The new rock walls and garden beds.

Later this summer, my brother is having his wedding reception at my dad’s house. There’s lots of work to do to get the yard in order, so this weekend, I’ve been up helping with hauling, shoveling, digging, mulching and whatever else is needed. My dad’s yard makes me so jeaolus – he has about 2 acres of landscaped area around the house, and 9 acres overall, compared to my 1/10. But gardening there can be tricky, because under a thin film of topsoil, there are many feet of tough clay.  Even my unimproved riverbed soil is easier to work with than the best spot out here.

This weekend, my brother, Janna and I worked most on re-building a planting bed near the back of the house. We extended the bed about 15 feet, and built some rock walls to retain the soil. In addition, we pulled up a flagstone path and some railroad ties that were in need of repair. It’s a project so huge, I couldn’t imagine tackling it at home. But with just a few minor injuries, I think it looks pretty good!

The next step will be to lay gravel and sand along the route of the new path, compact them and rebuild a more narrow flagstone path. After that, compost and fill dirt will go into the large bed, and gravel inside of the circle around the linden tree. And then, it’ll be ready to plant out with hostas and other shade loving plants like hostas and Japanese anemones.

Rows and rows of white pines.

One of my long term goals is to convince my dad to plant some low maintenance fruit trees rather than the red osier dogwoods and white pines and ginkgos he’s so fond of. My dad lives in northeastern Ohio, on a ridge above Lake Erie, so winters are much snowier up here, summers a bit cooler, and autumns seem to last longer. He’s planting more groves of trees to cut down on the area he needs to mow. I think there are some spots in the yard that would be perfect for a mulberry, or a hazelnut hedge, or even some cherry trees.

Red oiser dogwood living hedge.

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