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Filtering by Tag: gardening

spring gardening thus far

Emily Oster

This spring has been rather mild and excitingly we have had time at home to enjoy it! Last year, our spring was spent inside as Jeff prepared to take his licensing exam and I rushed to finish painting our hallway and stairs before our carpet runner was installed. It also was a record year for rainfall and our yard was a jungle so having a manageable yard and cooperating weather has been a dramatic improvement. 

So for the past couple weekends, we have gotten outside and started our spring clean up and planting.  It has been mostly weeding with some new planting but we are both really enjoying it. We have even instituted "Green Thumb Thursdays" in which we plan to garden for an hour or so in the evening and then enjoy an outdoor meal. 

In the front, we started working on our main bed that was quickly being overtaken by day lilies. We pulled out a bunch and created a border along the driveway. Ideally, we would have dug out all of them as I don't like them very much. But, we don't yet have a plan for what to replace them with so we opted to wait. We also weeded (still a bit left to do), transplanted a few hostas and brainstormed what to plant in the bed. 

In the back, we put in a climbing hydrangea in what is set to become our herb garden. My hope is that it will wrap the rather unattractive lattice work and add some "green" interest to an unsightly corner of our porch.

Adjacent to the herb garden is a small bed that has our hellebore which is continuing to do great - ya! And a bunch of lily of the valley that I successfully transplanted last year! So just a bit of weeding effort in that particular bed. 

Finally, we expanded a bed along our driveway and planted two lilacs (the old-fashion kind), a bridal veil spirea, two little henries and transplanted some form of a monkey grass and two patches of irises. I am super excited about this planting effort as 1.) I finally have my lilacs! 2.) the bed went to bare to almost filled out and 3.) the little henries and irises should help with our water problem. 

Tomorrow, we plan on hitting the first Saturday farmers market of the year and picking up our herbs to plant! I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

garden fencing  july 22, 2013

garden fencing
july 22, 2013

lilacs  april 25, 2014

lilacs
april 25, 2014

garden questions  june 10, 2015

garden questions
june 10, 2015

tree feature: arborvitae

Emily Oster

Happy April everyone! Its a beautiful day and looks to be a nice weekend so I have gardening on the mind yet again. Specifically, creating a privacy hedge in our front yard between us and our east side neighbors. We are pretty fortunate in that our house staggers from our neighbors, however, our living room window looks right at the side of their house. I don't really want to do a window covering as the room gets such good light so I am thinking of doing an evergreen hedge. 

At my parents house, they have some really nice hedges made up of a lot of arborvitaes. Arborvitaes (Thuga) are an evergreen tree with scale like leaves that grow tall, narrow and thick. There are several varieties that grow throughout North American with all of them being fast growers and liking full to part sun. I am thinking we would need 4 - 6 depending on their size...Off to my trusty local nursery for some expert advice!

Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

from top left - design by  Land Architects  via  Houzz  - via  Quintessence  - design by Zachary Duff via  Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles  - design by  Falkner Gardens  - via  Bungalow Blue Interiors  - via  The Tree Center  | THE PLACE HOME

from top left - design by Land Architects via Houzz - via Quintessence - design by Zachary Duff via Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles - design by Falkner Gardens - via Bungalow Blue Interiors - via The Tree Center | THE PLACE HOME

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outdoor spaces  july 17, 2013

outdoor spaces
july 17, 2013

bamboo shades  january 13, 2014

bamboo shades
january 13, 2014

our front yard  march 9, 2015

our front yard
march 9, 2015

planning an herb garden

Emily Oster

via  my uncommon slice of suburbia  | THE PLACE HOME

via my uncommon slice of suburbia | THE PLACE HOME

Seeking to not bite off more than I can chew with my gardening this season, I am currently focused on an herb garden. When thinking about an herb garden you basically have three types to choose from: a culinary or edible herb garden, a fragrant or potpurri herb garden or a medicinal herb garden. I am interested in a culinary one and have a medium size bed right next to the house that I think will work quite well.

The next decision to make is whether you want a formal or an informal herb garden. Formal gardens are usually geometric with a strong focal point and while beautiful, can require more upkeep. The garden bed that I am planning on using is an irregular shape which basically makes the decision for me - informal. Plus I like the more wild, organic designed garden beds anyways. 

Step three is deciding on the herbs that you actually want to plant and then figuring out if they will work in your garden - this is the most time intensive step. I am most interested in basil, parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, mint, dill and cilantro. I am after functionality and these are herbs I think we would enjoy cooking with the most. However, I know they might not all necessarily work well together. For example, lots of varieties of mint are very aggressive and thus do better in a container. 

With a little bit of research, I learned there are three types of culinary herbs: herbaceous, evergreen and annuals. It is recommended that you mix types although this requires some further studying as classification depends on particular hardiness zone. Herbaceous plants die back in the winter but return in the spring. In Saint Louis, which is zone 6, oregano is an example of the herbaceous variety. Evergreens such as sage and rosemary keep their foliage through winter where they are hardy. Rosemary is hardy in zones 7-10 and sage is hardy in zones 5-8. From some quick reading it seems rosemary can also successfully be grown as an evergreen in zone 6 depending on the given winter. Annuals are, of course, herbs that need to be replanted "annually" such as basil. I think of of my list of 9 herbs - oregano, thyme and mint are herbaceous, sage and rosemary (maybe) are evergreen and basil, parsley, dill and cilantro are annuals. 

Keeping in mind what type of culinary herb you are planting you then have to think how big and how tall a given plant will grow to be. In general, you want to keep the taller plants in the back so that you can more easily access your shorter herbs.

Another thing to consider is if you are going to mix in other plants into your herb garden.  In my garden bed, I have some well established hostas that I plan on keeping. I also like the idea of planting some edible flowers to add color.

Finally, the three most important factors to consider when planning an herb garden - sunlight, water and soil conditions.  Most herbs require full sun, consistent watering and well drained soils. In our case, I am fairly confident the given bed meets these criteria but its always an experiment. Since there are still a couple weeks before ideal planting time, I am going to continue to plan and research and have already given myself a head start by adding a nice layer of compost to enrich the soil.

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