2010 I decided I was going to have the gardens of my dreams. I have wanted my
own rose garden for over 35 years, and NOW I wasn't going to let ANYBODY derail
my dreams. So I hired a yard guy to help me, and I removed a railroad tie
retaining wall from the bank behind my house.
Off I went to the nearest
Walmart where I bought up pink, rose, yellow, white, and apricot packaged roses
for $3 each and I ended up with over fifty of them. I used the bank as the
basis of my rose garden design. I made planting holes in the sod and planted
the roses with garlic around them. Roses love garlic you know. Garlic is
supposed to repel aphids.
I am too old to have the energy to use a big
tiller, hoe, etc. to fight weeds in the garden so, I called my farmer friend
Adrian and got a large round bale of hay. The hay would smother the
grass/weeds, keep the soil moist, and as it decomposes it will enrich my heavy
clay and limestone soil. Thank you Ruth Stout, your books are my
I laid cardboard and newspapers thickly around the roses and
covered them as thickly as I could with hay. The hay covered paper began to
smother the sod and I had a rose garden!
Here is a photo of my hay
mulched rose garden, taken in July 2010.
During the same time I was working on the roses, I was also
trying to start my vegetable garden. I used the old railroad ties I removed
from the bank, and bought lots more at the local farm supply store to create
three raised beds directly on the sod. The raised beds were 8 by 16 feet. I
used my dad's steel fence posts to support the trellis I was installing down the
length of each bed. I found wire cattle panel fencing at the farm supply store
for $20 a panel that were about 12 feet long. Wired to the steel fence posts,
the panels became my permanent vegetable trellises. No rinky dink tomato cages
I used more of the hay from the huge round bale to mulch my
first 3 raised beds. Then, I planted my vegetables through the hay mulch,
watered them, and waited.
And here is a photo of my hay mulched vegetable garden taken at
the time. Note the young asparagus plants on the left.
Here is the start of my herb garden. I planted
sage, lovage, basil, sorrel, french tarragon, spearmint, peppermint, chives,
oregano, rosemary, salad burnet, thyme, and a few others.
Along with a rose garden, I have always
ardently prayed for a water garden. I never thought I would get one, but my
yard guy had a Bobcat! Suddenly it was possible. Between the Bobcat, the yard
guy, a pond liner, and the multitude of limestone rock in my yard we were able
to get a small water garden going. The weekly farm auction gave me the "stone"
fountain for only $22. And here is my water garden at the base of my rose garden