Ready to Landscape for Spring!

On Monday I told you the story of The Retirement Garden Project and the state of the garden at the beginning of the project, before we broke much ground. Today I’m going to show you where we are at today, 9 months and a very weak winter later. On Friday, I will be bringing you THE MASTER PLAN for the rest of the project. Be excited.

The Retirement Garden Project

I am so very proud of this curvy garden path feature.

Let me preface all of this by saying I am an extremely novice gardener, but a fantastic researcher. I have a whole tome of gardening knowledge in my head and at my fingertips, but little practical experience. I have found gardening tips and advice to be more contentious and contradictory than religious discussions in a barbershop, so who knows what to believe.

I know there are armies of you out there that know the hell out of what you’re doing in the dirt, so I want to crowd source this sucker. If you keep reading all the way to the end, I’ll tell you how you can be my hero and be a part of making my lovely parents’ retirement dream garden come true.

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The Retirement Garden Project

Today I’m going to tell you the story of The Retirement Garden Project.

My father is 60 years old. My mom is a couple of years behind him. Despite the fact that she is graduating from nursing school right now, at some point they are going to retire, and most likely in this house. It’s a great house, in a great area, and this is where the grandkids are going to be, so they likely will not be moving to some far-off locale. The Baby Bear step-granddaughter has given my mom a taste for the grandbabies, so certainly not going anywhere before infant versions arrive.

Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden Love

The objective of The Retirement Garden Project is to give my parents the garden of their dreams for their golden years (I’m not calling you old, mom, but eventually you will be, okay?). The front yard will be bright and cheery with fiery warm hues, with a meandering path and clearings all the way through. The back yard is to be soft and relaxing in light pastels, filled with flowery perfume. Both will be a haven for birds, bees and hummingbirds for my dad to sit out and watch. Pure heaven.

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My Seed Starting Adventure

There is true magic in watching seeds sprout in the spring. For you egomaniacs out there, you are literally creating life. It’s pretty cool. To give your plants their best start, many of them can and should be started indoors, right about now.

Seed Starting

Let's get growing

Why should you start seeds indoors? How should you start them? Which plants benefit from starting indoors? When do you start them?

I had absolutely no idea, so I did a whole lot of research. It seems there is a lot of conflicting opinion out there. I’ve waded through it, and these are the this seems to be the consensus.

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Seed Catalogs & Grow Lights Oh My!

It’s the most da da da wo-der-ful time da da da of the yeeeeear… That’s right, seed catalog time. Oh, those sweet glossy pages of seeds large and small, annuals, perennials, herbs, fruits and vegetables, heirloom weirdness and wonder. It is a treat of hope and joy, a sign that spring is right around the corner.

Seed porn.

Not that we had much of a winter this year. I think we have had half a dozen snowfalls. Really Chicago? Is that all you’ve got? Of course we will undoubtedly have a freak cold snap in June or something that will kill everything that we have planted, but that comes with the Zone 5 territory.

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November 1st, 60 degrees and sunny. What the hell?

Just as I was expecting the good weather to be over (it just snowed 30 inches in New York and there are 2 million people without power), it’s gorgeous out. As they say around here, if you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait a minute.

I finally got outside to check some of the perennial seeds I got started about a few weeks ago. They’re all popping up, some more than others, but I wonder if they’ll have time to get settled before the serious frost hits. Perhaps I’ll just leave them in the pots until I can transplant them in the spring.

Starting Seeds

Starting the seeds

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