Last weekend saw our last substantial harvest of the 2011 garden (there’s still some boc choy growing all happily and greenly, and there was a bit of a catnip haul this morning) — the carrots.
That’s six pounds, five ounces of carrots. Not too shabby, considering we almost didn’t get around to planting them!
It was another good year for Maple Hoo, but you know what? Good garden seasons are totally boring now. Every year we have some good crops, and some bad crops, and some “meh, whatever” crops. It’s all super-fun (despite being horribly stressful, but we always forget about the worrying about seeds germinating, and then baby plants not growing fast enough, and then veggies not fruiting enough or fruiting too much, or whatever), but it’s also stuff we don’t ever really think to blog about, because hey — it’s the garden. Doing its garden thing. What can we say? We have short attention spans.
This was before it grew completely out of control. Seriously. We didn’t do a great job of pruning and training this year.
Fortunately our yard has undergone a lot of tree damage in the last year, so now we’ve got all kinds of new locations for newer, better garden projects!
First up, our side yard. Once upon a time we had a row of hemlocks lining the far side of our driveway; they were technically on the neighbor’s side of the property line. In the last year, though, the trees have all died. And then started leaning precariously on each other. And we had to nag and nag at the bank that owns the abandoned property to do something about them before they fell over on our cars.
It’s like an enchanted wood! That shields our view of the creepy abandoned house next door…
Finally this summer the bank sent someone out to take care of the trees. They must have been paying the by the stump, though, because the tree people took out the dead trees, as well as a bunch of old-growth shrubs and a few hale, healthy trees while they were at it. They left a decimated, desolate moonscape in their wake.
This is the photogenic version of the view. Truly, it was a horrorshow.
It took us about 15 seconds to get a contract in place for someone to install a fence, any fence. We didn’t care what it looked like, as long as it didn’t look like the tarps and pond equipment in the neighboring yard.
Ahhh, sweet blocker of the dreadful view.
Now that we have a fence there, we can’t understand why we waited so long. You know what you can do with fences? Hang holiday lights on them!
Also, the fence has bounded a previously invisible to us swath of yard next to our garage.
Who even knew this space was here??
Now we have a spot to put in grapevines! And gourds! And a mulched woodland path running from the driveway to the compost bins behind the garage! And rhododendrons and pachysandra along the side of the garage! And daffodils and crocuses! And we’ll put a little bistro table and chairs along the way, to stage potted flowers! Thanks to the devastation of the hemlocks, Maple Hoo is gaining a vineyard. It’s going to be awesome.
Meanwhile, we finally had to admit this summer that our sad old oak tree was more “falling on the garage and smushing the roof” hazard than actual tree.
So long, old tree.
It’s been a long time since the oak had much of a leafy canopy, but it was quite a shock to see how much more sun the back corner of the yard got as soon as all those branches and enormous trunk were gone. Sun that shines on the weird, ugly rectangle of mulch that used to be the location of the previous owner’s swingset.
We swear, it’s sometimes sunny there.
We’ve been trying for years to let nature take back this rectangle and at least fill it with green stuff, if not actual lawn, but every time we ask our gardener guy to mulch the apple trees in the front yard, he always brings way more mulch than he needs, and puts it on the rectangle. Because, you know, people love to have random swaths of their yards mulched for no obvious reason.
Yeah, that’s attractive. Ish?
In a flash of brilliance, though, Pookie realized that maybe it was a good thing that the gardener and his crew were so over-enthusiastic, because now that there’s some sun there, we have a perfect, undeveloped spot just crying out for a blackberry bramble! One we’ve already planted with daffodils along the front! It’ll have an enchanted little path rambling through it! And have spots for potted flowers and some hellebores! And someday we’ll expand it to embrace Boomer’s beloved little Japanese maple, with a decorative bridge and a river of squill and it’ll be awesome!
Finally, there was the hugely tragic tree damage.
Oh, beloved maple tree…
We had a massive freak snowstorm in October, before the titular maple of Maple Hoo had a chance to drop its leaves. Snow + lots of leaves = more weight than the branches can bear.
At least nothing landed on the house.
The maple ended up losing well over half of its canopy, and is likely not to be too much longer for this world. We rejected the tree guy’s recommendation to cut it down now, but it’s time for us to start planning for the future, and take advantage of the reduction of shade canopy. See all that yard with fallen branches on it up there? If you squint at it, you can just about see all the blueberries we’re going to fill the backyard with. Blueberries! Gazillions of them!
We’re talking about someday harvesting TWO handfuls of these bad boys.
Thanks to the maple mayhem of Snowtober, Maple Hoo (now with less maple) is going to become a full-fledged berry farm! Come spring, we’ll be planting blueberries, golden raspberries, gooseberries, currants, loganberries, marionberries, boysenberries, not to mention more red raspberries and, of course, the blackberries in the bramble. It’s going to be an unstoppable berry machine! It’s so great to have new shiny objects to get excited about.