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Garden Progress, Part 2

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

May 30, 2022

woman-planting-garden

So much has happened in my garden since I last wrote about it! Today I would love to share with you all the changes and progress so far. My heart is so happy about the progress, and the garden will become even more beautiful as the summer progresses.


To all my readers who may live up North, I hope you especially can enjoy this post and enjoy the beauty vicariously. My sweet cousin and her family visited us in the early part of May, and she shared that where she lives (almost to Canada) she cannot plant until the first of June! Though sometimes I have an itch to move away from southern heat, I would dearly miss the incredible growing season we have in South Carolina.


In my first post about Planning My Garden, I listed out several goals that I had for the garden. So far, I’ve made at least some amount of progress towards each goal, and I hope you will enjoy seeing the evolution of the garden.


Enrich the Soil


My friend, Susan, gave me a recipe for soil enrichment which we modified slightly for my garden. Her recipe is to mix organic potting soil, mushroom compost (or you could use your choice of animal manure), and peat moss. The soil in my garden is already sandy, so we skipped using peat moss in the mixture. To keep cost moderate, Susan and I used the soil enrichment recipe only around newly planted plants. As Susan dug the hole for each new plant, she then added the soil enrichment to the bottom of the newly dug hole. She tossed the soil enrichment with the existing soil and then placed the plant. We also added soil enrichment around the top of the plants once in the ground.

mushroom-compost-organic-potting-mix

Incorporate Hardscaping


The inexpensive stones from Lowes that edge the garden are already making a huge difference in keeping the garden from washing onto the sidewalk. I still have to prepare the ground and place the stepping stones, but I at least know where the path will be through the garden. I also plan to create a pad out of stepping stones under the old swing frame where I hope to put a bench. I could not resist letting these cute purple flowers grow on the other side of the border!

purple-bell-flowers

stone-path-garden


Incorporate year-round color


Incorporating year-round color in a garden is harder than it sounds, but I have added a few plants that provide year round beauty. Since our windows come so low to the ground, my husband prefers that we not plant large bushes in front of the window which would block our view. Avoiding large bushes has created a challenge to find small-scale plants that provide year-round color, but so far I’ve found a few.


My garden-expert friend Susan recommended these lovely Juniper plants that have a gentle mounding effect and will not get excessively large. Susan helped me plant the two Junipers, one beside each Japanese Maple. I would not naturally have gravitated towards this type of plant, but Susan has been encouraging me to branch out beyond just wildflowers. She loves anything evergreen, and I am beginning to appreciate evergreens’ constant though sometimes understated beauty.

blue-star-juniper

Though blueberry bushes do not retain their leaves through the winter, their leaves turn lovely hues in the fall. Tractor Supply had blueberry bushes for great prices ($12.99 apiece), and I love the twiggy, relaxed look of the three bushes that now take center stage in my garden. Susan tried to talk me into a more bush-like prolific producer called Down Home Blueberry by Southern Living, but I was hesitant about the size and look for the front flower garden.


A day or two after our shopping trip to Tractor Supply, Susan texted that she had gone back and bought one of these blueberry bushes. After talking with my husband about a sadly overgrown bed to the right of the sidewalk, we decided the Down Home Blueberry bushes would be perfect in that bed. These bushes do get bigger (3-5 feet in diameter) than the twiggy bushes in the front bed, but I am excited to see how they grow and produce.

blueberry-bushes-garden

southern-living-downhome-harvest-hello-darlin-blueberry

southern-living-downhome-harvest-blueberry

Incorporate climbing elements


My daughter and I planted Purple Hyacinth Beans around the base of the old swing frame several days ago, and we are excited to see this unique plant grow! This plant is a new one to me and comes highly recommended from a friend. I had hoped to find this plant in the store but could not find it, so we started from seed.


I also planted some green beans at the base of my old trellis and at the base of a recycled bamboo stick tepee. Incorporating practical and edible plants into my garden is important to me, and the cottage garden look lends itself to welcoming utilitarian plants into a beautiful space.

renees-garden-purple-hyacinth-bean-seeds

renees-garden-heirloom-bush-beans-seeds

Incorporate artful features


My sweet neighbor gave us an old black shutter that she bought at a resale shop, and the shutter fits beautifully in the corner of the garden. This neighbor aslo gave us a set of solar-powered lanterns to hang on shepherds hooks (not in picture). These lanterns will provide visual appeal and also light in the evening hours. As of yet, I still do not have a bench to put under the swing frame, but that item is on my “thrift list.”

garden-black-shutters

Incorporate containers


A few months ago, I found these two beautiful crock replicas at Tractor Supply and immediately bought them. This was a bit of a splurge but buying genuine antique crocks is out of my budget (crocks are expensive in the South). The larger crock was $25 and the smaller one was $20, both bargains considering the average cost of antiques these days, not to mention the replicas should hold up better than antiques.

old-crocks-mint-plant

Spending time working in the garden has been invigorating yet at times exhausting. My dear friend Susan has spent many hours with me digging, planting, enriching, and advising. Not only is my garden growing from our time spent together, but my relationship with Susan has grown as we have dug in the dirt together. I am grateful for this dear lady and her investment not only into my garden but into the garden of my heart. She has planted seeds in my heart that will bear fruit into eternity.


I was struggling feeling somewhat guilty spending so much time in the garden instead of spending every minute with my kids, though they were nearby. Susan kindly reminded me that gardening is part of being a virtuous woman and adds beauty and value to my home. I am grateful to the Lord for the opportunity, time, and resources to work in my garden!


-Ashley

 

Dear reading friend, if you find value in my posts and website, would you share my website with a friend, neighbor, or relative? I long to encourage others with a wholesome, God-centered website, and I would consider it an honor to be a blessing to someone. Thank you!


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