Coneflowers, lavender and sage

Coneflowers, lavender and sage

Gardening was passed onto me by my parents and in turn their parents to them. Tackling massive yard transformations, especially for a beginning gardener, is not one to start without a plan, the right equipment, some help, and time.

C3 is living now in Lawrence, Kansas, in a charming old house with a front and backyard that at one time had belonged to an avid gardener. It has good bones for nice garden beds, a sweet area already fenced for a vegetable and herb patch as well as a brick patio and screened in porch.  It also has a dog run and a basement equipped with some basic gardening equipment including a nice Toro mower.

But the previous tenant had left the place in disarray for a good while so the yard, garden and beds needed lots of t.l.c.


Grass and weeds everywhere
We call them weed beds but we see the potential!
Thistle garden

C3 and I agreed that Labor Day week-end would be as good a time as any to start cleaning out the weeds.  And the weather was perfect and we were excited to get started.


I flew in on Saturday and we immediately made an inventory of what equipment she already had and what we needed to add to get the job done.  She spent about $170 at Wal-mart to purchase the required weed wacker, shovel, metal rake, basic hand tools, a saw, clippers, gloves, trash bags, and more. Fortunately the house came with a good selection of garden hoses, a wheelbarrow and the mower so these finds kept her expenses to a minimum.

The week before I arrived, she had sprayed Roundup Weed Killer on all the grass and weeds especially that which was growing up between the bricks in the patio area.

The first afternoon, we weeded as much as could get cleared and swept and bagged up all the debris. We filled a lot of yard bags, eventually totaling eleven.

We mowed the grass the next day, finished weeding and trimming and sprayed for bugs.  The yard was infested  with black beetles. We ran into some nasty thistle as well that slowed our pace, stuck to our gloves, pants and shoelaces.   We looked like a pair of mother and daughter porcupines but we made murderous swaths through the beds, around the fence lines and especially in the garden patch triumphantly beating back the thicket of grasses and prickly weeds.

Late in the afternoon, we took a blessed shower before heading to the local plant nursery to stock up on fall perennials and herbs.  I had also brought sunflower seeds from my Texas garden to share with her.

She invested about $18o in plantings, potting soil and mulch.

We slept 10 hours straight, woke with tender feet, back and arms but limped out early Labor Day morning to finish the job.  Coffee never tasted better.

We cleaned out the dog run, she may convert this area eventually for a fire pit, and then fixed holes in the fence for Scout’s safety.

Using the shovel, we turned all the dirt in the herb patch, raked and added new potting soil before laying out plants, scattering the sunflower seeds along the back trellis of the plot, and finishing all with cedar mulch.  We agreed it smelled like fall.

Herbs may they grow!

The hard work paid off immediately with a visit from several monarch butterflies and pollinating bees and the sweet smell of lavender and sage.  The coneflowers were blooming when I left to return to my home in Fort Worth late today and I bet her mums will be blooming in a week. Another happy gardener is in the works to carry on the family tradition.



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