Three Garden Projects, All in a Row

Hurray for Nick Timmermann!  Nick completed all three garden projects for me over the past two days.

You may remember that I managed to get most of the dead hardenbergia vine pulled, but had to stop at the roots. The same went for my attempt at removing the grass in the sidewalk strip. My back and neck can no longer handle that kind of heavy digging.

The third project on the list was to remove the depleted lavender (thanks to an early frost) and replace it with Mexican Bush Sage. I went to four nurseries and garden centers over the past two weeks looking for the plants without success.  Central Wholesale Nursery said they were seeing a shortage of plants. At the start of the recession, growers reduced production.  Now that people are buying again, they’re having trouble keeping up with the demand. Nick went back this week and they just got them in!

I’ve been waiting to get the front garden rehabbed before our Little Free Library dedication. Now I can move ahead.

Here’s Nick’s handy work, starting with my attempt at digging up the grass, left, and the completed garden strip, upper right:

Curb garden

Colorful pebbles, stepping-stones and thyme replace the 18-year-old, water-guzzling lawn

I’m trying to reduce my water use and getting rid of the lawn in the sidewalk strip was a first step. We replaced it with tiny pebbles and drought tolerant thyme, capping off several sprinkler heads in the process.

sage replaces lavender

Out with the old, in with the new

wooly thyme

Wooly thyme planted between the rocks

Colored pebbles and slate stepping stones

Colored pebbles and slate stepping-stones

I loved the lavender and was sorry to see it go. That said, here was another opportunity to reduce water usage. The Mexican Bush Sage prefers dry conditions and needs almost no water once established. These plants will fill the space within a season. Meanwhile, I’ll put in some sunflower seeds and mulch and see if I can outsmart the squirrels.

As the daffodils slowly fade, the perennials are taking over.  I’m loving all that color.  Here are a few closeups:

red buckwheat

Red Buckwheat

snapdragons and daffodils

Snapdragons and daffodils


Scabiosa (it’s prettier than it sounds)

I ♥ flowers. Don’t you?

Little Free Library Debut

Our Little Free Library is open for reading. I am so excited!

Isn’t it beautiful?

Design and build by Nick Timmerman

Designed  and built by Nick Timmermann

My friend Nick Timmermann crafted the library using reclaimed redwood decking, old fencing, scraps of old-growth redwood for the nobs and a plexiglass remnant for the doors.  The craftsmanship is superb.  Nick added a small light inside the library to illuminate it after dark. He wired it to our low-voltage landscape lighting and comes on at dusk. That was such a nice surprise and a clever addition.

I spotted my first Little Free Library early last year in nearby Campbell. It was love at first sight. I went back later in the day to take photos and to drop off a few books. Your can read the original post here. I also had a nice correspondence with Carmencita Valerio, the Campbell library steward.

What is a Little Free Library?

It’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. You can, too!

The Mission of the non-profit Little Free Library movement is:

To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.

To build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations

Nick installed the library in late December. I registered the library with Little Free and Saturday’s mail brought the official plaque and registration. Once I submit photos, I can register our library on the LFL map.

Little Free Library sign

Finishing touches: adding the Take a Book, Return a Book charter sign

Involving the community is what Little Free Libraries are about.  Shortly after the library went up, four books appeared.  The following day there were more.  Family and friends, neighbors and clients donated start-up books. Our boys added books of their own.

I hope the library remains stocked with books for all ages. We’re off to an excellent start.

Are you considering a Little Free Library in your neighborhood? You can learn more here.

To see additional work by Nick Timmermann you can follow his Facebook Page.

Dedicated to Debbie Hughes Judge and Carolyn SullivanSpecial thanks to my start-up book donors:


Chris F.

Donna B.

Gen R.

Jasmin O.

Liane B.

Mac F.

Sharon M.

Dedicated to Debbie Hughes Judge and Carolyn Sullivan, life-long readers and teachers.