Spring has Sprung! Garden Progress and a New Wreath

This Winter/Spring has been the weirdest.  I mean, really, we used our snow blower only twice this year- and even then it wasn’t entirely necessary.  With unusually warm temperatures in Minnesota, my perennial gardens were blooming…with weeds!  In early March!

The dandelions have begun to take over!   Last year when everything in the backyard was weeded properly, I mulched everything really well.  Before mulching, I didn’t lay down any sort of weed barrier.  Big mistake.  I battled the tenacious (and quite vicious, if you ask me!) Canadian Thistle all summer long.  I felt like I was fighting this losing battle, and gardening just wasn’t fun anymore.  I had to be outside every single day (sometimes two or three times a day) attacking this stupid weed.  I tried everything (nearly), and even asked the local garden center what to do.  Their recommendation:  Total Vegetation Killer.   Yikes!  I didn’t want to go that route, so this year I decided to rake up all the mulch I laid down last year and put down some landscaping fabric.  It was a lot of work, but my super awesome friend, Megan, came over to help:

Megan helping lay the fabric

We managed to finish two of the biggest areas—in a little over 2 hours!  We were rockin’ it!  It was actually kind of fun, and I hope it really does keep the weeds from taking over this year.

When we purchased our house, nearly two years ago, both the front yard and the backyard looked like hell.  I mean, it really looked like a wild jungle.  A single, 80 year old lady owned our place and I think all the gardens became too much for her to handle.  Heck!  I’m not even 30 and they were too much for me to handle!!!

Here’s a few photos of the backyard from last year—after everything was pretty much cleaned up.

This looks small, I know. It's not though. It is probably at least 6' wide. The raised bed that's in there is a 4'x4' if that gives any idea to the actual size of this garden.

This was the worst. I'm not real sure why they decided to build the fence like they did and leave that portion of the yard unfenced, but it is a HUGE area...and the weeds love it there. I'm thinking of planting a pine tree in that empty space (which is bigger than it looks).

This area still looks a little wild. I'm going to get rid of all that green stuff in the front part. It's invasive and I hate it. I don't know what it is...

I've tackled this area already this spring....fabric laid down, just need to mulch. And possibly divide that hydrangea?

I laid fabric on the backside of this garden last year...and the thistles were no longer a problem. I'm hoping that's true for everything else this year.

I was excited that my new home had all these beautiful flowers and plants, and I had all these big ideas about how pretty it was going to look when I was done with everything.  I knew nothing about gardening, couldn’t tell the difference between some of the flowers and the weeds, and very quickly became discouraged.  I didn’t know where to start and the further I got into the project, the bigger the project seemed.  We had a landscaper come out and tell me what things were (and they did that for free!), then we decided to hire him to clean everything up in the backyard so that I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed.  We were so happy with his work that we hired him again this year to do our front yard (which still looks like a jungle!).  Now I just have to keep up with everything…

Do any of you have giant perennial gardens?  How do you keep them (semi)weed-free?  How about veggie gardens?  Our gardens in the front yard are so full of stuff that laying landscape fabric down is not really an option….and it kind of makes me crazy thinking about how I’m going to keep up with it all.

I’m excited though…hopefully my veggie garden will do good this year and I can make salads, like this:

with things I grew myself.

I was so happy last year when my first tomato grew!  Unfortunately my garden struggled…but I got a few things out of it.

On a totally different topic, with the arrival of spring, comes a new wreath for the door!

I bought the wreath, itself, at a garage sale last year.  For a dollar, I believe.  It’s a brown, straw form.  Although I bought this pre-made, it looks easy enough to make on your own.  Basically all that grass looking stuff is just hot-glued into/onto the form.  I then added the sprig of purple beads and the butterflies.  I thought it needed a little somethin’ extra.

Before I added the embellishments to it, the wreath had been sitting on my counter…taking up space.  My cat, Penny, decided she liked it:

Penny, nesting.

She thinks she owns everything…

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