and they were in those little pots, they probably weren’t very happy. I think now that they’re in the ground in my sandy soil they will do better. I’ve grown Lupine before (not this variety) and it did great, so I think it will be okay.

UPDATE: It’s now the next morning, bright and early. And I can see that even though it rained off and on all afternoon and night, and the ground is still wet from rain, one of the Lupines has perked right up and looks great. The other two are still looking sad, but I think they will soon follow suit.

I also put in “Sweet Alyssum” bordering the path to the front door.

sweet alyssum

Sweet Alyssum

I’ve never put in Alyssum before. It’s always felt very underwheming to me as a garden plant, though I know a lot of people who love it. I thought I’d give it a try this year and see how it does.

I also put in your standard Petunias.

petunias dreams mix

Petunias – Dream Mix

I was at Smiths last week (again, on Friday) after Mother’s day, and they had flats on sale for $7.99 — that’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen a flat of Petunias – ever! Last year I didn’t fill the flowers in very close (maybe 10 inches between) and they never filled in well. I didn’t like it! So this year I bought 5 flats, thinking better to have too many than not enough. It was the perfect amount. I was able to space them 4-6″ apart, and they’ll fill in beautifully over the summer. Also, the flats at Smiths have some pretty tiny plants in them. That might be why they were so inexpensive. Maybe it will be worth it to buy more expensive flats . . . someday. But for now this budget friendly size will have to do. Also, they only had one variety of petunias on that sale – “Dreams Mix” – again, someday when I can spend money willy-nilly, I might buy more expensive petunias and be more picky about the colors and stuff. For now, this will work!

I also put in two white African Daisies

african daisies

African Daisies

The plants have holly-like leaves that might be a little pokey when the plant gets bigger. All the pictures I see on the internet the flowers have purple centers, but mine don’t. They look like a typical daisy. They’re supposed to grow a bit bigger and bushier than what I put in (1/2 gallon size-ish). I hope so! I got them at Home Depot.

I also put in 2 blue salvia.

blue salvia

Blue Salvia

I got a blue salvia years ago . . . I don’t even remember where it came from, it’s been so long now. It grew and grew and grew until years ago I divided it in half. Those two halves grew and grew and grew. The one by the aspen tree to the left of the front door was out of the way and just fine (that was the original plant) but the transplant was in the middle of the front garden, and needed to be split to create better balance.

Well, against my better judgement I listened to the advice of a neighbor and split and transplanted it at the end of June (I KNEW BETTER! I EVEN TOLD THE NEIGHBOR I DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD SURVIVE!) But my garden insecurities got the better of me and I listened and split it. It died promptly.

So this year I bought two little Salvia’s and put them where I intended them last year. They’re just babies, but I have enough experience with these guys to know that they’ll grow ­čśÇ Also, it taught me that I now know enough about gardening to listen to my own intuition and not worry about others as much.

Of course, I always like the lime-green potato vine. I think it creates beautiful contrast to the purples and pinks of the petunias. I put 5 in through out the garden.

potato vine

Potato Vine

Last but not least, coneflower:

I looked for about 3 years before finally finding coneflower at Smith’s last year. I bought one and put it in, and it did great and looked great. It’s a perenial around these parts, but when I was tearing out the garden last fall, I lost my senses and pulled it out! After all those years of looking for one!

So this year I decided to add a couple to garden. I’m going to put them between the yellow daisies-“Rudbekia”┬áand the white african daisies, and the zinnias that have reseeded themselves from last year.


My african lilies that I planted from Bulb about 7-8 years ago. They’ll come up. Also, the Rudbekia, and the marigolds reseeded themselves and at first I was going to pull them, but I decided to leave them by the rock. And the zinnias have reseeded as well, and I’m letting them come up in a few spots.

This is a corner of my front bed from last summer, with the rudbekiah, marigolds, zinnias potato vine, and coneflower.



Garden Notes 2015 – The Back Flower Beds




I stuck to my original plan and only planted seeds in my back beds. I was going to be ambitious and plant all three sides of my yard with flowers – about 175 ft x 4 feet . . . I need a lot of seeds.

I was about to buy 1lb quantities off the internet . . . then I found a wholesaler to the public here in Salt Lake. But they sold in 1 oz quantities. (1 oz = 1/16 of a lb). It didn’t seem like it would be enough. Then I asked: how many seeds are in an oz (of zinnia seeds) . . .

Approximately 4000 they told me. And then I laughed. Can you imagine if I had bought a pound off the internet? HAHAHAHAHA

Del Sol Sunflower

Sensation Mix Cosmos


California Giants Zinnias

Anyhoo, when I was planning my garden I was going to do all different types of flowers. But it ended up just being Zinnia’s (California Giant Mix, Mountain Valley Seed Company) and Cosmos (Sensation Mix, MVSC)(Seashells Mix, Burpee)(Rubenza, Burpee)(Gazebo Mix, Burpee) and Sunflowers (Del Sol Hybrid, Burpee)

Along my back bed I did two rows of alternating sunflowers (these sunflowers are only 5-6 feet, my first time not planting giants!), then a row of cosmos, a row of zinnias, another row of cosmos, and another row of zinnias.

Along the side yards I planted fanning semicircles of zinnias alternating with cosmos.


Oh, I did plant a flat of petunia’s along the railing around the hole – purples, whites and reds.

Garden Notes, 2015: The Front Bed




I’ve started planting a little early this year. We’ve had such a mild winter, and everyone thinks we’re done with the frost for good.

In my front bed:

Originally because we had such a mild winter (read: NO SNOW) I was going to do very  little in my yard. I wanted to be water concous. I thought it would be a great year to expiriment with seed.

But when I went to the nursery . . . ah! The beautiful flowers were calling my name.

I’ve never bought annuals at a retail store before. I’ve only ever bought them at the State surplus sale at the end of May. They’re about $11/flat, a great price . . . ┬ábut it’s very much a “you get what you get” situation, with very limited selection of types of plants and colors.

So this year I went to Smiths in search of seeds, and saw the variety in the annuals, and the flats were just a little more at $14/flat. It was fun to go through the flats of petunias and actually choose which colors I wanted.

Here are the plants and varieties I chose:

Petunias: Daddy’s Mix – shades of purples and pinks in big flowers.

Petunia Daddy's Mix

Marigolds: Bonanza Yellow

Potato Vine: Margarita (3) (Proven Selections)

Margarita Sweet Potato Vine

Impatiens: I don’t remember what varieties I got – in the bed by the house they are shades of pinks and purples, like the petunias. In the bed under and around the tree they are red, purple and white (plus leftovers from the other bed)


Coleus – A variety

Zinnia: Thumbelina Mix (Burpee) (planted along the top of the bed in front of the porch, mixed in with the four o’clock’s)

Burpee Zinnia Thumbelina Mix

Four o’Clock’s: ┬áKaleidoscope Mix (Burpee) (planted along the top of the bed in front of the porch, mixed in with the Zinnia’s.

Burpee Four O'Clock Kaleidoscope Mix

I also planted zinnias and marigolds (from seed, Burbee, Burpee’s Best Mix) around the rock in the front corner of the garden by the driveway.

And I FINALLY (after three years of looking) found purple coneflowers! I bought two varieties –

Primadonna Deep Rose (Sunshine Perennials) – planted south of the rock by the driveway

PowWow Wild Berry (Sunshine Perennials) – planted on the left of the path to the front door.


I also split my blue salvia and put the two divisions in front of the porch posts. I moved the yellow daisy-like flowers (why can’t I think of what they’re called?!) that were in front of the porch post by the door, into the center where the blue salvia originally was. I think I will still get blooms on the daisy’s this year, but I think the salvia will be out of the game for this year. I also moved the blue lupine that I had behind the rock by the driveway over to the other bed in the corner front yard. It has done really well and even bloomed since the transplant. I also moved the lavender from the front bed by the front door to the back by the shed.