Monday, June 15, 2009

Aches, Pains and Blisters... Oh My

Well, we finally started. This weekend Jamie and I began working on the last large bed that will be going into the garden in the back yard. When we are through digging it out, it will be 75 feet long and about 8 feet deep. I had mixed feelings about starting this bed. I knew it was going to be hard work and too much for Jamie to dig by himself, although I knew he would kill himself trying to do it for me. We started out by painting the line out on the grass that we wanted to follow to create the border. It was very overcast and dark so I had to adjust the contrast on these pictures. If the light seems a little weird in them, that’s why, otherwise they would have just been too dark to post.


Jamie and I have always been so enthusiastic when we started a project that we always completed it in the same day. It became apparent that this was not going to happen with this venture. The irony of this entire garden is I have spent the last 15 years trying to grow grass in the back yard. Now, after we finally have beautiful St. Augustine grass, what are we doing? That’s right, digging it up. The past two years I’ve spent all this time and energy trying to create a perfectly weed free front lawn with plush grass. This year I haven’t done anything but cut it. It occurred to me that the back yard will soon be full and we will no doubt move to the front so why waste time and energy on something we are just going to dig up?


We only managed to get about a 1 foot strip cut out over the entire length of the garden before the rain moved it. That was a good thing for several reasons. First, the rain will soften the ground more and maybe that thick grass will come up easier. Second, I only helped with the digging a little bit and I started feeling pain in my back and thigh for the first time in two weeks. Third, you should see poor Jamie’s hands; they are raw and weeping with blisters. If the rain hadn’t come in there is no telling what kind of condition we would be in today. We are going to have to learn patience with this project.


We probably won’t be working on the bed anymore until the weekend after Fathers Day. Jamie’s brother is getting married next Saturday and then Sunday we have to go to Elba to see my dad. That pretty much fills the weekend. The good thing is I think we have finally found someone to help with the grass removal. Jamie and I have realized that unless we want to be working on this project until next summer we are going to need some help. The grass is just too hard to get up in that area and we have become very efficient when it comes to digging. I can’t believe how hard it is to find someone to help though, because you would think in these economic times people would want the extra cash and we are offering a very good compensation for the work. Well, I’ve rambled enough, how about we look at some flowers? Our Asiatics are starting to bloom now, this is the first and it’s called ‘Sunray’.


This is a new tall daylily we got named ‘Alabama Music’.

Alabama Music

Recently Jamie and I decided that our collection of daylilies has gotten so large rather than buying every new one we see, we are going to have to be more selective. We only have so much room to plant things. This daylily is the perfect example of why you should never buy one that isn’t in bloom. This was supposed to be ‘My Melinda’, a beautiful pink lily with ruffled edges. What do we have? A new daylily I have affectionately named ‘Not My Melinda’. It’s a beautiful flower, but we already have plenty of bright yellow daylilies.

Not My Melinda

Last but not least, ‘Baltic Elegy’ has decided to bloom. This is the first year and I think it’s beautiful! Okay, everyone have a great week and I’ll keep you updated on the new bed. I’m so excited we are getting new room to plant things!

Baltic Elegy


Jamie and Randy said...

Well, I can definitely say - even with gloves, you can STILL blister your hands!!!

I'm glad we've found someone who's going to help us out and I hope he works hard, too. Of course, then again I don't really think anyone works as hard as Randy and I do together but we shall see.


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I love the last iris! I also like to do a project start to finish. I may put off starting it for a long time, but once I get going I plow on through. But that huge bed definitely looks like it needs to be done in stages. I've only ever used lasagna layering and then a hoe to till soil--I've never dug that deep. I'm lazy and wait for worms and roots to do it for me! ;-)

Phillip said...

Just think though, you won't have to mow around all those plants and you'll have room for more! :)

Jamie and Randy said...

If we were the type to plan ahead, we would sooooooo be doing that. When we finally make up our minds to do something we do it right then. This grass is sooooooo thick this will be a tough bed to create.

That was the motivation. It's getting to where we can't get unders those plants to mow any more. And lately it's been really hard to get to with the weed whacker too. Plus, we are out of planting room. :-)

Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence said...

Hey Crazy, Nice new lines of the new bed. Good luck with that. Blooms are beautiful. H.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Iam so glad to hear you have found someone to help you with removal of the grass. That is a big space to rip out. Sometimes you just need help. Believe me the older I get the more I realize this. Your blooms are gorgeous. I can't wait to see what you do with this border.

Annie in Austin said...

Oh, Jamie, good luck at turning the lawn to garden border - all 75-feet of it. Turf removal is one of things the Divas of the Dirt do for our garden projects but we'd never survive doing in on a strip of that length! Well-watered St Augustine is so reluctant to leave a place it likes. You and Randy do seem a tad impatient.

Not My Melinda is very pretty even if she wasn't true to her name.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

tina said...

It is too funny to spend so may years to grow beautiful grass only to take it away and fill with plants. I look at it this way, all that fertilizing and babying only makes the soil better for the flowers:) And yours are most beautiful.

Jamie and Randy said...

Helen so glad you popped in to say hello! Yea about the lines, we tend to have somewhat of a Dr. Suess approach to the lines of our beds, but the finished project is always very pleasing. :-)

It’s always good to hear from you. When thinking of this the bed the question “How do you eat an elephant?” comes to mind. There is only one answer: One bite at the time. :-)

That’s so true; we found earth worms with every section of grass we removed. By the time we amend the soil it’s going to be really nice. I’ll just be glad when the grass is up, the rest will be gravy. If we had a group like Annie’s Divas it would be much easier, but we just can’t seem to find anyone around here as into gardening as we are. They’re here, we’ll find them eventually.

Jamie and Randy said...

You are right sometimes you do need help. Up until this point it's always been just the two of us, but I've had to come to the realization with my back having 4 bulging disk it just doesn’t make any sense to chance it. I willing to get out there and do it, but my back just says “no”. We’ll get it done AND have a gorgeous bed when it’s all finished. :-)

Roses and Lilacs said...

The iris is lovely. I agree, at some point we have to get selective and at some point we have to start eliminating older plants to add new ones. I'm already there with daylilies. They were the first flowers I added to my original garden.

That new bed looks like an overwhelming job. I know you can rent a sod cutter but have no idea how difficult they are to use.

Jamie and Randy said...

We considered getting a sod cutter, but there are water lines buried all over the place out there.(From the drip system) I still may look into it. We'll get it figured out, Jamie and I are an unbeatable team. :-)

Gail said...

Randy, I've done the same thing...I over seeded the grass paths and now we are taking them out to replace with pine straw. I told Mr I this morning that I wasn't going to do any more 'redecorating' until I thought through all the unintended consequences quite carefully! Your daylilies are gorgeous and the last iris was worth the wait! Have a great week...gail

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

I can't wait to see what you guys plant in that new garden!

That is a lot of work! You need to find a young archaeologist to help you dig! (My son does that sort of thing for me when he's home from more interesting digs).

I want you to know that your missing Goldfinches planted one of your yellow Asiatic lilies in my butterfly garden. They must have enjoyed the seeds from yours so much that they decided my garden needed a little sprucing up. Thanks for the air mail volunteer! :-)


sweet bay said...

Ah, I love that last iris. It's beautiful.

I'm glad to hear you found someone to help with the grass removal. Can't wait to see the finished product!

compost in my shoe said...

I had to laugh hearing you talk about digging up the grass. I have spent a lifetime at the tender age of 45 digging up grass, making room for something, anything, everything....but grass......keep it up!

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

That new bed will be gorgeous! You guys take care of yourselves, though, and don't overdo. One idea for you re grass removal: I advertised on Craigslist that I had free sod for anyone who was willing to dig it; I included a picture of the area needing to be dug. I had several responses and within a day, the sod was gone! Your grass is so healthy, I'm sure you'd have takers.

Les said...

Yes your grass looks lush and green, but don't worry about getting rid of it. How can it compare to your blooms. I covet that iris!

Jamie and Randy said...

When I was trying to get the grass to grow so much I never had any idea that there would ever be a garden like there is now. I had always dreamed of one, but I never knew it would happen.

We’ve found all kinds of treasures while digging in the back yard. 70’s soda bottles, marbles and plastic flower refrigerator magnets and there are all kinds of broken bricks buried. It’s a young archaeologist’s dream! LOL I’m glad the goldfinches brought you a surprise. :-)

I can’t wait to see it either. I hope our young friend holds up on his end of the deal. If not I’m sure we’ll find someone else. I’m very excited, but very anxious to get this grass up.

That’s just genius! If it doesn’t work out with our helper that will most definitely be the next step. I don’t belong to Craigslist but I could probably do the same thing on Freecycle!

I don’t mind losing the grass. We will still have it in the pathways. I’ve been picturing it in my mind and it’s going to be so pretty! I’m glad you enjoyed the iris, it slow growing for some reason I wish it would spread a little.

Wayne said...

You guys are just not gonna rest till you have no grass left! ;-)

Jan said...

I am glad to see that you guys are going to get some help with making this new bed. It is just too hot right now for you to be working outside so hard. I like your name for the mislabeled daylily. Now I know what to call all my flowers that have turned out to be different from what is named on the tag.

Always Growing

Jamie and Randy said...

Wayne, you are probably right. :-)

Jan, you are right. I was going to get out there and get up a little more yesterday afternoon and it was just too hot. I couldn't make myself do it.

Jean said...

Good luck with the project! Yes, it really is hard to get help, good help, these days. You will have a blast filling up that bed I'm sure. All your flowers are gorgeous. It's hard not to buy daylilies, isn't it?

Frances said...

Hi R and J, thank goodness you are going to get some help. Maybe offer them gloves too? Even then the blisters will be a problem. Could you get one of those sod cutter thingeys for a couple of hours? We see them used on TV all the time, it seems to go so fast, now that you have the edge done. Too bad about your daylily not being what you thought, we are full of Nons and Nots here too. The iris is amazing! Have a wonderful visit with family. :-)

Cathy said...

I just finished putting down three yards of mulch in my little garden and wow, I'm aching.

From one avid gardener to another, love your garden photos. Beautiful.

Stop by my blog for an lovely "give-away".

xo Cathy

Anonymous said...

You two are great garden planners. I was looking around at the whole yard and was amazed at the beauty. You've got a lot to be proud of. The new bed will be just as grand.

Best wishes for the wedding couple and hugs to your dad.

Chandramouli S said...

You guys are capable of creating a magic land! I wish I could someday see your garden for real! I have very little experience gardening in ground, and the little job that I did for my aunt made my back complain for at least two days! I can understand how difficult it is for you guys! Love your asiatics and irises!