Spring Has Finally Sprung!

With the warmer weather comes all sorts of interesting (and sometimes annoying) folks.

Take the turds who did this to The Cottage sometime on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning…

And a close up…

Ugh.

So we painted over it, and I decided it was time to get the rest of the porch painted.

When our contractor up and abandoned us in December, I figured it was for the best. I had paid out over $6,000 in wages and didn’t have much to show for it. I’m all for high quality of work, but an unfinished job is just that – an unfinished job. At some point, you need to show up and get it done or bow out and let someone else clean up your half-finished mess.

The city codes inspector showing up on a sunny day in February lit a fire under my butt. We had to get the porch finished and the back wall of The Cottage covered with new siding (we had torn off the rotting lap siding and just had a Tyvek wrap on it).

I bit the bullet and hired a local contractor. They finished the porch in record time. And I hated it, but chalked it up to being my fault. I had simply said, “finish it” and given no input on how I wanted it finished. Most of the 4×4 timbers were split and/or gouged, the joins were terrible (gaps, screws showing), and I just paid the money and figured “heck, it’s DONE, right?”

Every time I look at the porch, I find myself hating it. This is what comes from feeling like my back was up against the wall. My dreams for a Craftsman style porch may be realized in a decade or so, but for now, what I have will do.

A homeschooling mama friend of mine had a great idea. “Paint it the same color as the house,” she suggested, “and then possibly hang drapes to soften it.”

The fence before being painted (and before the taggers got busy).

So I took the first half of the suggestion and implemented it. I will add the curtains in the corners later. The entire porch, including the floorboards, are now painted. And man oh man, it already looks better!

I think the paint really pulls it all together, don’t you? If you look close, you can see our brand-new sensor light mounted in the porch ceiling.

Dave installed a motion sensor light in the ceiling of the front porch on Saturday night and then today he installed a burglar alarm.

pssst, would be burglars…It’s REALLY LOUD!

Next weekend we will install the motion sensor floodlights in the back.

Sloppy workmanship…

As you can see from the picture above, the 4×4 in the background is split, along most of its length. The one in the front was missing a chunk. Other 4×4 pieces are shredded in spots, and split in others. I have to wonder if they grabbed every crappy piece of wood they could find and assembled on the porch, just for me.

And did I mention that the porch does not actually fall within code? I’ve had two neighbors give me that bad news. I’ll figure out what to do about this later, but I hope to distract codes guy by hanging painter’s tarp curtains at the corners.

I’m also considering attaching some of the old windows. They will be fastened in place on the top and bottom with chain, and they will be decorated with designs in different colors of flat glass marbles.

Something like this…

And…

Anyway, the idea is still brewing, so we will see how it plays out.

I also did a bit of gardening and laid some more brick down to begin working on a path that will eventually wind its way through the yard to our own front door.

I lay the bricks in place for months, then return and set them into the ground over pea gravel, with sand to hold them in place once they have compacted the earth a bit.

The tree stump has been filled with dirt and I’ve added a variety of flower seed in it. Hopefully this stump will be hopping with flowering plants in another month.

Around the base I’m planting perennials like daylilies.

All of the work from the years before is really showing. Here is a look down the edge of the city sidewalk. We have tulips, daylilies, and iris popping up and promising months of blooms!

There’s nothing quite like spring for the promise of flowers to come!

Already the bleeding hearts are blooming.

So I’m moving away from bulb planting to shrub planting. At least for this year. And to that end, I ordered a whole bunch of flowering shrubs and some trees from USA Nursery last night.

I, um, got a little carried away. I ordered:

  • 3 Hydrangea
  • 26 Althea (very small ones, I’ll probably need to grow them in buckets before transplanting them next year)
  • 15 Crape Myrtle
  • 40 Rugosa Rose (also very small)
  • 3 Forsythia
  • 5 Lilac
  • 4 Pussy Willow
  • 2 Rhododendron
  • 2 PawPaw trees
  • 2 Red Chokeberry
  • 6 Fountain Grass
  • 3 Burning Bush

So, that all adds up to 111 plants.

I’m not sure what happened. The free shipping and buttload of free plant offers just sucked me in. I spent $140, so that isn’t so bad, right? It ends up being, what, $1.26 per plant?

In any case, that’s IT for plant shopping for me for the year. I haven’t told my husband how many plants are coming in, he would absolutely freak. I’ll have to run by Suburban Lawn and Garden within the next week and get a bunch of their leftover empty garden pots that they give away for free. I’ll line up the Althea, and Rugosa Rose plants in those until they are at least a year older and I can see where they are once I plant them.

USA Nursery ships them at a 6-12″ size, so they are very small.

The Rosa Rugosa is a rosebush that grows up to 3-5 feet tall and forms a rather nasty hedge of thorny mayhem, which is softened only by the pretty blooms. The way I see it, the plant is hell to try and get through and that makes it perfect as a guardian for the back border of our property.

May your fences be pretty, yet sharp and thorny.

We also planted three fruit trees and four gooseberry bushes this weekend. The gooseberry bushes look absolutely lovely. I found them at Scenic Hill Farms and they are LARGE. I can’t wait to see them established and producing. Did you know that a mature plant can produce up to six pounds of fruit per year?

I’m reducing the size of my main garden, so we actually put some of the conditioned soil to work and planted the gooseberries in the southernmost row of the garden.

I’ve never eaten gooseberry pie. I hope I like it!

What are your garden plans?

 

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2 Responses to Spring Has Finally Sprung!

  1. Deborah Frederick says:

    Hi Christine,

    I am laughing hysterically at the 111 plants. I have bought about that many over the past four months (I am in Florida, so I shop for plants year round). My local Lowe’s and Wal Mart nursery managers put plants on sale for half price when the blooms fall off or they need lots of TLC. I normally buy 15-20 plants at a time. I have bought about 40 rose bushes alone, plus blueberries and raspberries and a few dozen annuals. I plant a few every weekend. Love gardening, I can’t wait to retire so I can spend ALL DAY in the yard like I want to.

    • Christine says:

      They haven’t come in yet, but when I told my husband he just paused and asked, “Are you SERIOUS?! You really bought 111 plants????

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