Monday, April 6, 2009

Not coffins

We built the raised beds for our veggie garden over the weekend. We decided on two 4 X 12 beds made with untreated lumber. They look a little like giant coffins right now... We're planning to fill with good topsoil in the next two weeks and put the veggies in around May 1. The seedlings are going strong and we're planning to start a few more inside this week. Will post more photos of the seedling progress shortly.

I also planted two packets of mammoth sunflowers along our side of the neighbor's chain link fence. Can't wait to see how they do.

Monday, March 2, 2009

snow day!

the richmond area is seeing more snow than it has in years! this is last night around 9ish. the power flickered and went out for good a little after 10.
power was back by the time i woke up in the morning. no work today! the wind was so strong during the night that a chair on the porch was knocked over.
totally unprepared for the snow, all we really have to eat is a ton of frozen steaks... i've already watched two movies and am now tempted to shop online...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

seedling starter kit

At the garden show we also picked up a mini indoor greenhouse and a few packs of seeds.

Last summer we had a small veggie garden in the back with moderate success. We stuck with the typical novice veggie garden plants: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini and a green pepper. We had purchased a few plants from the local hardware store, and my dad gifted us a few plants he started from seeds. It was a mixed bag as far as which plants did better - purchased vs. dad starter kit. The tomatoes did well but didn't grow as high as others in our neighborhood. Ditto on the cucumbers. We only had a few squash come up and quickly tired of the zucchini abundance - there are really only so many zucchini recipes. We had mostly good luck and are looking forward to planting more of a variety this season.

Here's Chris with our 2009 starter kit. While the garden was a joint venture last year, Chris suggests that my contribution was more on the tasting side, less on hole digging, watering, maintenance, etc. Perhaps this year I'll also assign myself the role of garden photographer.

We've got two tomato varieties: sweet 100s (a variety of cherry tomatoes), as recommended by my dad, and pineapple, a personal favorite of the knowledgeable woman selling seeds at the show. There are also red peppers, corn, and a few different varieties of flower seeds we had from last year. We'll post more photos as the process continues.

Maymont Garden Show

Yesterday we drove into Richmond for the Maymont Garden Show. A friend who works at the Times Dispatch gave us free tickets, and who could pass up the Treasures of King Tut exhibit?

In addition to typical home and garden items (plus not one, but two ShamWow! vendors), there were a few unexpected items like this underground tornado shelter (
For $5k you can have a shelter for 4 installed in your backyard. The shelters go up in size to hold as many as 18 people. Chris suggested we could really add to our home's square footage by putting in one of these babies. As you can see, it was a very popular item at the show.
Two other significant finds were the slate flooring and edible landscaping exhibits. Until the show, we hadn't seen any patio flooring that really appealed to us. The slate looks amazing and really fits in with a more natural look (vs. stamped concrete or concrete pavers). According to Andrew at Skyline Lawn & Landscape, the increased price of this material (vs. pavers) won't be as shocking to our budget because we have a smaller yard and smaller patio plan. The photo below shows two color options. We're thinking the one with more gray and blue will play off the colors of the river.

Virginia Berry Farm had an entire exhibit of only edible plants, trees and shrubs. This particular farm sells wholesale to local garden stores but we were still able to pick up helpful literature about this multi-functional landscaping movement. Now we're definitely planning on integrating as many edible plants and trees as possible. Blueberries make excellent deciduous hedges (the white blossoms below will mature into fuller blueberry hedges).

Here are a few apple, pear and plum trees.
More berries...
A few more show highlights: Chris discovered the Richmond Bonsai Society has classes for beginners and club meetings once a month...
and Lauren was practically tackled by a closet designer while trying to take this photo (apparently one shouldn't even attempt to recreate something like this without closet design lady's expertise).

Saturday, February 14, 2009

backyard ideas

here's a sample of images to get an idea of our backyard style. most are from cottage living (RIP) and coastal living, magazines to which we subscribe(d). we lean more towards casual vs. formal, cozy and inviting but still private. love the idea of wisteria hanging over a pergola with comfortable seating underneath. we're also in the market for beach cruisers if you know anyone selling*

photos of our space

backyard 1 (front of house faces east)

backyard 2 (neighbor's garage is in sw corner)

pergola idea for southwest corner

idea board from landscape designer


yard candy launch

inspired by all of the home design and garden blogs out there, we've decided to start our own. in august 2007, after living just outside of washington, dc, for years (5 for lauren, 27 for chris), we decided to leave the city life for a small town outside of richmond, virginia. we bought our first house, a little cottage on the mattaponi river, and have loved lounging on the porch and meeting our neighbors.

our house was new when we moved into it so we haven't had much in the way of home improvement projects (other than painting). the purpose of this blog is to document our first big project: tackling the backyard. right now it's a blank slate. we're working with a local landscape designer but we welcome suggestions from anyone reading this blog.

mission: to create a private but welcoming space for lounging and casual dining. we'd like to incorporate as much of the 'green' movement as possible - composting, native drought resistant plants, a vegetable garden. . .

challenges: kayak storage, lawn/garden tool storage (lawn mower, weed whacker, shovels, potting soil), blocking the unfortunate view of a neighbor's cinder block garage and chain link fence while still remaining friendly.

our house

view from the front porch

another view from the front

ps we're yuppies