Monday, June 17, 2013

A Snake in the Grass (or Epic Fail)

This spring we had a rabbit make a nest and have baby bunnies in one of the raised beds INSIDE of our garden fence.  I was convinced that they were going to eat everything I planted since it was pretty clear that the mother rabbit was already doing some damage around the yard.  After a weekend at the shore re-plumbing the house Kyle and Andy came home and inspected the nest (luckily I wasn't home).  When Kyle inspected the nest they all jumped out and ran around the garden.  After attempts to capture them all and return them to the nest, one bunny squealed and they all jumped ship for a second time.  I think some of them many have stayed in the nest for a few more days but by the following weekend the nest was abandoned and we covered the small gap in the fence where they were getting in.  I figured plants inside the garden were safe but anything outside of the fence was going to be rabbit food. 

I am trying to maximize the veggies we grow that are protected inside the fence so I figured I would take a risk and plant an herb garden just outside the garden fence.

See the tiny green stem in the foreground?  This used to be one of three beautiful, yellow cosmos that the rabbits destroyed. My mom read in a garden magazine about a woman that put fake snakes in her garden to keep the rabbits away. A few days later we made a special trip to the fake snake store Dollar Tree a bought five plastic snakes. 

I managed to give Andy a good scare but the rabbits don't seem to be bothered.  They have now eaten all of my cosmos, most of my cilantro, and some of my parsley.  They seem to stay away from thyme, rosemary, and dill.  We will have to call the fake snake experiment of 2013 a failure.  But I'm leaving the snakes there!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Connecting the Dots

At the start of spring our front yard looked like this.  A few large trees, a few landscaping beds near the street that we have enlarged significantly over the last two years and two new beds toward the house.  The ultimate goal is connect all of these in one large bed with a path from close to the house to the mailbox.  In order to plant more beds and finish the mulch we need to locate and build the path so that we can connect all of the dots.

Late last week, in the pouring rain, we had 5 tons of 3/4" Delaware River Jack delivered to the house.  This will be the foundation of the path with flagstone stepping stones.

My parents came down on Sunday to help with the path and plantings.  We marked the path with paint and then mowed the grass as low as the mower would allow, then we placed some landscape fabric (leftover from a retaining wall project at the shore -- thanks, SD!) and tucked some newspaper underneath to kill the grass under the new mulch areas. 


My dad and Andy transported over 7000 lbs of stone via wheelbarrow and started placing the stone on top of the fabric.

We already had the flagstone pavers.  They created a straight path that cut right through the middle of the backyard...

And a path to nowhere around a bed of pachysandra. I was happy to get rid of both paths although now we need to plant some more grass in the backyard before the weeds start invading. 
We pulled up all of the pavers and carried what we needed around to the front.

We test-walked a few sections to make sure the spacing was correct and then set all of the stepping stones.  The one closest to the curb required some measuring and cutting to make sure it was parallel to the curb.

We were all exhausted by the time the path was finished.  I figure that between all of the stone, mulch and pavers we hauled over 8,000 lbs of material on Sunday (or 2 average size cars!). We still had a few plants that wouldn't survive if left unplanted.  We got all of the Hypericum plants in before my parents left for the day and then Andy and I planted a few more things before it got dark and we crashed for the evening. 
We love the new path and are excited to fill in the rest of the bed. Thanks Mom and Dad for all of your help (and free plants too!).