Monday, August 14, 2017

Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side of The Fence

In our case, yes!  We keep our yard green
and the grass growing, not brown during
the summer months.  This means watering
and mowing!!  As some of you know we
have been fighting a yellow green grass
that has taken over our yard, we first noted it
in the spring with three large spots in the front.
After spraying crab grass killer and it still remained
we used Roundup to kill the spots then reseeded
the area.  Last Fall we killed all the grass and reseeded
the lawn area.  Many visitors are afraid to walk on
the lawn and when they ask if it's okay and learn it's
just fine.  They are shocked at what they walk on.
I had one person ask how we do it?  We know
that for a good lawn one must have the grass seed
down by Sept. 1 and growing!!  So it's time to gather
all the items to do so.  Roundup is used to kill the lawn
and let me tell you it will take two spraying.  I will also
tell you that one should use this with great care, long pants and
sleeves and mask is wise.  Roundup according to my experts is a good top soil killer and it also
will kill the roots so be warned if you have other plants near by.  Also do not spray on a windy
day as the over spray will kill.  After the first spraying of Roundup, I recommend putting down a good basic fertilizer, Scotts basic anytime fertilizer/feeder is what we use.  Next is to gather enough seed to do the area you want grass to grow.  A good quality grass seed!!  We do perennial rye, try to find a product that is mainly rye seed and not full of junk grass.  Buy enough to put done now and keep a bag to do filler for in the spring.   What do we use??  JB grass seed and you can find it at Home Depo.  I put down  two large bags in the front alone and in the spring it was full.  I keep some on hand when I see a spot that needs it.  Yes, I know every blade of grass in the front yard, you will find I walk the yard looking for grass that doesn't look right.  I then pull.  After a week, then do the second spray of Roundup and wait at least 10 hours so it is totally dry before putting down the grass seed directly on top of the brown grass.  Easy right??    We have now done this 4 times to our yard  in the about 30 years we have lived here.

Here is the north side of the house after we found the same
kind of the grass growing there.  I have pulled by hand over
26 - 5 gallon buckets of this yellow grass.  I recommend watering
before pulling and you will find it pulls easily.  Then water like
crazy to get the grass to grow and you can reseed at this time also.
During the heat of the summer I don't recommend any fertilizer as it's
a waste of money.  We do recommend that one use Golf Course Lime as our soil is acidic and to sweeten up the soil will help the grass green and better for the environment!   We only recommend Scott's early spring weed and feed and in the fall their Scott fertilizer.  Yep just twice a year!!  To rid the yard of weeds in the spring and to make the roots healthier the fall.  For here we do the spring feeding in late March or before April 15 and for the fall  no later than Oct. 15th.  But for new grass do not do this allow the grass to grow one year before
using Scott's, do things naturally for the first 9 months.  That means weeding by hand and a general all watch the grass grow.  If one sees the grass yellowing then the lime is the route to go.  Feed stores are the best place to buy the lime.  Just tell them golf course lime, glandular  
not powder and use the #8 setting on a drop spreader.

I was also asked how I put out the grass seed, I do it by hand.  It might take folks a couple times in doing so that is why the extra seed.  Casting out in one direction and then going back and casting out the other direction is the best method.

You can see by this photo the yellowing grass that needs pulling.  It's grass right so why not leave it?  I have found that this yellow grass takes over the rye and it seeds like crazy.  So if removed you will find
the rye comes back stronger and with some TLC will fill in fast.  Or one can reseed.

I will also mention that cleaning of one mower is important as it spreads the grass seed.  It's like cleaning ones hand tool so you don't spread disease to plants, a lesson one needs to learn if one gardens.  I watch lawn services mow and just put their equipment in their trailers and just wonder what they are spreading to the next job??  

So if you want a perfect lawn, it might be a ton of work to keep what you grow looking good if your neighbors don't care about their yards.  I will tell you every 6 years we kill our yard and redo our lawns as we know it's impossible to keep our yard looking great when we have neighbors around us with brown, weedy lawns.   Lawn care is just as important as planting trees and flowers.  It's about keeping the birds and bees happy!!

For those of you that live in other zones, one needs to know the last date of frost and when your area is going to freeze.  Doing this helps you determine a month and a half prior to frost is when you do the process.  Remember spray the Roundup twice and then after it dries you can put the grass seed directly down on top of the dead grass.  Then water in so the grass seed drops to the soil.

If I don't pull the weeds I use Weed Be Gone in the flower beds if the weeds get out of hand.  Remember if you disturb the soil you will get more weeds to grow.  Knowledge about the products you use will save the environment.   Weeding is a part of gardening!

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Summer Time, let the watering begin.  Hey Mother Nature, with the record spring rains, why is it
that you allow us here in the PNW to go bone dry in the summer months?  Ya know the dancing
with the garden hose is getting a little hard with us that are aging fast!!  Come on and allow us at
least a few days of rain during the week?  With that stated ya all know where I am most of the day
and yes it's not here!!  We are currently seeing the first buds on the Brugmansias but are to have
record heat this weekend, come on 90s is hot for us but at least it's just a couple days here and
later.  Love the low 80s temps the best so I have made a request to her to knock off the heat.  And
whom said there was nothing to this Climate Change??  Oh yea, that guy that site in the golden
Trump Tower and doesn't garden!!   We here have noticed the change, didn't get our garden in
until the first of the month due to the snow on the mountains.  Ya know tomatoes need the heat and
the cold spring wasn't good for the corn crop either.  It's finally in and growing, what ya bet we will
have another bad winter??   Loved the 14 inches of snow but I left Nebraska for a reason!!  Yep we
had more snow then some of my friends back there.  We had over 16 inches this year!!  Unusual but
love the white stuff where I can see it on the mountains, not the valley floor where folks have no
clue how to drive in the snow and ice!!    One tends to stay home during those white days of winter!!

Back to the gardens....... almost done cutting back the spring bloomers here.  Just waiting for seeds on some of the plants.  Have finally brought out the summer tropicals!!   Have the greenhouse almost emptied out and stuff tucked into the Brug House where it is much cooler so they won't cook.  All that is left if one Brugmansia Shorty's Variegated and my variegated tomatoes!!  They both love and need the heat to take off.

The gardens are to die for this year now that we have some of the major issues behind us, still have
the fence to repair but losing the neighbors' three trees have made a world of difference!!   We will still have to deal with the other trees when they come down.  Plus it appears the legal system will be the route to go with dealing with these.  Don't ya just love your neighbors??  Lots of drama and no respect!!  Got to love the one that drives the motorcycle and revs up the engine before shutting it down in the garage every afternoon when it comes home.   Was talking to Code Enforcement the other afternoon when Voom Voom and the staffer heard what we deal with here as we were talking about property values and changing codes!!  Yes, putting on the old shoes again and ya know it's nice to hear County Staff tell you, you are right!!    Time to get one's taxes lower as the County isn't protecting our values!!   Off the soapbox and into the real world!!  Life is just so much fun at the end of the dead end lane!!  Whom said it was quite and no traffic???

 Y'll have a great summer and I'll try to pop in and add photos when I can.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Annual Plant and Garage Sale Sat Only!!

That time of year for our annual sale, so if you are in the area stop by!  There will be no
garden tours and we ask if you want to tour the gardens, please make an appointment.   We
are a working garden so if there is something you want to see let us know.  Right now we
are in the process of cutting back the early spring bloomers and getting ready for summer
heat!   Our spring was a good one so things are slowly starting to wake up.

We do take special requests if you see something in the yard you want.  We will not dig after
the temp rise so you may have to wait until fall.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Our Gardens Are Open By Appointment Only!!

Since we have had unusual weather we haven't opened out gardens like we usually do by
the 15th of April.  We are fighting several issues here so we ask that you make an appointment.
We are in hopes of doing our annual garage/plant sale in June, weather permit.  I have listed
some plants on the Portland CL so we are currently selling some of the overflow.  We will be saving
seeds this year so if you are interested, let us know.  We currently have some seeds from the past
couple years.  Email us what you are looking for.

karma's Kolumbines 2017

5/14/2017, currently open and we will add more as they open.

January 2017

January came in with a huge storm and the 5th coldest month on record!  For a week we watch our 
neighbor's trees drop limbs and again we have fence damage.  The above photo was taken after the 14+ inches of snow melted and we could get back to see the damage.  There is no way we could clean this up so I started by calling our fence guys, they are now listed with Home Advisors.  I got them out and sure enough one pole to a big hit and it tweeked the fence to the south when it took the hit.  So we are looking at replacement of one and resetting of three or four more.  This is the second time our fence has had to be repaired.  Two years ago it was taken out in about the same area.  At that time we sent out letters in a neighborly manner to all the adjacent neighbors that had trees on our fence line as they are a huge problem.  After getting the fence guys out I got a phone call from HA  asking about the fence guys and the estimate.  I got talking to the gal and asked if they had pros that would give us an estimate for limb removal.  Shocked when the phone started ringing right away.  I wanted estimates for removal and possible limbing up,  mind you I need to get permission first to do so.  Not our trees but they hang into our yard some 40 to 50 feet.  Mid spring I had the neighbor at my door and telling me tree trimmers will be out a certain day, I thought okay but concerned as the plants were up and growing.  After watching them drop limbs in the yard it was time to go out and tell them to stop dropping them in our yard.  I went out and started tossing them back across the fence.  They were out to sail up the trees, but only did it on the west side.  They didn't care!!  As I watched them 
drop all over the place, no tieing of limbs and lowering them safely to the ground.  I asked what company they were with, mental note not to hire them!!   They did nothing to our side and after our
growing season my husband and I decided to remove what we could as the limbs were all the way to our roof.  Hence the cleaning off the roof before any rain hit. A job that needs to be done monthly due to all that comes out of the trees.  Also our small maple in the back yard was touching the huge branches.  Time for a trim and we knew to cut the limbs so they would spring upward.  In the middle of the job we found broken branches and they drooped down to the fence area so we noted the area
and keep a watch on the branches, the same branches that came done in the storm.   Again not our trees and after taking two truck loads out at our expense we had enough.  We take two loads of stuff off our yard yearly just from these trees besides our every other week yard debris which is full of stuff from neighboring trees. 
After the first storm and filing a claim with the insurance company, the adjuster made the statement if the winds kick up, I should grab our dog and leave!!  If you don't know fir trees they have shallow roots and will topple over in the wind out here.  Beings that these are planted close together, you got it if one comes down they all may come with it!!  These trees are to the west of us and yearly we have a mess with the stuff dropping out of the trees!   After a few years of fighting to keep grass growing we removed the grass and put in our flower beds as there was no way grass would grow.  We currently have a beautiful hosta garden that will grow in the shade.
Making this long story short, we sent out letters to all our neighbors that had trees planted on the property line and they hang over the fence line.  We did so by certified mail according to what we learned from our visit with our insurance company.  We also changed our policy to an umbrella policy.  We are just trying to protect our property!  In the letter we made just a few requests, that if work is going to be done, it's not during the growing season.  That all requests be put in writing and we ask who is doing the work, there would be minimal access to our yard and I would do the clean up, my going rate is $20 an hour.   I will not allow work when it's raining as our yard will not tolerate a lot of traffic and beings that we are located in a tributary area we see our soil become really soggy.
The end of April our neighbor to the west showed up at our door one evening to inform us that the next day he was going to have a couple trees removed!  Nothing was done in writing, nor did we get 
very much notice to protect our property from the mess of taking these 80 fir trees down.  This photo was taken after the clean up from February's high wind and storm before the hostas started to grow.

You can see how nice and clean it was before the two trees to the back of the photo were removed.
The day they started trimming it was raining and wind so you know where the fir chips fell.   We had chips fly all over the yard, across the roof and even falling in our front yard.  Needless to say we weren't happy and watch it all happen, I video taped 90% of the day's events.  I was shocked the first hour they just cut and allowed it to drop. I even watched as they started lowing the branches when they noticed I was watching them by rope and watched as they hit the fence a few times.  One of the post was hit hard enough it moved forward.  Needless to say when the neighbor showed up at our door to ask if they could clean up, all I could do is shut my front door.  The yard was wet and knowing the company that was hired they would just pick up the large limbs that dropped.  I was not going to allow them to walk all over our yard.  Plus what did the letter say?  I then contacted an attorney we had hired in the past.  We went over to talk to them and told them I would clean up the yard and my going rate was $20 to do so.  I would send them the bill for that and the fixing of the fence as we were tired of paying for what their trees damaged.  They kept telling us they were trying to be good neighbors.  When we left they stated that they were going to talk to their attorney, so be it.
We are in the process of getting the fence folks to come out and fix the fence now that I have spent 10 1/2 hours doing the clean up.
 Here is what it looks like all cleaned up!!