The Case of the Shrinking Lawn

existing lawn

Existing Lawn

My lawn is shrinking, my lawn is shrinking!

Oh happy day.

We’ve been tossing the ‘lawn/no lawn’ ball back and forth for a while. We’ve reached a compromise and split the difference. Half the lawn in our back garden remains. The other half will convert to native perennials. I’m pretty excited. This change will reduce water use and attract native species to the garden.

After trying to dig up the lawn in our sidewalk strip last year, I learned it’s a slow and arduous task. I gratefully hired Nick to finish the job.

Imagine how thrilled I was when I read Diane’s post Undoing Three Years of Procrastination.  She explains a method known as sheet mulching, recently implemented in her own vast and beautiful Ontario garden. Instead of digging up the lawn, you apply layers of soil, cardboard,compost and mulch. They gradually decompose, and at the same time kill the grass, leaving rich, organic soil in its place.

Here are the instructions Diane used from Goodbye Grass, Hello Garden

Sheet mulching—a simple technique that involves layering cardboard, compost, and other organic material over the turf—kills the grass and leaves behind beds with rich soil. A considerable amount of organic debris goes into the bed construction, so stockpile plenty of autumn leaves, composted manure, and garden waste before beginning. Beds that are sheet-mulched this fall will be ready to plant next spring.

sheet mulching

Sheet mulching ingredients

Last weekend I did a big yard clean up and created two small  piles of organic debris. This morning I brought home about a dozen free boxes from a local market and we got to work.  We ran out of ‘ingredients’ before finishing, but made a good start.

garden sheet mulching

Half way there

I emptied both of my composting bins as a base layer, then transferred soil from the summer vegetable beds. That was enough to cover about half of the area. We added the layer of cardboard and then covered it with decaying leaves, pine needles and other organic matter.  Once I gather additional cardboard and organic material to finish the rest of the area, I’ll buy mulch for the final layer.

Thanks for the inspiration, Diane!

In a Vase on Monday: Following Garden Sunshine

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden arranges flowers in a vase year round. How’s that for inspiration? Several bloggers join in the creative process, posting their own flowers in a vase on Monday, than linking back to her blog.

Cathy’s first post reads:

I know I have set myself a difficult task, finding something for a vase every week, and particularly starting in mid-November, but in truth the fact that it IS a challenge will make me more determined to achieve it! Posting a picture of my pickings will also make it easier because I will expect it of myself every Monday – so if anybody would like to join me by placing things ‘In a Vase on Monday’ and posting a picture then please feel free to add a link here so we can all share in the pleasure such vases can bring. Today’s vase has some of everyone’s favourite Persicaria ‘Red Dragon’, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ and Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’.

Inspired!  If you want to join in the fun, simply post your own flower arrangement on a Monday and link back to Rambling in the Garden.

Garden Sunshine

For all my love of miniature gardening, it never occurred to me to arrange flowers in a tiny teapot. I have several.

This morning Diane at Garden Sunshine changed all that with her delightful post: tiny pink flowers in a miniature, silver teapot. You can see her gorgeous flower arrangement here.

I dusted off one of my cloisonné teapots and put together a tiny arrangement using Bachelor Buttons, Love-in-the Mist seed pods, flowering spider plants and a couple of annuals going to seed.

 

in a vase on monday july 7

Three loves: cats, flowers and teapots

tiny bouquet

Tiny Teapot: A different perspective

Please join us next Monday

And remember…

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. – Doug Larson

…and a vase is simply a vessel for holding flowers.

Artfully arranged Dandelions in a jelly jar qualify for In A Vase on Monday.

Strawberries After All

garden strawberries

Strawberries after all

After complaining about the ant invasion in our strawberry patch, I’m happy to be eating my words.  I reached in to the dense green foliage of the strawberry patch and came up with the perfect berry: ripe, bright red and ready to eat.  The ants moved on, preferring the cast-offs from the fruit tree. The rats and squirrels eat half, then dump the rest for the ants and the fruit flies.

No matter.  I gathered the berries the snails missed, and put them to good use that night.  The day before, I read  Strawberry glut daiquiri at Promenade Plantings.

I’m not much of a drinker, unless you count water and tea, but this sounded really good.  We actually had white rum and lime in the house, so it all seemed serendipitous.  If you have your own glut of strawberries and you like the occasional fruity drink with a kick, this drink is delicious.

What else can you do with all those strawberries?

Check out these suggestions from my blogging community:

Please drink responsibly.

Generous Spirits, Caring Hearts

The goodness of bloggers abounds.

Bloggers near and far filled my mailbox these past several weeks with treasures of hand-made goodness. I’ve never  met the bloggers at In Search of it All or Garden Sunshine. Before blogging, I’d never meet Boomdeeadda either. Yet they all have one thing in common: a generous spirit and a sharing heart.

Once upon a time there were pen pals. You mailed letters to someone you didn’t know who  lived on the other side of the world. If you were lucky, they wrote back.  Now we blog.

Gardening Nirvana came to life as a place to write about the things I love.  I never dreamed of the community that would gather around it.  Who could imagine the connections, the learning, the support and the fun that blogging had in store? I came for the writing and stayed for the friends.

If you blog with regularity, you know what I mean.  If you’re new to the medium, you have wonderful things to look forward to. Finally, if you’ve never blogged, start today.  You’ll be glad you did.

In Search of it All

The lovely, lace embroidery, below was a ‘just because’ gift from Marlene Herself at In Search of It All. Isn’t it beautiful? Marlene blogs from the northern state of Oregon. She describes herself as “a young at heart senior citizen that still has more questions than answers.”  She enjoys reading, sewing, quilting and of course writing. Pop on over to her blog to read her unique perspectives of the world. You’ll be glad you did.

Embroidered lace snowflake

Embroidered lace snowflake by Marlene Herself

embroidered lace

More embroidered lace from Marlene

Garden Sunshine

Diane blogs from Ontario, Canada. She shares her gardening progress on  7+ acres of land at Garden Sunshine. Her photos and projects are stunning. Garden Sunshine sent the blue heart pin, cotton square and calendar, lovingly crafted while she waits for the sun to shine again. Apparently I’m her top commenter. Who knew? Thank you for the shower of gifts.

Stars and hearts pin

Stars and hearts pin crafted by Garden Sunshine

Hand-knit cotton square

Hand-knit cotton square by Garden Sunshine

flower calendar

Garden Sunshine photo calendar and notebook

Boomdeeadda

For those of you familiar with the “Boom Room”, it will come as no surprise that this little treasure arrived from Edmonton, Canada via Boomdeeadda. Kelly describes herself as “living the dream with Mr Right and two rescue cats, Petals & Blossum. Life and Love is enhanced by the many on going projects.  This is a Journal of these and other bits along the way.”

Through blogging we’ve formed a close friendship. We celebrate our kindred spirit, which extended beyond blogging into texting, phone calls, Skype sessions and in-person visits. Next stop, the Ellen Show.  😉

layered card and envelope

Hand made goodness from Boomdeeadda

Virtual Gifts

versatile_bloggerSpecial thanks (and apologies for not acknowledging this sooner) to Pauline at The Contented Crafter. I appreciate your kindness and support.

sunshine blogger awardA warm thank you to Val at Nikitaland for passing on a bit of sunshine. Much appreciated.