Since budget is on my mind I might as well address my garden plans as well. Part of figuring out my garden budget has meant figuring out what work I intend to complete in the garden.
Starting at the far end of the property is the crescent garden. This year I planted it with dahlias, amaranthus and sunflowers and the easiest thing to do is to continue just as it is.
Next spring I'll put the dahlia tubers back, and perhaps some of the sunflower seeds that fell will sprout. If there is time I might consider expanding this bed but rather than plan for that I'll just see what happens so I don't overwhelm myself.
The next garden over is the garage bed.
So far this bed has done remarkably well and I have no plans other than to keep an eye on the hollyhocks I planted this year. Despite cutting back the leaves infected with rust and thinning the plants in late fall I saw new leaves emerging covered in rust. If things are still bad come spring I may need to pull these plants and think about replacements. Okay, I'll admit I'm already thinking about putting in some large grasses but I need to give the hollyhocks a fair chance first. I will put $25 in reserve though just in case some new plants need to make a home in this bed.
The vegetable garden is next and there is always work to do here.
Edging the beds, cutting the grass and weeding take up a lot of time but the biggest chore will be to dig over all the beds and amend them. I've been doing some reading lately and I think I know the reason why my spinach and beets do so poorly. It's a combination of acidic soil and not enough manure. I already have some lime in the garage but I'll put $50 aside for manure. $20 for seeds as previously mentioned will go to new veggies like peas, turnips and zucchini. Last but not least another $20 should be put aside for nursery bought plants like rosemary and peppers.
Beyond the vegetable garden is the circle bed.
I started the ground cover Aguja 'Chocolate Chip' here this summer so hopefully that will spread over the next season limiting the amount of weeding I need to do. Some expansion could be done in this spot but like the crescent garden I'm not going to count on it. If there's time that's great but I won't plan for it. The only thing I would like to add here is another evergreen. I really covet those threadleaf false cypress so I'm putting aside $50 for a fancy new evergreen to add to this area.
The front entrance bed is where all the work is needed this coming spring.
Removing weeds, moving existing plants, and edging will take a lot of time but it won't cost me a dime if I'm careful. I bought more than enough plants for this space last year and hopefully they will start to take hold and expand. I have good reason not to want any more plants as well because I don't want to overcrowd. Too often I've crammed plants together in the past. I'm trying to avoid that mistake this time. If I keep myself in check this area should expand nicely without overflowing.
The final piece of the garden puzzle is trees.
|This white birch was planted in spring 2010|
To me, trees are the backbone of the garden and our large property needs more trees. We have decided to allow our meadow (former lawn) to transform into a wooded area. The grasses are beautiful but trees will provide wind protection and habitat for insects, birds and animals. We have set a goal of planting 100 trees in our back acre and we've only planted about 20 so far so there's a long ways to go. Some trees will be freebies, we find them in ditches like the squirrel planted horse chestnuts we have recently discovered growing in the ditch at the far end of our property. I have a budget as well though for harder to find specimens. Several local nurseries stock native trees at a price of approximately $10 each so $40 will buy me 4 trees like red maple, ash or balsam fir. Last but not least I have my eye on a specialty purchase. We have one dead and one dying apple tree standing in our front lawn. These trees won't likely be standing much longer so I'm looking for a replacement.
|The tree on the left just faded away this season and is now dead|
Since this is such a prominent location I'd like something eye catching in this spot. I've been thinking about Katsura or Persian Parrotia. A local nursery carries these trees and more for a cost of around $20 for a small tree.
The final budget then comes to $225 which, while still a lot of money, is more manageable than what I've been spending. And the work is much more manageable as well. No big expansion plans just take care of what I have and hopefully find some time to enjoy the other pleasures of summer.