Monday, June 6, 2011

Learning to Plant

We've been busy here trying to get our landscaping under control.  In the past few years of fixing up this little Cape, we haven't even begun to address the yard until this year (unless you count putting mulch around trees).

Part of the problem is that neither Jason nor I really know what we're doing.  A couple of years ago we went out and bought a whole bunch of shrubs and plants in an effort to give our home a little more curb appeal.

Imagine our horror when we woke up and found nearly all of the plants had been eaten by the deer that roam our neighborhood.

We did learn that deer don't like peonies.

Or Irises

So this year, now that we have our pool fenced in, we figured we could plant some things that aren't deer resistant with the hope that the deer won't jump our small fence.

We enlisted the help of our friend Kelby, who once worked for his father's landscaping company.  Maybe you remember Kelby . . . he's the guy who knows how to do EVERYTHING and has helped teach Jason every step of the way in our remodeling our home. 

We owe him our next child.


Kelby helped us pick out plants and then showed us where we should plant them.  That, to me, is the hardest part of landscaping.  I know what plants I like but then when we plant them, they don't look right.  They look like a bunch of random plants stuck in the ground in no particular order.  I've discovered there is a real art to where and how to arrange plants. 

And we're still not good at it, so anyone with any advice . . . let us have it!

Anyway, Jason's been busy trying to get all of the plants in the ground around the pool and then filling the area with stone. I can't wait to show you all the work when it's finished.

In this quest for landscaping around our pool, we came up short on plants, even though we spent a small fortune . . . as in $1000 on plants . . .

So I did what any logical woman would do . . . I started asking friends for plants and I posted an ad on Freecycle.  (Do you have a where you live?  It's an AMAZING service!)

I've discovered that gardeners are some of the most generous people I've ever come across. I've been amazed by all of the plants people are willing to divide up and donate to our yard.

And although I'm getting a hodgepodge of plants and I have no idea how to arrange any of them, I like knowing that they came from someone else's hands, someone who cared enough to share them with us. They are an extension of strangers and friends whose soil nourished them from seedlings.

And now we will  plant them in our yard for the next journey of their lives and (hopefully) watch them thrive so that we can one day divide them and give life to other barren yards.

I'm still figuring out what must be planted within the fenced area of the pool, and what will be safe outside of the fence where the deer roam freely.

Other than landscaping, Jason is still busy clipping coupons.  For those of you who thought the baby would slow him down, you were incredibly wrong.    I received a text today from Jason that said,
"I figured out the Rite Aid deal and we can get all that stuff for -$3.51!"

Nope, Baby Noah hasn't slowed the Coupon Cowboy down not one little bit.  Can you say name brand diapers for next to nothing?

I have been busy trying to get back into shape and I'm happy to say that my battle with the treadmill has been paying off.  I fit into my skinny jeans again!  Enough said.

Imani has been busy planning a benefit concert for a dear friend's brother who was diagnosed with cancer.  Although Imani's never met our friend's brother (they live on the West Coast), his battle with cancer has touched Imani's young heart so she has been busily preparing flyers, a program and working out other details for her violin concert this Saturday.  I'll post more about that later.

And Noah?  He's busy doing what babies do:  soaking up all that is around him and winning everyone over with his precious smile. 


  1. Stephenie,

    After I got done admiring that beautiful baby boy and his million dollar smile, I went back and read your post. Your lovely peonies, irises and hydrangea are thriving! My advice is to know the needs of the plant -- shade vs full sun; moist soil vs good drainage; etc.
    Your butterfly bush is in the mail. It's indestructible.
    I like Jason's enthusiasm to save money! Better in your pocket than a store's cash register. Have you considered doing a regular 'Coupon Cowboy Feature' (interview) giving us the best savings tips of the week?

    Your Friend,

  2. That damn deer!! xD

    Anyways, very interesting article on learning to plant. And also very pretty baby, congratulations :) Thanks for sharing!

    HI 98129

  3. First up, Noah is adorable and Imani is an inspiration. What a proud parent you must be! As for plants, I have no advice. The only thing I grow well are privet and potato vines. They are a piece of cake to keep alive.

  4. Have you tried spraying for the deer? It works wonders! Smells just terrible for a while afterward....but it has saved ALL my lillies and tulips. You have a larger area than I do, I think, but it's def. worth trying. And, if your neighbors don't spray, then the deer will be sure to avoid you and go next door! Seriously...
    And yes, gardeners are so generous! It's such fun to be able to dig and divide and give away.

  5. Good luck an have fun planting. He is a cutie patootie!!

  6. you learn where to plant stuff is to just do it! don't worry if it doesn't look "right" or perfect the first time - that's what a shovel is for :) You already have a design aesthetic, just apply that to your plants. But, secondly, if you really need some help, call your local cooperative extension office. They have people called master gardeners who will help you and answer questions and such. Gardening can be really relaxing and stress relieving!


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