My Projects To-Do List

Do any of you keep a to-do list? I keep a spiral notebook to jot down random thoughts on just about everything. I also use this book to jot down my home to-do lists.

Today I wanted to share my latest lists for the house and the gardens.

Unfortunately, I got very ill at the end of 2021 following some surgery, and then at the beginning of 2022, I got Covid. Talk about giant monkey wrenches. Anyway, It put me way behind on my projects.

Project to-do lists

The Gardens

I’ll start with the gardens. As I write this post, it is in the low 60s in Ohio, and I want so much to go out and rake the gardens up and put in some fall bulbs I never planted last fall. However, the local garden society warns us of cleaning up too soon. They say the leaves and sticks on the ground provide protection and nutrients to the plants. In addition, our last typical hard frost in this area is mid-April. So, as you can see in the to-do list, I have made a note to start the cleanup at the end of March.

I want to rake this garden but will wait.

Likely, I will start some jobs within the next warm week. First, I have to uncover and move some of the garden furniture. Next, I’ll probably put the couch up in the sunroom. That will give me more room for the small table and chair set on the downstairs patio. I can even get a few stackable plastic chairs for company. I would like to have a small couch in the sunroom to stretch out while reading or using my laptop.

I also plan to purchase a dining table and chairs on the flagstone patio. But, first, I have to cover the upstairs deck with an indoor-outdoor carpet. Hopefully, that will slow down the rain as it batters the patio. As you can see in the pix below, last year, the rain fell from the deck freely and tore out the grouting between the stones.

Flagstone patio with grout all washed out.
The Upper deck needs carpet to stop water damaging flagstone.

Also, I have a birdbath to set up. Unlike the standard flat round plaster or ceramic baths, it is relatively deep. This year, I will try a solar water spout and some rocks for the smaller birds who cannot use the glass bath. If that doesn’t work, I’ll buy a more traditional bath. I’m afraid I fell for the advertising on those pretty colored glass bowl baths. I can always fill it up with soil and flowers.

Birdbath-too deep for small birds

My next project is to plant bulbs. Last fall, I was unable to plant due to illness. I bought snowdrops grape hyacinths: both favorites of mine in our Spring garden in Ireland. I find a mix of white and purple with the bright green foliage is a dramatic sight. I also had some purple allium bulbs. I have one in the front of the back flowerbed and needed to plant a few more to make a nice row.

snowdrops
Grape Hyacinths

Unfortunately, I am not sure I waited too late to plant, so I thought about that and decided I would put the bulbs in a large pot tomorrow. Then, if any of them bloom, I can replant them in the front and back gardens after they bloom.

I had my arborist out yesterday. I have him maintain the taller trees and shrubs I can’t reach. He will also trim down my panicle hydrangeas. Near the hydrangeas, I have a wind blind of arborvitae on the side of the house. A couple of years ago, he banded them for me to keep them from spraying. Arborvitae will open up with too much snow or ice on them. The wind can mess them up also. The bands hold the tree branches together and maintain their tall pyramid shape.

This is one arborvitae; the band has gone, with open squirrel next in the lower section.

We have a resident fox squirrel that makes a nest on one arborvitae, and this year, we chewed more branches out and chewed the band itself. Fox squirrels are gray and red-gold. The color of the fur resembles a fox. Also, they are large. Our squirrel, we call Goldie, is larger than the neighbor’s cat.

Fox Squirrel

I also have to set up my bird feeder again. It will be the third time I have had to set them up. Goldie, the squirrel, knocked down each feeder as she climbed onto them to get the feed. So over the winter, I resorted to taking handfuls of seed and throwing them on the side deck and the downstairs patios.

I even brought peanuts for her to keep her from scrounging the birdseed, but she is such a piggie! I will wait until the arborists trim the back garden trees before resetting the feeders. Then, I will put the pole feed away from the maple tree. Goldie jumps from the tree to the feeder and even the top deck. She broke a few tree branches that they need to trim up.

Finally, I plan to plant more flowers and shrubs to fill out the gardens this year. If you look back at the picture showing the upper deck, you will notice a lot of bare area near the side of the patio. I plan to put in a line of evergreens. I think having some evergreen adds to the dimensions of a garden. They provide some texture and winter interest. I enjoy an English or cottage-style garden. Less formal with lots of perennials, some flowering shrubs, a few evergreens, roses, and a few annuals. I eventually want almost the entire garden full of plants. It does help keep weeding down and can provide me with bunches of flowers to look at or to cut and bring into the house.

I have been watching Laura LaBeutillier from Oregon on U tube. SEE HERE. She is associated with Proven Winner, one of my favorite places to order plants. Anyway, she is in the same planting zone as me- 6b, so I watch what plants work well for her. The link for Laura is showing her July garden tour. While I said I liked a less formal garden, I like how she arranged the flowers in lines or groupings. I have only a cluster of a few plants and plan to add more sets and rows of single types of plants.

A typical cottage garden seems to have a less structured style than an English garden and has a more informal design with more traditional flowers, dense plantings, and a more varied catalog.

Cottage Garden

Isn’t this gorgeous?? I don’t have the room for this; I have a condo that has flower beds around the perimeter of the house itself. The back and front yards are not mine; they belong to the condo as shared property for all. I would never be allowed into that space. However, the density of the plantings in this photo is something I wish to emulate in my small flowers bed.

Sorry guys, I guess I got a bit carried away. I’ve been dealing with Spring Fever and am in such a hurry to get out in the dirt! I really want to address the larger back garden and add some filler to the front garden. Here are pictures of how they looked last summer. Not too bad, but as you can see, the back and front need a little more filling in. The less area to have to pull weeds, plus I like the look.

Well guys, sorry, but I’m afraid I don’t want this to get too long, so I’ll post this as is. I promise to finish the house to-do list next, so watch for it. I envy you guys living in warmer climates. You already are out in the dirt – smile.

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