Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Quarterly Report -- What I've Accomplished So Far This Year

One of my favorite PNW bloggers, Erica Strauss of Northwest Edible Life, recently started a new feature -- the weekly report, in which she reports in a simple bulleted list (for the most part) what she has accomplished on her homestead for the week. I think it's a great idea, but I don't know if I'm up for doing it weekly. So I thought I'd do a quarterly one for the year, even though it's May and we're midway into the second quarter of the year already.

(As an aside: I'm not sure I can explain my affinity for Erica's blog. At first glance I have very little, if anything, in common with her. She's a young mother who home-schools her children and grows a lot of her own food, so her blog focuses mainly on edibles, cooking, and urban animal husbandry. She just came back from taking a year off from blogging and gardening because her head wasn't in it -- which was true of me for last year too. She lives with mood disorder/depression, which I do too. I've been into her blog since she started it.)

Anyway, here's a list of my accomplishments so far this year:

** Did a ton of weeding and cutting back (which hadn't been done anywhere in over a year)

With the weeds pulled and everything trimmed, you can actually make out the shapes of plants again

** Got the stream running again

View from an upstairs window of the now-running stream

** Planted water-loving plants into the gravel of the stream bed

Water Hyacinth

Two black gamecock Iris

At the base of the waterfall, a combo of chocolate creeping jenny, bloody dock, and purple pickerelweed (Can you spot Huey and Dewey?)

Huey and Dewey (Louie is all by his lonesome is on the other side of the waterfall)

** Planted new plants along the back of the stream

Cyclamen, Corydalis lutea, Hellebores and Thalictrum ichangense have been added to this area, but it still looks rather bare

** Planted new plants in the Northeast shade bed

New gold-leafed Hostas and other perennials have added bright spots to this dark corner

That empty spot in the bed on the right might be the future home of a fern table

** Started seedlings in the greenhouse (now being hardened off outside)

Too many Castor bean seedlings

Unhappy Tithonia and Cerinthe seedlings that want some heat and to get in the ground

** Pulled out plants from the front bed by the street that were inappropriate (got too tall and flopped) and planted shorter, more appropriate plants instead

** Moved the Brugmansias out of the garage onto the driveway

** Put in a new flagstone and gravel path to serve as a short-cut through the front bed along the street (photos to come in a future post)

** Took out the lilac bushes (technically I hired a strapping young lad to do this, but it counts)

Empty hole where lilacs used to be

Still to do:

** At least three more beds still need weeding and cutting back

I ignored this bramble last year when it appeared, now it has popped up again this year as well as 10 feet away and even more vigorous than before

** The Great Migration of Plants

** Plant onion starts in the raised vegetable beds

Six pots of onion starts -- why didn't I bring a couple of pots to the swap? Now *I* have to plant them all!

** Freshen the soil and fertilize the Brugs

** Plant more new plants in the front bed by the street

** Plant new shrubs and perennials where the lilacs were removed

** Renovate the gravel garden

The gravel garden has gotten wildly overgrown and weed-infested

** Install two more gravel paths

One gravel path will go through here and continue in back of the stream

A second path will curve around this tree and to the left

** Plant, plant, plant

** Stop hoarding plants

I have too many trays of plant starts set aside for use "some day"

While weeding I found a bunch of self-sown red-leafed Euphorbia, but I couldn't just toss them into the yard waste bin like shotweed

When I pruned one of my rosemary shrubs I found three branches that had rooted, so I had to pot them up

Two of those trays contain Pacific Coast Iris divisions, which have been hanging around for a while now (I bring them to swaps in groups of threes and sixes, I'd be embarrassed to bring them all at once)

These daylily clumps aren't even in pots! What's wrong with me?

So, how's progress in your garden? Are you as anal-retentive as I am?


  1. You've accomplished an impressive amount in your garden this quarter! So glad that you got your garden mojo back and are once again enjoying the paradise you've created. "Stop plant hoarding?" That's just crazy talk. You're simply keeping extras as insurance. Who could throw divisions into the compost heap? Progress in my garden has been as slow as spring this year. Seems that whenever it's really nice outside, I've been doing something else. With the plant hauls from lots of nursery visits, I'd better either get things planted/placed or we'll no longer be able to walk on the paths. Finally got most of the plants from the March sales in the ground but most of my work has been keeping the lawn mowed and the pots watered. You know I'm nowhere near as anal-retentive as you but I so admire those who are as their gardens always look so wonderful.

  2. It's wonderful to "see" you out there enjoying (I think you're enjoying?) working in your garden again, and you've accomplished so much! You are a propagator at heart, aren't you?

  3. What's wrong with you? Nothing, you are a gardener, thats all. Eventually you'll run out of planting space in the garden, and toss the starts you can't swap into the compost bin. It's a process... I love the birds-view of the shady garden, I imagine sitting in a patio chair listening to the running water... it is heavenly.

  4. Your post makes me feel lazy, Alison! It's lovely to see your beautiful stream in operation again. Lately, I've been consumed by trying to cut the exuberant Santa Barbara daisies back before they swallow up the garden and move on to taking over the house. The winter rains brought weeds and turned some "normal" plants into weeds, transforming last year's nominal chores into a massive effort. Re your propagated plant collection, maybe you need to set up a plant sale stand in your front driveway!

  5. It was really lovely to read an update on your garden and it is looking great. I adore your stream. I also used to follow Erica avidly, and somehow during her break (and mine) I seem to have lost her off my feed. I will have to rectify that. Mmm a quarterly update - now you have given me an idea - I shall have to Work on that. I have been busy in the veggie patch, and also excited about a new granddaughter who I will be going to see in a month! .

  6. How very excellent everything looks Alison ! I hope you're spending some time on those chaise lounges enjoying a beverage of choice and patting yourself on the back.

  7. You have your hand full, making up for a year of inactivity. Looks like you are making good progress. Don't forget to enjoy it all as you work.

  8. Love it, and thanks for the introduction to Erica's blog. Your activity puts me to shame, although I'm making some progress. I will say that in your picture of your gravel garden, all I noticed was that blue flowering plant. And what do you mean 'stop hoarding plants'? I'm not sure what that means... :) Enjoy spring!

  9. I loved all of the garden photos! Everything looks amazing. Can't wait to see the pond plants fill in. Great job! You should be proud. Thanks for sharing.

  10. You've been hard at work, but a gardener's work is never done. Those castor bean plants look like they are ready to take over!

  11. Alison! I'm back to reading blogs, but not to gardening. It looks like you've got a lot accomplished AND a lot left on your plate. But, how many gardening days have there been this year, really? Maybe just one good weekend so far. Anyway. Here's to many fair gardening days coming our way.

  12. This is so beautiful! I love these photos and how your enthusiasm bubbles through the computer screen.

    This--> "Stop hoarding plants" <-- cracks me up. It's like the advice that all seasoned gardeners "officially" give to beginners. We all say, "start small and slow," right? As if we didn't start by jumping in with both feet, getting overwhelmed, surrounding ourselves with too many good green things, and generally making a hash of it by planting too close, too soon, and in the wrong spot.

    Ten or twenty or thirty years and a zillion plants moved or killed trying, and we still fall into the same plant-hoarder trap. Why? Because we love the process, which is more important than any static result.

    Thanks for sharing your successes and progress.

    Lots of Love,


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.