What are we up to now?

I’ve been busier doing these days than writing, hence the blog neglect for the past week or so. But I’m back at it! With more than one post this week!

It seems like spring has been taking forever to unroll – compare, for example – the above photo of my pink flowering dogwood taking today with this photo from April 25th of last year – seven days earlier on the calendar and about two full weeks of maturing difference. Not only that, but the cold rain that’s been coming down has been a major deterrent to yard work. But determined we are! And this past weekend we started working on the great front yard reno.

This photo from last spring (after planting the hazelnut tree) is what our front yard has mostly been like since moving here two years ago. Bland, mossy, neither interesting nor offensive. Just a front yard like a lot of the yards on our block. But that’s not what we want our home to project to the world around us (even though it would be easiest just to keep it low-maintenance and without too much work). Our goal, rather is to create an invitational front yard – an entry to our home that enriches the senses and inspires others to edible landscaping, critter-friendly spaces, and an end to lawn-dominance.

To wit we have started putting in a pond, added an arbor, built a raised garden box, and planted a number of woodland flowers, native (edible) fern, oregon grape, sea berry bushes, a gooseberry bush, plus two hardy kiwi plants.

At the moment it’s still pretty rough but it looks like this:

The eventual goal is to get rid of all the moss/grass and have it be fully planted – but with the cost of doing such a large space, we will be forced to take our time. Also, our yard is an odd one – south-facing though in partial shade with lots of sun during at least half the year when the leaves are off the boulevard beech trees – so this year is a bit of an experiment. Is there enough sun for the berry bushes? Will my winter veggies do well in the box? Is there too much sun for the columbine and ferns? Only time will tell, so I’m making a note of everything we planted and see how it does. I also need to work on amending the soil as we go since our top soil is obviously acidic (moss!) and hasn’t been attended to in many years. Some good heavy mulching with compost added to every planting will help us get started without having to truck in yards of soil right now.

I’m really keeping my fingers crossed on the berries and hardy kiwis. Hoping that they will produce something despite the summer canopy. I’m also pretty excited to have put an olive tree in the backyard (sunny spot) that supposedly will put out fruit even in our climate. I’ll write more about that one later. For now I’m just thinking we’ve got a lot farther to go before I’ll feel like the front yard is done for this year – but I’m liking the plan we’ve got going on right now.

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